Santa Cruz Green Living

Found 114 blog entries about Santa Cruz Green Living .

If your Santa Cruz home still has old, single-pane windows, the answer is a resounding YES! Otherwise, it depends on the quality of your windows.

Today’s windows are improving all the time, with added features making them tighter than ever.  For added comfort, lower energy costs and a soon-to-expire tax credit, it might be time to upgrade. Before you go window shopping, it will help to know something about the following terms:

 NFRC: This is the National Fenestration Rating Council, which brings you the labels found on all new windows. They test and rate the window’s performance in several important categories.

• U-Factor: This indicates the window’s resistance to heat loss. It is the inverse of the R-Factor used in insulation, so the lower the

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Now that summer is behind us, it’s a good time to get up in the attic and assess your insulation. If it’s been a while since it was installed, there may well be peaks and valleys in it that are less than ideal for keeping your Santa Cruz home comfortable and energy-efficient.

Luckily, more insulation can be blown in over what you already have. Blown-in cellulose insulation is a good option because it’s considered a "green" product, is highly effective and is less costly than fiberglass. Here are several benefits to adding cellulose insulation:

• Allows you to recycle while you insulate. As they say, if you don’t buy recycled, you’re not recycling. Cellulose insulation is made from recycled paper and treated with a flame retardant for safety.


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If you notice a musty or dusty smell when you turn on the furnace, you should look into having your air ducts cleaned. People with allergies or respiratory issues are especially vulnerable to the circulation of dirt and mold spores that accumulate in the HVAC system.

To help you determine if it’s time to clean the air ducts in your Santa Cruz home, here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

• Why should I have my ducts cleaned? Particulates in the air ducts become airborne throughout your Santa Cruz home whenever the blower goes on. In addition, contaminant buildup can reduce the efficiency of the heating system.

• How often should my ducts be cleaned? Even if your heating system has a good, effective filter, some experts believe your

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Few things are as unsettling as the suspicion that termites are attacking your Santa Cruz home. This is one thing you do not want to stay in denial about. Here are some steps to help you face the possibility and prevent problems:

• Don't let any wooden parts of your Santa Cruz home touch soil directly.  As always, the best solution is prevention. If wooden parts of your house are touching the soil directly, a professional can remedy it by installing metal shields and re-grading the soil along the foundation to improve drainage and create a gap between soil and wooden structures.

• Determine whether you do have termites. Subterranean termites build characteristic mud tubes for movement between nests. The appearance of these tubes is often the first

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All things must pass. No matter how the gardening at your Santa Cruz home went this year, it’s getting time to move on and change with the seasons. Here are some tips to help you:

• Dig those sweet potatoes. Harvest sweet potatoes before the first frost, or they will be ruined. If you wake up and find the frost has hit before you had the chance, run out there immediately and at least cut the vines off at the base of the plants. This may stop damage to the roots, but you still need to dig your sweets before the next frost. After digging, cure them by keeping them in a warm, dark place like the attic of your Santa Cruz home. This sweetens them up and gets them ready for storage. After curing, store them somewhere that never goes below 40 degrees; they

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If your Santa Cruz home is starting to look like a landfill, you’re not alone. You’d like to get rid of all the old stuff you don’t use anymore, but you want to be responsible and don’t know where to take it, right?

Here are some of the most common obsolete items and ideas on what to do with them.

• Technotrash: This is computer-related waste, VHS tapes, cassette tapes, CDs, DVDs and other obsolete accessories.  A company called GreenDisk can handle all your technotrash disposal needs by safely and securely destroying your old data, recovering reusable components, and recycling all of the rest of your accumulated technotrash.

• Old electronics: Also known as e-waste, this includes old appliances, TVs and monitors that contain valuable metals that

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According to a report by the U.S. Department of Energy, only one in five household sockets currently contain energy-efficient light bulbs.  If you haven’t embraced them, here are some reasons to make the switch sooner rather than later in your Santa Cruz home:

• Your budget will thank you – While a Compact Fluorescent light bulb (CFL) costs more to purchase than an incandescent (about $1 more per bulb), the CFL will last up to 10 times longer than the traditional light bulb.  According to Energy Star, a CFL saves you between $30 and $60 per bulb depending on the cost of electricity at your Santa Cruz home.

• It’s good for the environment – A CFL uses 75% less energy than a traditional light bulb. 

• Your quality of light won’t suffer – A federal

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Do you need to be convinced that it would be nice to spend less time mowing your lawn? Think of all the fun things you could be doing instead of burning all that gas, making all that noise and sweating in the sun! Here are some ways to free up your valuable time and improve your Santa Cruz real estate at the same time.

• Stop watering and fertilizing. Many people make more work for themselves by encouraging lush growth of their lawn. This is a waste of water and encourages problems with fungus. Using chemical fungicides creates a toxic cycle. You especially don’t want to use pesticides where your kids and pets roll around.

• Plant more trees. Trees are a priceless addition to your Santa Cruz real estate. They provide shade, habitat for birds, a

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Have you ever thought about what your Santa Cruz home for sale looks like at night?  You should, because potential buyers certainly do.

Imagine a potential buyer driving by your home after sunset.  What will they see - a beautifully lit walkway leading to a welcoming front door - or a house that’s dark and dreary?

Many potential buyers want a home that looks lovely both day and night.  Why do they care what it looks like in the dark?  They entertain primarily at night, they frequently come home from a long day at work after dark, and they want the added level of security provided by a well-lit home.

Here are some ideas to light the night to help your Santa Cruz home sell faster:

• Add landscape lighting.  Create a gentle moon-glow lighting

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Recently, environmentally friendly or “green” remodeling has become more and more popular. Nearly every day you see a TV show or online article giving tips on how to make your home and life more eco-friendly.

The catch is that green building can sometimes be extremely expensive. And, in most areas there really aren’t enough buyers specifically looking for features like rain water catch basins and solar panels to make it worth your investment. However, there are some relatively inexpensive ways you can remodel your Santa Cruz real estate that will benefit the environment and go easy on your wallet at the same time.

• Refurbish what you can while remodeling. If it’s possible to refinish existing cabinets and woodwork instead of replacing them, you’ll

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