By: Grady Herzog
Along with the summer heat, we experience higher electric and water bills. There are several steps that can be taken to help manage these costs and the ever shrinking pocket book.
First I would look at the construction of your building. If there is not the equivalent to an R-30 insulation in the attic, I would add insulation. Look at the attic ventilation to make sure there is sufficient air flow so excessive heat is not being retained. If there is not a radiant barrier then look at the possibility of having one installed. The windows on many of the older buildings are not very energy efficient. The typical window has a typical R value of 3 or less. Today there are many companies that can do replacement windows that are substantially more energy efficient than what you currently have.
With the continuing drought conditions and increasing cost of water landscaping to minimize water usage should be considered. Many heat tolerant plants are available that can be utilized to reduce water consumption. There are many online resources detailing how to xeriscape your property to minimize water usage. As part of this process, water harvesting can be done to utilize storm water runoff. A gutter system on the eave collects the water and directs it into a storage container for future use. These containers can be made of just about anything. Many companies sell used plastic tote tanks and they are readily available on the internet. Typically a ¼” rain collected in about 40 feet of gutter off of a roof will yield approximately 275 gallons. Just one container could water a xeriscaped flower bed for over a week.
These are just a couple of items that require a little investment but the long term savings are well worth it.