How Would You Spend $1,000 on Green Home Improvement?

| 6/23/2009 1:17:26 PM

Tags: question to readers, home heating, home cooling, appliances, energy efficiency,

Say you had $1,000 to invest in green home improvement — how would you spend it? 

Don't worry about where the money came from — if you must, say you earned it, or it came from the green home improvement leprechaun.

Would you buy new, energy-efficient windows? Or bamboo flooring for the living room? What about more insulation for the attic to help lower your heating and cooling bills? What about an on-demand water heater? Or perhaps an upgrade for the exterior of your house, such as a new paint job or fiber-cement siding? Speaking of paint, would you add new color to rooms with low- or no-VOC paint? Would you want new, energy-efficient appliances, such as a new refrigerator? In general, would you want to focus on energy-efficiency improvements to help you save money over time? Or aesthetic improvements you can feel good about?

Obviously $1,000 may not cover all expenses for some of these projects, especially at a large scale. But take a second to daydream: If you were handed a grand of green to make your home more green, what would you most want to do? Share your daydreams by posting a comment below.

emily miller
1/19/2011 5:20:39 AM

I would love love love to put solar tubes in my dark but fabulous exposed brick walled den and french doors that stepped out onto a pergola patio/deck-I'm easy, to lighten up a dead on southern exposure room with passive solar heat since I already placed peacock pavers over the floor. The room is almost 1000', magazine view worthy cause I did it myself. If there were a little left, perhaps repair the mortar inside the brick fireplace with a mantle from the 1903 worlds fair. The room has a mural I painted of a stone wall, stained doors from the Fair, and vintage and modern appeal with leather wood and antique columns cast against the wall as though they simply fell there. 1000$ goes a long way if you are willing to do some work and use the suns natural abilities to fuction. PS. I could build a tromb wall on the outside of the southern exposed brick wall which would top it off, but I have the supplies for that. It would be the most awesome girl built green room ever!

floyd johnston
2/25/2010 7:35:43 AM

Being someone who rents, and If I could find a piece of land to build a yurt on this is where I'd start. Then I'd start with a solar/wind/battery electrical system, along with a way to provide water and sewage disposal ie:compost toilet or septic system and hopefully a clear stream nearby or a well.

2/19/2010 11:44:34 PM

Annabelle check out William McLarneys book Freshwater Aquaculture : A Handbook for Small Scale Fish Culture in North America pub in 6/2000 and this site Best of luck

dawn pfahl
2/19/2010 9:47:04 PM

Oh, so many things this house needs... First off, of course, I'd want to actually own the house (we currently rent). But assuming we owned, the top priorities are the kitchen and the bathroom. New bamboo flooring in the bathroom would be amazing. The kitchen floor needs to be torn out entirely, including the subfloor, and rebuilt. I wouldn't be surprised if the foundation needs some work... natural stone tile with a baseboard or under-floor heat system would be amazing and help keep our kitchen sink pipe from freezing again. And I'd die for greener carpeting in the rest of the house, and some new garden supplies... $1000 might not go far, but it would certainly be a start!

2/19/2010 4:18:27 PM

My husband and I are getting on the bandwagon; we would use the $$ to build a hydroponic greenhouse, with fish producing the waste that feeds the plants. We have a garden spot that we would build over, and are gradually picking up windows, framing materials, etc from our local Habitat for Humanity store and Craigslist. We plan to use solar to power the pumps that move the water to feed the root systems in the hydroponic beds, and in our dirt beds, we are composting our home waste, chicken waste to produce good soil that is renewable. We hope to sell some produce locally at the farmers market as well as can for our own use. The money made from the sales will go back in to the system to expand the operation...By the way we plan to raise Tilapia in the system...Good waste produced, and good tasting fish.

richard w roth
10/2/2009 7:47:07 AM

my project included solar panels a home made battery box and the associated controllers and wiring for my temporary travel trailer in upstate New York. temporary because we are waiting for the economy to improve enough to feel comfortable enough to spend the money on a totaly green off the grid get away house. the best part is that I get to use all the stuff like my solar panels, composting toilet and rain barrels when we do build. Rich

richard w roth
10/2/2009 7:46:20 AM

my project included solar panels a home made battery box and the associated controllers and wiring for my temporary travel trailer in upstate New York. temporary because we are waiting for the economy to improve enough to feel comfortable enough to spend the money on a totaly green off the grid get away house. the best part is that I get to use all the stuff like my solar panels, composting toilet and rain barrels when we do build. Rich

8/5/2009 8:46:23 PM

8/5/09 Hi: John Rockwood, From Anachronism: I followed your suggestion and posted a workable solution to your “How Would You Spend $1,000 on Green Home Improvement? My original “expense” in 1984 to create my passive SOLAR system in Burlington included 2 hours, $45 for the remote sensor unit. (Today sensor costs $50 and is currently used to cool beehives by turning on a fan to cool the box hive) I spent two hours along with 50 feet of phone wire to attic sensor. Most furnaces have a connection (low Voltage) to allow you to simply turn on the fan motor on typical furnace used in 95% of homes. ASK ELECTRICIAN before touching wiring. MY SYSTEM WORKS AND WILL EITHER HEAT OR COOL YOUR BUSINESS OR HOME. Anachronism. NEED help- ASK?

