4 green projects for this 4th of July weekend

With many people in the USA coming up on a 3 day weekend to celebrate our nation’s independence, I thought I would offer some simple projects that you can do around your home to help you declare your energy Independence.

1. Install a rain barrel. Collecting and reusing rainwater to irrigate your garden and landscape is a simple way to help take advantage of one of our Earth’s freely available resources.  You can easily install a rain barrel in a day, but you’ll benefit from reduced water bills for the entire year. You’ll find a wide selection of styles and sizes to blend in to your home’s landscaping. Here are just a couple options.

2. Do an Energy Audit. If you are serious about ‘greening’ up your home, it’s helpful to know just how much energy you are consuming. A simple audit of your home will help provide a baseline for reducing energy and water consumption. Take a look at the last 6 or 12 months of your electricity, gas, and water utility bills, which should indicate the total amount of each resource you paid for. You can also use a monitoring device like the Kill A Watt Meter to determine just how much electricity an appliance, computer or television is using. Once you know what the highest consumers are, you can make a plan to replace or reduce your usage of those items.

3. Plant a tree. Trees are a simple way to beautify your landscape while helping reduce your home’s energy consumption.  Strategically positioned trees will help regulate your home’s heating and cooling cycles by shading your home and reducing cool winds.  For all you’d every want to know about the benefits of trees and the right trees for your part of the country, check out the Arbor Day Foundation.

4. Replace your furnance and air conditioning air filters. Just like if you tried to breath through a sock, your furnace or central air system has to work harder to circulate air through a dirty air filter.  Replacement filters in nearly every size can be found through online vendors like FiltersFast.com.  Not only will this reduce the energy consumption of your HVAC system, but will also prolong it’s life, saving you from a more costly repair.

All of us at HomeSpot hope you have a great holiday weekend, whether you’re working around the house, enjoying the beach or lake, or having a cookout with friends.

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Derek Smith

Derek is the co-founder of HomeSpot HQ, and uses it to manage the seemingly never-ending list of projects and maintenance tasks around his suburban home.