Santa Cruz Green Living

There are currently 113 blog entries related to this category.

A good way to save money in your Santa Cruz home is to improve your home’s energy efficiency.  You can save four to nine percent a year on water heating costs by installing a water heater jacket.  They’re quick and easy to install, here’s how:

Prepare to Shop

Before you go shopping, make sure you know if your water heater is gas or electric.  The access panels and materials can be different between the two.  The installation of a water heater jacket on a gas heater is more difficult.  You may want to have a professional do the installation on a gas water heater.

Write down your water heater model number.  Most water heater jackets list the compatible water heater models on the packaging.  Choose a jacket with a value of  R-8. 

Installation

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Indoor air quality (IAQ) has become an increasingly important element in home buyers' decision-making, and buyers have become more attuned to mold, radon and other issues that affect air quality.

Many air quality dangers once were invisible and difficult to quantify, but thanks to evolving technology, detecting and rating IAQ has gotten easier. In addition, new programs have emerged to inspect and rate homes' IAQ. One such program is the EPA’s Indoor airPlus.

Eric Werling, the Indoor airPlus coordinator, presented the April 2010 Webinar and discussed the one-year-old rating and home labeling program.

Indoor airPlus is a sister label to ENERGY STAR® and to get the label, a home first must meet ENERGY STAR® requirements. Gaining the Indoor airPLUS

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Green homes are great for the environment and will save you money over time. The EPA has identified components that qualify buildings as green to help in the process of finding Santa Cruz real estate that is environmentally friendly and energy efficient.

The cost of running a home can add up over time, but buying a home that is properly insulated, made out of sustainable materials and reduces waste provides many benefits to the homeowner.

 Energy Efficiency - According to the EPA, as of December 2012, buildings account for 68% of total energy consumption Green homes can reduce these two numbers with energy efficient appliances, well-sealed, double-glazed windows, and good insulation. Using alternative energy sources, such as solar panels, will also

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With all of the last-minute holiday craziness — hosting parties, baking cookies, fixing a great family dinner — it is easy to run up the energy bill.  After purchasing presents and giving gifts, the last thing you want to deal with is outrageous electricity fees come January.  So, avoid a high bill this holiday season with these simple tips for conserving energy in your Santa Cruz home.

• Go LED.  This year you should invest in LED lights for the outside of your Santa Cruz home.  They are shatterproof, present no fire hazard, and are safe to touch.  Also, purchase an automatic timer, so that you do not accidently leave lights on all night, which definitely adds up if it happens repeatedly.

• Lower the thermostat.  Your house will stay very warm when

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When you look at all the recent improvements in green technology, it is easier than ever before to transform your Santa Cruz home into a green home. If your home is a green energy home, you will use renewable sources for your power, hot water, security and heating. Numerous methods exist to transform your traditional home into that of a green home.

The first step you can implement around your home is that of solar power. In your green home, you can implement a solar heating system to provide heat and help store enough water for usage. Using solar panels can help convert the rays from the sun and turn them into power. If you were to purchase these items and have them installed by a specialist, it could end up costing you a significant amount of money.

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If so, you could ask for more money when it comes time to sell. In California, a green certified home carries a price premium of 9% over a conventional home. With energy prices increasing, along with awareness of environmental issues, green buildings are the wave of the future no matter where you live.

If your Santa Cruz home has many of the following features, it might make sense for you to look into getting it certified as a green building.

• Oriented to optimize passive solar
• Highly energy-efficient windows
• ENERGY STAR appliances
• Water Sense fixtures
• High indoor air quality
• High-efficiency HVAC
• Well insulated
• High percentage of local materials

There are national certification programs such as the National Green Building Program, which

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1. Plug up any holes. Use foam and caulking to seal any cracks where drafts or summer heat are getting into your Santa Cruz home.

2. Close blinds.  Close your drapes and blinds during the day to keep the sun and heat from getting in. This will cool the house down naturally and take the strain off the central air conditioning unit.

3. Clean filters. Clean or replace your a/c filters once a month to allow proper airflow through the system.

4. Install a Programmable Thermostat. Install a programmable thermostat to keep utility costs down by raising the temperature a few degrees during the day while no one is home, and lowering it just before family returns.

5. Unplug electronic devices. Either unplug electronic devices when not in use or turn

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Is there anything more enchanting than having hummingbirds visit your Santa Cruz real estate? These tiny creatures are the size of a large bug. Their lightning speed, amazing hovering abilities and threadlike tongues are a marvel to behold.

Here are some ways to make your Santa Cruz real estate attractive to hummingbirds:

1. Hang hummingbird feeders. This is the quickest method.
 Make it sweet. Fill your feeder with a simple solution made of one part white sugar to four parts water.
 Don’t use honey. Solutions made with honey will ferment and can kill hummingbirds.
 Keep it clean. Rinse the feeder before every refilling, and wash it periodically. Be sure to rinse the soap out very thoroughly. Once a month, disinfect with hydrogen peroxide and rinse

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April begins gardening season, the time we get antsy to start working the soil, thinking about fertilizing the lawn and planting flowers in our Santa Cruz home.

Whether you’re preparing your Santa Cruz home to put it up for sale or just doing general maintenance and upkeep, here is your to-do list:

Annuals and Containers:

• Deadhead flowers to promote more blooms.
• Clean and sanitize summer containers, and plan your design for the summer.
• Plant summer annuals after the last frost.  Bring them indoors or cover with a cloth during a late cold snap.
• Start seeds indoors for annual herbs.
• Plant annual herbs such as basil and cilantro after the last frost.

Lawn:

• Raking should be your first task of spring lawn care. This removes dead grass,

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March leaves you anxious for the arrival of spring with its alternating bursts of winter and spring weather.  While there is nothing you can do about Mother Nature’s grip on winter, you can freshen up your Santa Cruz home for the spring that’s just around the corner. Here are a few ideas to brighten the core rooms in your home:

Living/Family Room:
• Change out all dark-colored throws and pillows and add brighter pastels and colors. 
• Remove heavy drapes and replace them with light sheers that let in more light and brighten things up.
• Don’t forget to clean the windows so they sparkle as well!
• Replace candles with vases of bright-colored flowers.
• Add a lush plant in front of or inside the fireplace that will not be used again until fall.
• Replace dark

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