8/5/2009 8:19:42 PM

#4-last one 20-You have created “YOUR OWN” Passive Solar Heating System! Remember you “MUST” have outside air movement into the attic space from either the eaves or at the bottom of the gable ends or the vents under the eaves to allow “OUTSIDE” air to enter the attic space to allow your system to function. (NOTICE the specific location on each of my project’s “Attic Air intakes” as I designed, built and controlled every aspect to create workable Passive solar projects.) Sincerely, Anachronism Part #’s from Lowe’s—Dated as 08/19/08 (Parts & Pricing) ITEM DESCRIPTION Vendor QTY. Price 82361 8” x 60”, GALV Pipe 1-08050 1 9.94 185010 8” Duct Fan (Sun court) DB208 1 29.93 36441 8”x 25’ Black Ins Duct (R4.2) BPC825 1 38.69 77405 6”x 25 Black Ins Duct (R-6) BPC625R6 1 25.98 USE THE SIZE PIPE OR MOTOR YOU WANT TO USE (900)

8/5/2009 8:18:11 PM

#3-If needed, add a SECOND PIPE AND ANOTHER SUCTION MOTOR “OR” USE A CIRCULATION FAN FROM THE ROOM (to spread the heat) WHERE YOUR PASSIVE SYSTEM DELIVERS YOUR ATTIC HEAT INTO YOUR LIVING SPACE. (YOU WANT "VOLUME" OF AIR INTO YOUR HOME SO DO NOT USE SMALLER INTAKE PIPE.) OPTION--Control volume flow with a “Speed Control” switch. Understand that you could remove “all the solar heat from your attic”, if temperature are cooler and no sun on your roof. "SUN CREATES YOUR HEAT", subject to the conditions that occurred in “BURLINGTON”. 1881 words “No sun/no heat????” (Read what actually occurred in Burlington on 12/23/1984 on the occasion of first operation, it was snowing with a 3” accumulation of SNOW on roof, cloudy and 22 deg. outside and “SIMPLY” “produced FREE” 65 degree heat! Look up on Internet ( 17-Your pick of a location that equalizes the distribution within the room and, “if needed” use a metal or plastic pipe with holes around the pipe to cause the air to disperse and direct downward to the floor area. You figure out this problem to fit your house. (You can simply direct airflow to floor, you decide) 18. Use the defined “Inline Suction Motor” and consult your local electrician to make the electrical connections to this motor and use a suitable electrical switch to the “Remote Sensor” to make automatic or simply use a wall switch to operate this “Inline Suction Motor” by hand. “You decide whether you want automatic or manual control of the passive Solar Heating system?” 19-Trim out the inside “exhaust opening” to a neat and clean appearance to finish the job. (1645)

8/5/2009 8:14:54 PM

#2- 8-Pick a location for your “Remote” sensor control inside your home and connect the wiring to the sensor inside your attic located at a distance of 36” to the side of your new intake pipe and level with the pipe opening located in the attic. 9-Follow instruction with the sensor and connect your wiring from the attic remote sensor to the “Sensor” unit. NEXT-- 10-Attach low voltage (dual wire) from the sensor to the connection block of furnace in the same positions your house or current interior thermostat is currently connected. 11-CONSULATE LOCAL ELECTRICIAN IF NEEDED TO HOOK UP THESE LOW-VOLTAGE WIRES IF NECESSARY OR ANY WIRING! 12- Make sure to support the new pipe with suitable material and DON’T crush ANY of your air pipes. 13-Make sure the connection into your current intake pipe is airtight and don’t damage either piping. 14-NOW you need to close any current ATTIC venting openings in the gable ends to “CREATE YOUR PASSIVE SOLAR HEATER”. Understand that this is legal as you have now “CREATED A POSITIVE ATTIC REMOVAL SYSTEM OF HEATED AIR” 15-Go to the, “10”, photo’s on Anachronism page and notice my designed “Intake” opening are located at the topside of the “attic ceiling structure”. This allows the “COMPLETE ATTIC AREA” serve as the solar collector unit. 16-NANCY,”ATTENTION, ELECTRICAL BASEBOARDS METHOD” Follow steps# 1,2,5,6,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15, (IF you don’t have a forced air furnace and currently use electric baseboard heaters you need to pick a location in your ceiling of the room that allows the most “equalized” location to bring your attic heat into your home or a specific room? (1632) # 3 next

