Going green without going nuts

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Some homeowners are willing to go to great lengths to save the environment, installing costly solar panels to replace traditional sources of electricity. But going green at home doesn’t have to involve spending an arm and a leg. There are many little things that you can do to lend Mother Nature a helping hand, and you can often save money in the bargain.

Older refrigerators can use 10 to 50 percent more energy than the energy-efficient models that are available on the market today. Making that simple change could reduce your electrical usage by up to $150 a year. According to the Energy Star website, if one in 10 homes did this, it would be the equivalent of planting 1.7 million new acres of trees.

Replacing a 100-watt incandescent light bulb with a 32-watt CFL bulb can save upward of $50 over the life of the bulb. Now think about how many light bulbs you have in your home!

Did you know that more than half of a home’s energy consumption is due to heating and cooling? Call a handy man and have him start with the little things like servicing your furnace and checking it for any defects. And resealing and weather stripping around all your doors and windows is another energy saver. Each degree of temperature change can save 3 to 5 percent on your energy usage. Consider installing and using ceiling fans prior to turning on your air conditioner. During the summer, run heat-generating appliances such as dishwashers at night when rates are lower and less strain is being put on your cooling system.

Nine out of 10 homeowners unknowingly waste water. You can reverse the flow by making sure all your faucets have aerators installed in them. This will reduce your water consumption by an estimated 50 percent annually. And low flow toilets use only 1 to 2 gallons of water per flush compared to 4 gallons with an older model. Or simply adjust your float valve to release less water per flush.

For those of you who use a garden hose to clean your driveway or patio, consider this: Using a broom instead can save you as much as 100 gallons of water.

All of these little changes can add to big savings for you along with a major impact on the environment. And when you go to sell your home, the above improvements will give you a leg up on your competition, so it’s a win all the way around!

To contact me, call 847-292-4700, e-mail gz@zerillorealty.com or visit www.zerillorealty.com.

About Giuseppe Zerillo

Giuseppe Zerillo is the managing broker and owner of Zerillo Realty Inc. He is active on many boards, serving as village trustee of Harwood Heights and corporate secretary for Casa Italia. In 2011, he received the IANU Foundation's 2011 David Award for outstanding promise in the field of real estate, and in 2012 he was honored by the Illinois State Crime Commission for his community outreach. Constantly seeking opportunities to give back, he donates to several charities and raises money for children with disabilities.

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