Sharon Lanen Coskren - Leading Edge Real Estate



Posted by Sharon Lanen Coskren on 12/22/2017

It may be a great initiative for you and your family to do what you can to become more environmentally friendly. Saving the planet starts at home! There’s so many different ways that you can make your home more eco-friendly. We’ll give you a few ideas here. Even if you commit to making one change each month, you’ll notice a big impact over time. 


Replace Your Lightbulbs


CFLs are known as compact fluorescent lightbulbs. These come in many different sizes and colors. Incandescent bulbs are now obsolete, because CFLs are much more energy efficient. Keep in mind that CFLs must be disposed of in a recycling center because they do have a trace of mercury in them. They are overall much better for the environment.


Get An Energy Audit


You can arrange to have an energy audit through your utility company or an independent contractor. This can help you to find areas of your home where insulation is lacking. You may even be able to get a rebate form your utility company for completing something like this.  


Turn Down The Heat


You can keep the temperature of your water heater down to 120 degrees. You should wrap an insulating blanket around your water heater in the winter if it’s not insulated. If the heater is gas, be sure there’s room for ventilation. To help keep pipes form freezing in winter, you need to keep your heat running, but make sure it’s around 64 degrees. 

The same principles go for cooling devices and air conditioning units in the summer months. In this case though, you’ll need to make the temperature higher. 


Turn Off What’s Not In Use


Everyone in the house should be in the habit of turning things off when they’re not in the room, or not using the item. Leaving televisions and lights on wastes an immense amount of energy. Also, when you buy appliances, make sure that they are Energy Star rated.  

 

Conserve Water


Water is another type of energy we often take for granted and waste. When water needs to be warmed for showers, dishes and laundry it’s often running for long periods of time. You can take shorter showers to help with this. You may even consider shutting the water off while you’re soaping up. You’ll even want to shut the water off when you’re brushing your teeth. These little changes can make a big impact on the environment.  


Use Power Strips


If you use power strips and turn them off when they’re not in use, you can save up to 10% on your power bill. You’ll also want to take the time to shut down computers and office supplies like printers in order to save more energy. These items use power even when they’re in a “power saver” mode.





Posted by Sharon Lanen Coskren on 5/19/2017

Thanks to federal tax incentives and a growing concern for the environment, many Americans are installing rooftop solar panels to cover or offset the cost of their utilities. In the last ten years the solar industry has grown by an unprecedented 1,600 percent and it shows not signs of slowing. As solar becomes more affordable, however, debates have opened up around the use of solar power and its effect on older ways of producing electricity (like coal-fired and nuclear power plants). Solar power is a complicated process that is part of an even more complicated industry. If you're thinking about making the switch, consider this your crash course in rooftop solar power.

I'm interested in solar. Where do I start?

Before you call a local solar provider and start getting sales pitches it's useful to know some background information on solar in your area. Do some research on your home state to see if your local government has incentivized solar in any way. Some states have provided funding to banks to offer loans for home solar systems. You should also consider some details about your home, your current energy provider, and the amount of time you're going to spend in your home. If you plan on moving anytime soon, leased panels may not be something you want to put up on the roof. Some buyers will happily take over the lease; others won't be so sure or may see it as a headache. You'll also want to learn about net metering from your current electricity provider. The electricity market is now in flux due to the increase of solar. As solar makes electricity more accessible, it could make electricity costs go up from your local utilities company. Net metering is the way that power companies measure how much electricity your panels put into the grid during the daytime which will be discounted from your monthly utility bill. Finally, you'll want to consider how beneficial the panels would be to your bill. If your home doesn't receive a lot of sun or have enough viable roof space, solar panels might not be worth it. If you can buy the panels flat out, however, they'll likely save you a lot of money in the long run.

Buying, leasing, and financing your panels

Buying, leasing, and financing all have their advantages and disadvantages which you'll want to weigh before committing to one option. For example, even if you have the funds to buy outright you might prefer the leasing option for the maintenance and repairs guarantee. Maybe you want to buy or finance to take advantage of local and federal tax incentives. Another thing to consider is the changing technology itself. As solar power improves, so does the technology that makes it possible. If you're thinking of moving within the next few years it might be in your best interest to wait for the next generation of panels for your new home instead of buying panels that will be outdated in the home you're in.

Making the calls

Once you've decided you want to go ahead with solar panels on your home you have another round of research to do. Compare providers in your area. Get quotes and setup options to find one that you're happy with. Get a sample contract and read all of the fine print. Finally, check out the customer reviews to make sure you'll be happy with this provider--especially if you're leasing and will be dealing with them for the next 15-20 years.

 







Sharon Lanen Coskren