8/5/2009 8:12:26 PM

4-sections=I’m constantly reading about the need to consider the “application of Solar Panels to create electricity”, so the following information maybe irrelevant, BUT it makes since to consider the actual fact that “IF” you have an “ATTIC” in your home “YOU OWN A PERSONAL SOLAR HEATING SYSTEM” and it sure makes sense to use it to “HEAT YOUR LIVING QUARTERS” AND THE MONEY SAVED, which “Anachronism” has proven for “25 Years” will help you save and “Purchase” your new SOLAR ARRAY! “SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS FOR BASEBOARD ELECTRIC HEATING” WITHOUT FURNACE UNIT AND OR “WITH FORCED AIR SYSTEM’S!” 1-When and before you enter your attic space, make sure you have proper light to observe all elements of your attic and the area where you will work. 2-You must use safe working planks to safely span the work area (Your attic is probably the structure that contains the insulation, wiring, heat ducts and other elements of the ceiling structure) so that you “DO NOT DAMAGE ANY OF YOUR FINISHED INTERIOR STRUCTURE”. 3-If you have a “Downdraft” furnace system with the return air piping going to your current heating system, you want to enter this duct air return as close to the furnace as possible. 4-The closer to the main suction point, more Passive Heat is “Pulled into” your house. 5-Start your upper suction position of the intake pipe at least 24” to 30” to draw from the “Hottest” collection point in the typical pitched roof area inside. 6-If needed, insert a short piece of metal ductwork into the new suction pipe to keep the flexible unit from sucking in and blocking the entering position in your attic. 7-Carefully attach to furnace “Suction pipe” and keep it straight and proceed to the position where you enter the “return air line”, use suitable adaptor when attaching into the furnace “return air ducting” of your existing furnace system Next #2

8/5/2009 5:23:57 PM

-CONTINUED-and simply let fresh air flow in the lower vent and flow out through the top opening. This keeps your attic cool when you don’t require either heat or cooling and keeps any potential heat buildup that could force heat into your living space. My system is totally passive, no compressors or other means to either heat or cool the air before entering the attic space. My first project in Burlington, Wash. in 1983 first produced “SOLAR HEAT” on Dec 23 rd at 3:00 in the afternoon. I went outside to check the temperature and it was “23” degrees and when I looked at my roof, it was snowing and three inches of snow had collected on my black composition roof! On this day the attic was producing “65” degree heat and blowing it into my storage building. Final note: MY solar heating system can produce “HOT” air approaching 100 degrees. Now you must decide if you want to heat and cool your home, shop or business using electric baseboards, gas furnaces, oil furnaces or those cheap to operate “HEAT PUMPS" that cost thousands to install and last a few years with their added electrical bills? THE AVERAGE COST TO COOL AND HEAT THIS BUILDING SIZED AS FOLLOWS: 145 FEET LONG AND 74 FEET WIDE AND 21 FEET FALL WITH A 3/12 PITCH ROOF AVERAGED --$ 1.00 PER DAY IN 1989 IN THE FIRST 12 MONTHS OPERATION. I BUILT 4 PROJECTS USING PASSIVE SOLAR ONLY AND ONE PROJECT USING DUAL SYSTEM. THIS BUILDING IS LARGER THEN 12-1800 SQ. FOOT HOMES. YOU CAN DOES THIS SOLAR HEATING PROCESS IN ONE DAY AND SPEND $150 FOR PARTS FROM LOWES OR HOME DEPOT TODAY. DO SOMETHING?

