What does “green” really mean?

Much has been published and written about “going Green” in your daily life and how important it is for all of us to contribute to the cause of the environment. But what does that mean for the average person and how can one make a difference? Does it mean being selective in what we buy and who we buy it from and how that company conducts it’s business? Does it mean planting trees to become carbon neutral? Does it mean recycling your waste to not burden the earth with products that could be used again in the manufacturing process instead of rusting away in a landfill somewhere? Does it mean not using energy wasting appliances that require the utility companies to produce more and more electric and gas for us to consume in old worn out systems that should have been replaced 10 years ago? I think it means all of the above and more.

Heating and cooling systems consume 1/3 of all energy produced in this country and most of those systems operate at a greatly reduced efficiency with waste accounting for 30 to 40 percent of all resources consumed. The way one can be “Green” in this regard is to keep their heating and cooling system operating at peak efficiency to minimize the waste inherent in the process. Old gas furnaces by design waste more gas up the flue or chimney than they use to heat your home. Let one get out of proper tune and it gets worse. Old air conditioners do a job cooling your home that could be done for 30 to 50 percent less electricity. Let an old air conditioner get out of tune and the waste could be upwards of 70 percent. Keep your system in perfect working order and replace the entire system when it gets old. Do not fall into the old pattern of letting you system go year after year with out service trying to save a buck in the short run.

After 12 to 15 years and it’s time to replace your heating and cooling system, do not just replace a single piece of equipment, but rather look at the entire system from a complete system approach. There are three major pieces of equipment to replace in a heating and cooling system; the furnace, the cooling coil and the outdoor condenser or air conditioner. When your car gets old and worn out, you would never consider just replacing the engine or the rear end and leaving the rest of the components 20 years old to possibly break down another day. Go “Green” in you own home by stop wasting more energy than needed. Stop using more than your fair share of natural resources. Make sure when it comes time to replace your system that you purchase from a “Green” contractor that recycles your old refrigerant, your old copper, steel, and aluminum and gives you advice and counseling on R410a “green” refrigerants, energy saving dehumidification thermostats and improved efficiencies. Install Energy Star compliant systems.

I feel being “Green” means more than how you separate your garbage or what type of car you drive. Can you imagine the change our world would see if everyone cut energy consumption by 50 percent overnight ? It can happen . Do your part to be “Green” and it will save you green in the long run.

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