Green LED Lights for Greener Homes, Plus Cost Info

If you are considering replacing your existing incandescent light bulbs or CFLs with the newly available bright LED light bulbs such as the Phillips LED Dimmable Light Bulbd with Warm Glow Effect (800-Lumen, 2200-2700 Kelvin, 9.5-Watt, 60-Watt Equivalent), then it is a good idea to learn about pros and cons of each of these different types of lighting products.

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To start off, I would like to say that modern LED light bulbs can provide a reasonably good new light bulb replacement option. Without a doubt, LEDs offer a number of important benefits, but you may also find that CFLs, which you can now buy for under $1.00 a piece, may be more appropriate for your current situation.

What is LED Lighting?

a-kitchen-outfitted-with-leds

A LED or a Light Emitting Diode is a form of lighting that is becoming increasingly popular as an environmentally preferred source of lighting in both residential and commercial buildings. A LED is a type of semiconductor that can produce light through an affect known as electroluminescence.

LEDs are compact lights that do not contain filaments like incandescent bulbs, and which emit mostly light while producing very little heat as a by product of their operation. LEDs are typically small, sometimes measuring less than one millimeter square. LED lighting can take a number of different forms, using various lenses to create different lighting effects by manipulating how the light radiates and disperses.

The earliest LEDs, which were produced during the 1960s, were only capable of emitting red light, and they were typically only used as indicator lights incapable of producing enough light to light up the space. LED lights of different colors such as yellow were later obtained. Early LEDs were mainly used only as indicators in calculators, and scientific instruments, and TV remotes, and as indicator lights in automobiles and in airplanes.

A significant technological breakthrough of 1995, resulted in a bright white LED light bulb capable of lighting up the space with a light that was of adequate intensity and reasonably close to white/natural light.

Modern LEDs can produce light of all different colors (wave lengths of the color spectrum), including visible, ultraviolet and infrared light. The brightness and efficiency of LEDs has been improved significantly with the advancements in technological development of LEDs. Thus, modern LEDs are now being used not only as indicators for displays, but also as a lighting source in our homes and commercial/institutional buildings.

Goals and Objectives of this guide:

In this guide, I will explain advantages and benefits of LEDs, and I will try to highlight all known to me potential negatives and disadvantages of LED lighting in order to help you the consumer, make a more informed/smarter buying decision. I will also offer some advice on choosing the right types of home LED lights, and tell how you can evaluate and compare the quality of light produced by LEDs with the light you are used to getting from your normal light bulbs.

Cost

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When bright home LED lights first became available to consumers, they used to average $100.00 per bulb, but now that the initial hype has faded, and with a growing number of prominent LED lighting manufacturers competing for consumers, prices of LEDs have gone down to an average of $5 – $15 for a dimmable LED light bulb ranging from 60 to 100 watt of light equivalent produced.

For instance, you can now buy a 60 watt equivalent, soft light dimmable led bulb by Cylvania at Lowe’s for under $10!

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Despite more than triple lowering of prices of LEDs in the recent years, the higher current initial cost of LEDs are still likely to deter some consumers from purchasing home LED replacement bulbs in great numbers at this point in time. Thus, relatively high current cost of LEDs can be considered the greatest disadvantage of LEDs from the point of view of the regular consumer.

On the upside, you should remember that by investing in LEDs now, you will not have to worry about the cost of maintaining and replacing your led light bulbs in the next 10 to 25 years. If you add up all the energy savings from using LED lights to light your home, you will be able to recover your all your money in just a few years. Still, Shelling out over $100.00 in one visit to a lighting store may be too much for some people to swallow.

You can always play the waiting game, though, since the prices of LEDs are expected to keep dropping at the range of 10% to 15% percent per year. As the LED lighting technology advances, LED lighting manufacturers keep lowering the cost of their products in order to stay competitive.

This competition will ultimately benefit consumers who will get a variety of great LED light products at some very attractive prices. My best recommendation is that you wait a few years, and when the prices of LEDs fall significantly, you will be able to get yourself a real bargain for your hard earned money!

Timing is Everything!

In the mean time, you can replace your existing incandescent light bulbs with spiral shaped CFLs that you can get for around 1 buck, and you will be able reduce your lighting energy consumption by approximately 75%. And, when the time comes to replace your CFLs, you will be able to pick some high quality home LED lights for a very attractive price.

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Top 10 Green Home Improvement Upgrades, Plus Costs & ROI

This year, homeowners are more focused on renovating their houses rather than buying new, especially in places with booming economy like Seattle. Hot real estate markets mean that it’s often too expensive to buy a new place for many people, but it’s a great time to fix up your current home! 😉

If you can’t afford to move, but you are getting bored or frustrated with your house, a properly planned remodel can help make it feel like a brand new place! 🙂 And if you ever decide to sell your home in the future, strategically-done home improvements will help make it more desirable and attractive in the eyes of potential buyers.

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No matter whether you’re remodeling to make yourself more comfortable or to entice potential buyers, it’s a no-brainer to lean towards environmentally-friendly design. Most green home remodeling projects result in huge savings on your energy bills, in addition to simply being the right thing to do for the future.

And green is really in right now: a recent study found that homebuyers are willing to pay 3.46% more for a home with green features than a home without.

A lot of people are under the impression that green remodeling will cost them a fortune, but that’s not necessarily true. We’ve rounded up a set of 10 awesome (and cost-effective) green remodeling projects for your consideration. Read on to get the scoop on what goes into each project, how much each one might cost you, the kind of return on investment you can expect, and more.

