Sniffing Out Energy Savings in Your Community

Are you sick and tired of paying your energy bill every month but don’t know what you can do about it?

The truth is that most homeowners overpay for their energy, but, stuck on a city grid with a single corporate power-provider, they often feel there’s not much they can do to improve the residential wind powersituation.

The reality is far different, however, and there are lots of ways you can save money by shifting your electricity needs…and I’m not just talking about turning down the lights (though that’s obviously a valid choice for immediate savings as well).

Sustainable Energy To Save You Money

The first and biggest area to consider is updating your home not just to be energy efficient, but to use sustainable energy sources as your primary means of electricity.

For most, that falls into one of two categories: solar and wind.

Solar Panels

Solar Panels have skyrocketed in popularity over the last five years or so, thanks to sharp price reductions in their production costs, increased efficiency and longevity per unit, and a host of government programs aimed at helping people shift to solar.

While installing solar panels in your home can be costly out of pocket, the savings over time often make it a wortwhile investment, especially if you live in an area that gets decent sunlight for most of the year.

Not only that, but ease of installation has greatly helped to reduce the overall costs of having solar in your home, boat or rv. Read more about DIY solar installation for your home or find out more about installing solar panels for rv.

Wind Turbine

If solar isn’t your thing, another option is to get your own small-scale wind turbine.

This source of potential energy is too often overlooked by many homeowners, who think of wind turbines as giant contraptions the size of a jet engine.

The truth is that you can now get a wide range of options for small-scale, residential wind power units, that sit silently atop your roof.

While the units obviously work better in windier areas, most areas of the country experience enough consistent wind that makes the units worthwhile.

For added benefits and complete independence, consider installing both a wind and solar unit on your roof!

See the Wind Energy Foundation for more information.

Consider Government Tax Plans

Finally, it’s important to note that perhaps the biggest driver of large-scale residential sustainable energy systems is the advantageous tax code.

Many states and counties have very aggressive tax legislation that allows you to write off the majority of purchase and installation costs.

This means that not only will you have significant energy savings over time, you can actually get (essentially) a grant to install it to your home.

Investigate your county and state laws to see if you qualify. Home energy may just be more affordable than you think.

Building the Backyard and Garden of Your Dreams

backyardMany people dream about owning their own home, and often have a firm idea of what their dream house looks like.

Far fewer take the next step of designing their own backyard and developing a clear mental image of what their garden and lawn will look like once their finished.

If that’s the case for you, then this post has a few tips for figuring out what you really want from your backyard.

Fresh Vegetables, Anyone?

Probably the first consideration most people make is whether or not they should start a vegetable garden.

This is an excellent way to truly bring the “eat local” mantra home. Studies show that individuals who keep home gardens, even if they are small and represent a minor portion of their overall food consumption, are generally healthier and happier.

The secret could be in the dirt itself, as some scientists argue that getting your hands working with soil can release chemicals to the brain that send pleasure signals that can stay with you throughout the day and week.

If you like to garden, starting a small area for edible plants is a no brainer. If you don’t like to spend your weekends in the dirt, however, you might consider a low maintenance herb garden, or planting trees that provide fruits over time, with little hands on work.

Visit gardeners.com for more information on vegetable gardens.

Installing a Gazebo or Pergola

Another aspect to consider when planning your ideal backyard is to what extent you want to incorporate extra add-ons, from garden statues and fountains to self-standing structures like a gazebo, pergola, or arbor.

These units can give your home a wonderful added aesthetic, and many constructions are both cheaper and easier to build than you might imagine.

Visit http://pergolaplans.org for more information on pergolas and gazebos.

Other Backyard Ideas for Small Areas

Of course, your overall design and plan for your backyard and garden is ultimately going to depend upon the size of the area you’re working with.

If you have a large fenced in lawn in the suburbs you have a lot more flexibility than if you have a small patch of cement courtyard in an urban environment.

Regardless of the size, however, your creativity is ultimately going to be the defining factor in shaping your backyard.

Check out the video below for more ideas.