8/5/2009 5:19:17 PM

August 8, 2009—10:32 PM. The following information covers what I created starting in 1983. FREE HEATING FOREVER! These principle’s apply to “Passive Solar heating and cooling”. Your passive solar heating system is operating and you are drawing air into your to be heated by the captive heat generated by the “Energy” captured from solar radiation. IF you need this heat you simply “SUCK” the attic HOT AIR into the building living area. The sucking of the attic air from the attic into your living space creates a “POSITIVE” drop in attic pressure which continues pulling outside air into the attic space and continues to pull heat from the inside chamber/roof inside surface and blowing it inside your living area. “Free passive solar heat for home or business”. site name Look at the ten pictures and instructions for FREE PASSIVE SOLAR HEATING AND COOLING. Now we address how you cool your passively heated home. When you have warm/heated air in your attic and you now need to cool your inside living area, specific conditions must be present. In my Vancouver project I installed a temperature sensor at the outside of the building near the intake vent to tell the system that there was outside air suitable to “cool” the interior temperature to a pre-established threshold. This sensor was located 10 inches below the air intake into the attic passive solar heating system. When the pre-established “coolness” was achieved, the system opens the 24” vent in the upper most position on the roof and in the middle of the roof and by this action the attic HOT air rises out through this opening and by that action “SUCKS” in the cool outside air into the attic space. Another sensor in the attic space reacts, when it meets the conditions determined, and “TURNS ON” the suction fan and “SUCKS” the cool air into your home. You can also have a second sensor in your system which will open the roof vent and si

7/15/2009 5:23:11 AM

I would install a solar tube skylight. The house is so dark requiring lights on even during the day.

7/5/2009 5:47:20 PM

One grand would be a great start for a geo-thermal heating/cooling system. If ever there's a need for energy savings it is now! With the cost savings of @ 70% over an electric heat pump, a geo-thermal system would more than start the cycle towards energy independence.

sandy w
7/4/2009 4:24:01 PM

With $1000 I would build the outdoor fire brick oven of my dreams! We recently had a vicious ice storm that took our power for weeks. Fortunately, this past winter we replaced our electric heat with a fireplace! We cooked and heated with it. If that happened in the summer, we would have been cooked out of our home due to the amount of heat produced. Our intentions are to create as green an environment as humanly possible!

a lynn_1
7/3/2009 11:34:22 AM

I would insulate the addition on my trailer,and add windwows.The addition faces south. I aready have most of the materials so most of the cash would go into hireing a helper since I am older and could use some physical assistance.

7/2/2009 9:57:41 AM

I would install two programmable thermostats and an on demand water heater.

7/1/2009 10:12:03 AM

I would put in a few rain barrels that looked nice, build a compost pile, and with whatever is left over buy and plant the largest fast growing tree I could afford and plant it on the southeast side of my home for shade to cut A/C bills

7/1/2009 9:36:01 AM

$1,000, huh? My list of projects for going green is quite long and honestly, I have not done all the research on all of them but with $1,000, I would rate which projects would give me the quickest ROI so I could re-invest the return on the next project in line. Just off the top of my head and in no particular order, solar water heater, PV array, insulate the attic, upgrade multiple appliances to more efficient models, solar attic fan, rain water recovery system, weather stripping replacement on windows and doors, window film installation, I could go on and on. For all of those people who say "How much change can 1 person make?", well, you're not alone. Look at all of the postings of projects people want to do to help. Good luck everyone!!

6/30/2009 6:30:39 AM

I would love to have $1,000.00 to spend on a solar panel and a home size wind mill to help on the electric. That has been my dream for a long time. I would also enlarge my garden space; need to build the soil with peat and compost materials. I would love to have all the windows replaced, but that will take much more than $1,000. I want to build and outdoor kitchen, space to clean vegies from the garden and put the water on my garden.

joel&kathi huebner
6/29/2009 8:44:13 PM

Unfortunately $1000, doesn't' go very far any more. With a 3k sq ft 1855 post & beam house, insulation won't go far. It would buy a few new wooden storms, but that' not close to the 26 we need. I have foamed every inch of sill beam. I have all the hot water pipes, and boiler pipes insulated. Basement windows have 2" foam in them already (not much light, but much warmer) We're not putting in the AC for the 2nd year in a row, we survived as kids, so can mine! ;) The wood pellet stove gives us a "bio-plus" heat supplement already too. I've been busy! :) I suppose a on demand hot water heater would go farthest!

doug smith
6/29/2009 10:19:17 AM

$1000 would not even make a dent in what I want to do. I need 8500 watts to be self sufficient, and I would want to do that with Solar and Wind. I would like to install a geothermal heating and cooling system. Most of my appliances are now energy star compliant except the dishwasher and perhaps the microwave. Next Insulating the house to be tight, and installing an air exchanger that heats the incoming air with the outgoing air. Replace the remaining lights with CFL's. Install a solar operated whole house fan to reduce the load on the geothermal cooling system. Installing wood heating for emergencies (no wind & overcast for a long time). It would certainly make sense to be grid tied, but a battery bank or back up Diesel generator running on Biodiesel would be preferred. I really would like to install a Lister type generator. A rainwater collection system is in the very near future. I would want one that was buried and the gutter system was plumbed to it. Another item I would consider going green with is my wife's van. I would like to see a diesel mini-van without a DPF so I could run Biodiesel (B100). Then there are the solar tubes that put light in dark places during the day. Boy $1000 dollars would be a great start, but to really do this I would need thousands. The PV array alone is over $50K. It would be really neat to do all of this and have a television show explaining how it was accomplished. Oh, another thing is smart wiring so I could shut every unnecessary electricity draining device off with the flick of one switch. I could do this myself, but I would need the outlets and command switch. This is most likely where I would spend $1000 dollars as it would cover the costs, and then some, perhaps the solar tubes. Thank you for allowing me to put my goals down in writing. Doug in NH

