Santa Cruz Green Living

Found 113 blog entries about Santa Cruz Green Living .

Summer always brings with it a hard choice: Do you turn down the thermostat to stay cool and resign yourself to high power bills? Or, do you sweat it out to save some dough? If you’ve been struggling with this dilemma, don’t fret. With a programmable thermostat, you can beat the heat and save money, too! 

Programmable thermostats are easy to install and can save you over $100 a year. The key is that they have different temperature settings for certain times of the day. And, the latest models can be self-installed, are easy to program and can be controlled over the Internet. 

Save Energy

This is obviously the biggest perk. Not only are you helping the environment, you’re also helping your monthly budget. You can preset the thermostat to adjust the

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1. Change Light Bulbs to CFLs

Incandescent bulbs are the way of the past. If you’re looking to green up your office, switch them out for much more energy-efficient CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps). These light bulbs use a bit more energy when they are first turned on, says Energy Star, but once the get going guzzle 75 percent less than the traditional bulb.

2. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

It hardly bears saying, but one of the easiest ways to ensure your office stays eco-friendly is to simply follow the old maxim: reduce, reuse, recycle. Set out a larger bin for paper recycling than you do for trash, to provide motivation. Reduce your intake of office supplies to only those you actually use, and resist the impulse to upgrade appliances or furniture

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Imagine walking into your Santa Cruz home and turning off the alarm, locking your doors, opening the windows and starting your coffee maker, all with a few taps of your finger on your smart phone? What if you had a home security camera that you could monitor from anywhere and a motion sensor that would send you an email when your kids come home from school? What if you could open your blinds or unlock your home for a visitor, even from halfway around the world?

The technology that powers our home security systems is getting more and more sophisticated and in the future, our homes will be more responsive than we could ever imagine. Rather than a simple line of defense that keeps out burglars, it will be a completely integrated and custom designed

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Making a commitment to go green in your home not only helps the environment, but also your wallet. The federal government and many states are offering tax breaks for upgrades made in 2013. So, take an interest in Mother Nature and advantage of the tax incentives by making your home more energy efficient.

1. Invest in a tankless water heater.
On-demand water heaters heat your shower or washing machine water as needed, so they are not constantly working to keep a large amount of water continually hot. Electric tankless water heaters can sometimes be twice as energy efficient as standard water tank heaters.

2. Install ceiling fans.
Ceiling fans help circulate the air in a room to make it feel cooler. This reduces the need to turn on appliances that

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If you’ve been considering taking your Santa Cruz home in a green direction, April is the perfect month to make an environmentally friendly update. Celebrate Earth Day by installing a solar energy system. Solar panels turn sunlight into energy that can save you money!

The federal government and many states are now providing tax incentives and rebates for installing solar panels in 2013. So don’t waste the opportunity to go green this spring. However, there are many installers that might not have the necessary experience, so be sure to ask the questions below when searching for your solar energy system.

How many solar panel systems have they installed?

You want to make sure to find a reputable company that has significant solar experience and has

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Going green is not just a new trend; it is a way of life that benefits not only the environment, but also your health — and your pocketbook. Green living cuts down on carbon emissions and creates a healthier environment both inside and outside of a Santa Cruz home. While green structures sometimes cost more initially, the money (and environment) saved in the long run is well worth the investment.

Health Benefits

Owning a green Santa Cruz home has significant health benefits. Many conventional buildings are not properly ventilated and indoor air quality is often more polluted than the air outside. Poor air quality is bad for your health and can aggravate asthma and allergies. Certified green properties tend to have excellent airflow and ventilation.

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In today’s environmentally conscious world, more homeowners are looking for property with green characteristics. Not only is an eco-friendly house better for the environment, but it also cuts down on the cost of utility bills. If you’re about to purchase a Santa Cruz home and want to go green, see below for a few eco-friendly features you should include on your checklist.

Proximity to public transportation or work

Taking a bus or a bike to work instead of driving can really reduce your carbon footprint, so definitely take into consideration a house’s location. Insurance companies might even provide cheaper rates to owners who live close to public transportation.

Quality of insulation

Look for a house that is insulated well at the right rating

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Whether you are energy conscious or just trying to save money, there are many steps you can take to lower your Santa Cruz home bills while helping the environment at the same time. Below are several energy-saving measures to help you save money either in your current house or future residence.

Heating and cooling
Keeping your Santa Cruz home at a comfortable temperature uses more energy than anything else. To save energy, install a programmable thermostat to adjust the inside temperature when you are not there for long periods of time. Seal windows and doors to prevent air leaks, and close doors and air vents to rooms that are not often used. Changing filters in your heating system monthly can also help it run more efficiently.

Water heaters
Heating

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With tax season in full swing, it’s time to start thinking about how you can save money on what you owe Uncle Sam this year. If you own a Santa Cruz home, there are a few things that may help you lower your tax debt in 2012. You can qualify for energy tax credits if you’ve made certain improvements in the last year.

Here are a few federal tax credits offered for installing energy efficient products in your house. If you did not make any changes in 2012, you may want to take a look at what you could do to lower your taxes next year! These credits expire December 31, 2016, so you have time to implement changes that could help both your tax return and your everyday energy usage.

To receive a tax credit of 30% of cost, with no upper limit, on your

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While we heard plenty about the negotiation battles leading up to the New Year’s looming fiscal cliff, after the fact, many people might not consider how passed legislation personally affects them — especially when it comes to Santa Cruz real estate.

If you haven’t filed your 2012 taxes yet, you might want to take a minute to review the tax limitations and credit extensions, which Congress passed through the HR 8 legislation. You’ll want to ensure you’re paying the right amount when it comes to coughing up your money to Uncle Sam.

Energy Updates
The tax credit for homeowners to receive a ten percent deduction, up to $500, for energy efficient improvements to homes is extended for 2013.

Estate Tax
Individual estates valued at up to five million

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