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How to Green Up Your Idaho Home

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In the home buying process, there's two main decisions to make. You can choose to have your next house built, or there's a number of resale homes available in the Idaho market. A major draw to new home construction is the energy efficiency that naturally comes with today's new homes. Many Boise home companies involved in building custom homes are 100% Energy Star Certified. The added up savings with energy efficient homes is a huge advantage over resale homes. It not only shaves off dollars from your utility bill, but also adds value, which you'll be thankful for when it comes time to sell. Money savings aside, many of us these days are concerned with going green, and that's also a significant reason for going energy efficient.

While many new construction homes in the Boise area are very affordable, many of us choose to buy a resale home, as they can carry significant savings, or are located in areas closer to family or work. If you are in the market for an older home in Boise or have recently closed a sale and still want to have a greener home, there are plenty of ways to get the job done. Here are a few:

Get rid of those old, energy hogging appliances. Appliance use comprises about 18% of a typical home's total energy bill, and your fridge is the biggest energy hog of them all. If your fridge, or any of your other appliances are older than 10 years, the Environmental Protection Agency suggests replacing them with energy efficient models. Energy efficient appliances use about 10%-50% less energy.

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Turn down that thermostat. Half of your home's energy usage comes from the heating and cooling system. Turn down the thermostat in cold weather and keep it higher in warm weather. Each degree below 68º F during colder temps saves between 3%-5%

Unplug it. 75% of the electricity used in the average Idaho house is used to power appliances that aren't even turned on. Think about your cellphone chargers, portables, TV's, and DVD players.

Switch your bulbs. You've probably heard this before, but switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs really does save you money and energy. They cost more up-front, but use 66% less energy than your typical incandescent bulb. They last 10 times longer, and can save you $30 in energy costs over the life of the bulb.

Use water wisely. There are plenty of ways to cut down on water use, from more costly to less costly. Installing a low flow shower head is one way, as well as a low-flow toilet. The more inexpensive ways to cut down on water is to broom off your driveway instead of using a hose, and of course, turning off the water while you brush your teeth.

Be crafty with your cleaning. Did you know you can use some simple ingredients such as plain soap, water, baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice to make your own cleaning products that work just as well as those toxic chemical cleaners you buy at the store?

One great advantage a brand new home in Boise has is new, advanced, and properly installed insulation. If you can't upgrade your insulation, doing simple things such as adding thermal shades to block the sun in the summer and retain heat in the winter can go a long way. Add a draft guard to your front and back doors.

There's plenty of ways to go energy efficient when purchasing a home that may have been built before Americans were so energy conscience. Your reduced water and utility bills will thank you!

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