By Michele E. Buttelman
Among the most used “buzz” words of the last decade are sustainability and eco-friendly.
Americans are constantly reminded to reduce waste, use less energy and water, as well as “reduce, reuse, recycle.”
In Santa Clarita the first curbside recycling program began in October 1990 with 3,000 households participating in the first phase. By April of 1990 the program had mostly expanded citywide.
After cans, bottles and cardboard recycling became the norm, green waste barrels were added to the curbside program.
In July, by state mandate, curbside recycling of organic matter will begin in Santa Clarita.
In addition to collecting green waste, residents will now add organic recycling, including food waste and food soiled paper, to the green waste collection bin. See GreenSantaClarita.com for more details.
One of the hottest trends in new home construction is building eco-friendly homes. If you are in the new home market look for homes built with:
Sustainable wastewater recycling
Native plants and less lawn space
Eco-friendly building materials
Many studies show that green homes sell faster and for more money than homes without energy-efficient designations. Homes with high energy-efficiency ratings sold for 2.7% more, on average, according to Freddie Mac, a mortgage loan provider.
Retrofit Your Home
If you have no plans to move but want to join the eco-friendly home movement there are many ways to retrofit your home.
Making your home energy-efficient can save an average of $1,560 annually according to GreenBuildingAdvisor.com.
Deep retrofits that include upgrades such as thick insulation and thorough air sealing can cut a home’s energy use by 58% to 79% and emissions by 32% to 56% depending on the age of the home and the surrounding climate.
Energy Saving Retrofit
There are many steps you can take to increase the energy efficiency of your home:
Insulate the slab and foundation walls.
Provide air sealing and moisture management.
Super-insulate existing walls, floors and ceiling or roof with formaldehyde-free insulation.
Install a durable roof with solar panels. Adding solar panels can help you reduce your energy usage considerably. This upgrade also increases the resale value of your home.
Replace doors and windows with energy-efficient models and specify glazing based on the house’s exposure to the sun.
New window technologies include double glazing, special coatings, nonconductive framing materials and higher-quality, air-tight construction.
As much as 50% of a home’s heat or cooling is lost through single-pane windows.
Choose a smart thermostat. Wi-Fi-enabled devices automatically adjust the temperature settings in your home so they remain optimal.
When it is time to replace your HVAC system choose high-efficiency mechanical equipment and heat pumps, where possible.
For most of the year there are few alternatives to conventional air conditioning in the SCV, however new advances in hydronic HVAC systems utilizes water as the primary fluid to transfer energy throughout your home.
Reconfigure plumbing to distribute hot water efficiently.
Insulate hot water pipes.
Choose a high-efficiency water heater.
Reduce the need for artificial lighting during daylight hours by increasing natural daylighting when possible. You can increase natural light in your home by hanging a mirror on a wall opposite a window, painting walls and ceilings white and/or installing solar tubes and skylights.
Install energy-efficient lighting throughout your home using energy efficient fixtures and light bulbs.
Provide an easy way to turn off equipment to eliminate phantom electrical loads. The easiest thing you can do to reduce phantom power is unplug anything you’re not using. This includes unplugging your phone or laptop charger when your device isn’t charging, not simply unhooking the device. Leaving cords plugged in when they’re not connected to anything is a common way phantom power can add up
Replace old appliances with energy efficient models.
Rain Barrel Retrofit
The recent rains prove that when it rains in the SCV, it pours. Install a rainwater collection system. These systems collect rainwater from your roof or the ground and store it for later use. The water can be used for landscaping, laundry, filling toilet tanks for flushing and much more.
In the drought prone Santa Clarita Valley residents can take advantage of the city of Santa Clarita Rain Barrel Class and Purchase Program. The next rainwater harvesting class will be held on Saturday, April 8 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Newhall Community Center, 22421 Market St., Newhall, CA 91321.
The class include topics like the importance of rainwater harvesting and proper installation and maintenance of rain barrels. City residents can pre-order a rain barrel for $40 plus tax each (limit 2 per household) and pick-up on the same day from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Class attendance is not required for the purchase and pick-up of a rain barrel. In addition, purchase of a rain barrel is not required to attend the class. Visit city.sc/rainbarrel and follow the instructions to pre-order.
Replace your lawn with native plants: Turf lawns require a lot of water and maintenance. To cut down on water usage, fertilizers, pesticides and mowing, consider replacing your lawn with native plants, as they’re drought-resistant and support wildlife and pollination.
Visit the Santa Clarita Water Agency for a list of trees and plants suitable for the arid climate of the SCV. SCV Water has worked for years with residents to share information on water-wise gardening and landscapes.
Visit the website for landscaping information and inspiration. SCV Water also hosts monthly free gardening and landscaping classes.
For more information visit https://yourscvwater.com/landscape-inspiration-information.