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Frugal Experts Guide To GreenPosted 06/11/08 • Last updated 09/26/11 • 902 views • 1 comment
Go Green And Save Green: Expert's Guide
These days there's a lot of talk about "going green." Some things are easy to do and don't cost anything. Other things are easy to do....if you're filthy rich.
In this guide, you’ll find out how to spend an arm and a leg...err.....about $55,000 on sustainable improvements which will save you about $18,000 over 5 years (and should recoup the full cost over the lifespan of each improvement).
Now if only we were all rolling in money!
Saves in 5 years…
ROI over 5 years
Install solar panels.
$600 per year in energy costs
7.9% (39.5% over 25 years but lots of good karma and positive environmental externalities)
Water - The average family of 4 uses 27,000 gallons of water for toilet flushing every year.
$125 (low-flow), $215 (composting)
250% (low-flow), 20% (composting)
Install a greywater system to recycle some of your used water from your sinks, laundry, shower, etc.
Variable (averages roughly $300)
3000 gallons of water per month = $5 on water bill = $60 per year
$300 ($720 over 12 year lifespan)
100% (240% over lifespan)
Baby, it's cold outside
If your heating equipment is over 15 years old, install a more efficient unit like a geothermal heat pump.
Can save 30- 70% on heating and 20- 50% on cooling costs over conventional systems ($358-1475 per year)
$4582.50 ($18,330 over 20 year lifespan)
83% (333% over life)
Add insulation to your home.
Complete insulation on a single family home averages $2500-$5500
Using R-22 insulation (which is 7" deep of fiber glass or rock wool or 6" of cellulose) can save 5-25% on your heating and cooling costs ($92-458 per winter based on 2007 averages for heating oil bills).
34% (pays back in as fast as 9 years)
Plant trees for passive solar design.
Energy - Deciduous trees shade your home in summer. In winter, they will lose their leaves and let sunshine.
Three 8’ trees might cost $1500
$100-250 in energy costs annually
58% (pays back in about 8 years)
Install Energy Star rated windows.
$3000-10000 (for a one-story single family home)
$25-110 per year if you’re replacing double paned windows, $125-450 per year if you’re replacing single paned windows per year
$337.50 (replacing doubles - $2700 over 40 year lifespan); $1437.50 (replacing singles - $11500 over 40 year lifespan)
5% (41% over life) for replacements of double paned windows; 22% (177% over life) for replacements of single paned windows
$4000 for a hybrid; $9280 for an EV
This little light of mine
A 5-watt LED will save you roughly $375 over the course of its lifetime (compared to a 75-watt incandescent) – running 12 hours a day, it will last you 11 years.
283% (625% over its lifetime)
Install photo cells or occupancy sensors to turn off lights for you when you forget.
Using 2004 average electric rates, fitting a 100-watt outdoor light bulb with a motion sensor - instead of operating it each night for 10 hours - will save about $33 per year.
Electric tankless water heaters generally cost 10-20% ($40 - $80/yr) less to operate than comparable tank-type water heaters. Gas savings may be about 20-40% ($50-$100/yr).
$300 for electric tankless; $375 for gas tankless; $1330 for solar
Waste not, want not
Get a compost bin.
$50 in enriched soil, fertilizers, and growth enhancers every year
Xeriscape with native and drought resistant plants.
Water - Most lawns need about 1 inch of water a week at minimum (which uses 620 gallons of water per 1000 sq-ft)
At least $52 for a 1,000 sq-ft lawn in watering costs and $200 savings in maintenance costs per year
42% (if you spend $3/sq-ft – pays back in less than 12 years)
- ROI stands for “return on investment.” It is an assessment of whether the investment is justified by the savings it will create. In this case, we look at the ratio of savings during 5 years to the cost of the products (which are frequently one time expenditures).
- In the case that the change does not cost anything, you’ll find “N/A” in the ROI column. This stands for “not applicable” because you are investing only time and brain power. You could also think of the ROI as infinite in those cases.
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