1. Energy-efficient exterior doors

energy-efficient-door

Replacing an old exterior door is a great way to improve your home’s energy efficiency. If your current door is worn, cracked, or isn’t energy efficient, replacing it with an Energy Star-certified exterior door can result in a savings of as much as 10% on your costs to heat and cool your home.

To replace your door, you’ll need to first choose what kind of new door you want. While there are a variety of options, the most energy-efficient and durable kinds are fiberglass and steel.

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Fiberglass doors are often better looking, since they more closely mimic the look of authentic wood doors. They are also ideal for harsh climates (very cold or very humid), since unlike steel, they don’t sweat when exposed to cold or moisture. However, they are more expensive than steel, and easier for intruders to break into.

Steel doors, on the other hand, are cheaper, stronger, and usually more energy efficient in temperate or hot, dry climates. However, they may not be as attractive, and they can rust if not treated properly and exposed to the elements.

Many doors come in pre-hung in a frame and pre-drilled and can be installed yourself, but if you are choosing a door that is not the exact same size as your old door, you’ll need to hire a contractor (usually a carpenter) to install the door.

A new exterior door offers some of the very best returns on your investment. This year, the average cost of a new exterior fiberglass door, including installation, is $3,276, and tends to add an average value of $2,550 to your home, for a 77.8% ROI.

The average cost of a new exterior steel door, including installation, is only $1,826, and tends to add value of $1,368, giving a respectable 75% ROI.

2. Non-toxic carpet

Non-toxic-Carpet via ServiceExpress.co

If you want to install or replace your carpet, you should be aware that not all new carpets are the same. A lot of new carpets and their adhesives contain chemicals called VOCs (volatile organic compounds), which are not only bad for the environment, but also dangerous to breathe in, causing a host of symptoms like dizziness, nausea, and fatigue.

Still, there is an ever-widening variety of Eco-friendly, non-toxic carpet available on the market today, and there are benefits of carpet over wood or laminate floors: carpet is cheaper and provides comfort, noise damping, and – most importantly – energy conservation. They are a great way of keeping the warmth in your house in the wintertime without turning up your heater.

When picking a green carpeting solution, look for carpets labelled “low VOC” and made from natural fibers like wool, jute, seagrass, or sisal. Choose lightweight carpets without petroleum-based padding – either no padding or padding made from felt is ideal. If the carpet requires adhesive, go for water-based, low-VOC glues, or ask your carpet installer to use these eco-friendly products.

This year, new wool carpet is running about $8-$10 per square foot. Installation is typically between $2.00-$4.00 per square foot. While return on investment data is somewhat hard to find on carpet alone (as opposed to a whole room remodel), there is widespread general agreement that potential buyers are turned off by old or dirty carpet, making replacing carpet a winning resale strategy.

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Top 15 Tiny House Design Ideas and their Costs

Sustainable Home Living Ideas for Minimalism and Comfort Explained in a fun way, plus beautiful examples of Tiny Homes!

When I found out about the tiny house trend, my first thought was “why on earth would anyone want to live in a house the size of a shoebox?”. 😉 As it turns out, this is a superficial way of looking at things. Let me explain the potential reasons why the tiny house movement is so popular.

via FYI, Tiny House Nation

While the average house in the US measures 2,600 sq. ft., a tiny house is no bigger than 100-400 sq. ft. Let’s say you want to buy a typical single family house that costs roughly $290,000. The bank requires a down payment of about $60,000, if you want to save on mortgage insurance (almost all conventional home loans with less than 20% down-payment will require an additional monthly payment in a form of mortgage insurance), so the principal is $230,000. Even at current low interest rates, you are still paying a fortune over the life of a 30-year loan. Does this sound like something you want to do?

According to CBS News, at least one third of an American’s income goes into his house. This is one of the reasons why many people are living paycheck to paycheck. 29.3% of US homeowners have mortgages compared with 68% tiny house owners who don’t. Moreover, 55% of tiny house owners have more savings than the average American who has about $10,000 in savings.

So, the first reason is related to costs and if you extrapolate, people who have more money to attend to their pleasures are happier than those who spend most of their income on what’s needed to have a decent living. Other reasons revolve around environmental concerns and the fact that some people feel more comfortable in a cozy small home. That being said, let’s see 15 tiny house designs that will hopefully make you consider this more efficient way to live.

Toy box house

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Via Toy Box Tiny Home

Based on the idea that a home is place of peace and simplicity, this design combines modern elements with Eco-friendly materials. The white roofing membrane is made of thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) to address the issue of durability commonly encountered with EPDM, and to provide superior energy efficiency. The walls are made of fiberglass and natural cedar, while the base that’s also made of cedar wood makes the outline of this tiny house on wheels. On the other side of the house you will notice a large sliding door made of glass that ensures proper ventilation and allows natural daylight to come inside the structure. The size of the construction is customizable and the base price is $79,000.

Water Woody houseboat

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Via Tiny House for Us

The single most important feature of this design is that it runs on both water and land since you can attach it as a trailer to your car anytime you want to go on a road trip. The house is very self-sufficient having solar panels for electricity and a system that collects rainwater for later use. There is also a composting toilet onboard. This house is perfect for anyone who wants to sail and to travel the world by car. The minimum price for this marvel is $125,000.

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