The worldwide backlash regarding Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement has inspired a renewed focus by many of us on how we can be more energy-efficient. If even a small percentage of the population chose to improve just one area of their energy-efficiency, the benefits would be outstanding.
So how can you, a hardworking home improvement contractor, promote energy-efficiency?
Let's start with something that applies to everyone: your vehicle. There are thousands of articles across the Internet that deal with the gas vs diesel debate, but none of those articles seem to agree on anything. Diesel may get better mileage, but the jury's still out on whether diesel is actually better for the environment. But fuel types aside, everyone agrees that regular maintenance and tuneups increases gas mileage and lowers emissions. And you can really increase your gas mileage if you keep to the speed limit. According to the US Department of Energy, driving aggressively can lower gas mileage by 15%-40%.
Getting a tuneup is certainly a step in the right direction, but what if you could become more energy-efficient and make money too? As mentioned, how we can improve our energy-efficiency is the hot topic nowadays. Homeowners across America are constantly looking for ways to make their homes energy-efficient and they're going to need a like-minded home improvement contractor to help them do it.
Why can't that contractor be you? With some changes to the materials you use, it can. And by marketing yourself the right way and offering an Efficient Energy Package (EEP*), there will be a whole new demographic of "green" homeowners clamoring for your services. Here are some ideas for each industry:
Carpentry - Use sustainable wood. That is, wood grown in managed forests where the harvesting rates and growth rates are balanced properly. This ensures that the forest will be around for a long time, keeping the air clean and benefiting the environment.
Cleaning - Use concentrated cleaning products that are also Eco-friendly and nontoxic. Why concentrated products? They're made with less water, paper, ink, and plastic, so less ends up in landfills and more space is freed up in shipping. More product can be shipped at a time and less fuel is needed to move the product. Less fuel being used means fewer emissions in the atmosphere and less greenhouse gas being produced. If you purchase concentrated cleaning products they will last longer, saving you trips to the store. Especially if you buy in bulk.
Concrete - Use concrete made with fly ash cement. Fly ash is a waste byproduct of coal-fired power production. It can be recycled to form up to half of the cement in standard concrete. Some experts say fly ash concrete is stronger and more durable, further reducing its environmental impact by saving replacement energy, costs and resources.
Electrical (EEP* industry) - The package you create can offer an electrical inspection to make sure everything is up to code, switching out the old bulbs for CFLs or LEDs, and installing ceiling fans to keep homes cool without driving up air-conditioning costs.
Exterminating - Use nontoxic pesticides for insects and live-traps for rodents and wildlife.
Flooring - All the ideas for environmentally-friendly wood I mentioned by Carpentry apply to hardwood flooring as well. But unlike the carpentry industry, where wood is the main ingredient, there's a variety of styles of flooring that are infinitely more "green" than hardwood. Laminate (faux wood), Vinyl (helps insulate the home), and Linoleum (made from recycled materials) are some examples. Bamboo and other types of composite wood flooring are extremely Eco-friendly as well.
Handyman (EEP* industry) - The package you create can include making sure all the windows and doors are properly sealed, making general repairs around the house, and installing insulation in much-needed areas.
HVAC (EEP* industry) - The package you create can offer a complete inspection of the system, cleaning filters, ducts, and vents, and sealing and insulating the duct work. You might want to include a programmable thermostat installation, which can really help conserve energy and money. Don't forget to talk to them about the benefits of a ductless air conditioner.
Landscaping - Regularly maintain your mowers to reduce gas consumption and emissions. Consider switching your gas mower, leaf-blower, and weed-trimmer to electric. Only use nontoxic insecticides and control weeds without chemicals.
Painting - Only use low or no-VOC paint. There are types of paint that have green advantages, like insulating paint or Eco-friendly paint additives that are great for saving energy in the cold winters. They create a vacuum, causing heat to reflect off the paint and back into the room. Another interesting type of paint is anti-microbial, which helps to repel mold. Always keep your paint cans covered and stored properly after use.
Plumbing (EEP* industry) - The package you create can include a full blown plumbing inspection to make sure there aren't any leaks or clogs and that all the pipes are insulated. You can install low-flow shower heads and a dual-flush toilet to save water.
Remodeling - Take a look at this green guide to eight common construction materials and if there are better, more environmentally-friendly alternatives.
Roofing - There are plenty of energy efficient roofing options. Such as, coated metal roofs, cool roofs, wood shingles, clay tiling, and horticultural green roofs.
Tile - Suggest to your customer these greener tile materials: Cork, Glass, Porcelain, Metal, Pebbled, and Reclaimed.
May you only have the greatest success in your endeavor to become more energy efficient.
THE WORLD THANKS YOU.