wind dancer
6/29/2009 8:33:12 AM

The first thing I would do is insulate with a new foam insulation I saw on Green TV made out of soy beans. Our house is a 1 1/2 story with horsehair plaster in the walls. The next thing would be to put a new roof on the house. We are looking at a metal roof not only for cost but for the benefits of heating and cooling the house. I also would like to have a thermal reading of our home to see where most of our heat is escaping and repair those parts. I know $1000 wouldn't cover all these things but all the small steps we each take is good for us and good for Mother Earth!

kim garrison
6/28/2009 11:39:15 PM

Here is what is on our "to do green" list: 1. install a solar powered attic fan. 2. install a whole house fan 3. install 2 programmable thermostats 4. make and install several rain barrels 5. install solar lighting at/in the barn where there is none However...... Our upstairs ac unit has a severe freon leak and only holds a charge for about 1 month. We have been nursing it along for the 5 years we have lived in this house. So, $1000 would be used to replace the ac unit which we would purchase at whole sale from my best friend's brother and get him to install it. Living in a house is always a never ending "adventure".' Kimberley

sharon snyder_2
6/28/2009 10:07:33 PM

I would spend the $1,000 to re-insulate my upstairs with foam insulation. I had the downstairs re-insulated and it's so comfortable now. To explain further, We built our house 13 years ago. We were forced to use bat type insulation by code enforcement. we wrapped the house with tyevac before siding it. we also have 2 ft of blown in insulation in the attic. The house was extremely cold and drafty in the winter. We felt we were freezing in the winter. We knew we had to do something. we didn't have enough money to re-insulate the upstairs so we just re-insulated downstairs. The downstairs is now warm! Sharon Snyder

6/28/2009 3:40:16 PM

I'd do a bunch of little things: 2 more rain barrels: $12 (I make them myself) build my compost heaps: $0 (it's just a matter of getting the pallets) expand the garden: $50 on soil/peat, etc. one large freezer for garden excess: $100 (used) vacuum sealer to store food: $100 build composting toilets: $5 build basement root cellar: $100 That almost leaves me enough to do one "spendy" thing and get that heatpump water heater thing that Mike Fowler mentioned. So, if anyone has a spare $1,000 laying around and wants to donate to a good, green cause, look no further! (As a bonus for your donation, you get a huge bunch of dehydrated herbs, organically grown, right from my garden! Act now!)

mike fowler
6/28/2009 1:43:10 PM

I have had solar water heating before. But the best bang for the buck is a "Heat Pump Hot water Heater". Not only does it heat your water for 1/3 cost(70 cents/day for me), it also dehumidifies and cools my main floor(I duct the exhausted air to in summer). Cost: $699.00 Payback: Less than 2 years Tie this with a "Drain Water Heat recovery unit" and you see tremendous savings on your electric bill. Cost:$700 Payback:7 years If you're hooked-up to city water, another big savings would be the Staber Washing machine. Loads like top washer, works like front loader. Simple, bearings front and back, no fancy eletronics, easy to repair. Saves us(family of 4) 3,000 gal/mo, plus less HW usage. Cost:$1299 Payback: 4yrs

6/27/2009 8:36:53 PM

This 100+ yr old house that i have been working on for the last 11 yrs sure could use about 1,000 dollars to insulate the attic and get a start on walls(needs to be blown in)it would also come in handy for solar panels or some of the many other green things but the insulation would be a begining to an end in saving money on heating in cold months as this house is still drafty after foaming cracks,replacing windows(25)taping cracks but the cold air still comes in through the planking on the floors which have been caulked and mostly refinished This house is like an envelope house as the floor joist go from wall to wall scabbed to stud walls (studs go cellar to attic) very little blocking (just where windows are. That 1,000 would go to insulation.

6/27/2009 6:11:24 PM

I would buy window tint for my Low-E skylights, caulk and seal my windows and dig up my rock/clay to start a garden.

6/27/2009 5:21:56 PM

I'm going spend about that by taking out my open fire with unused back boiler, which because its been turned into a gas feature fire is only about 5% efficient ! I'm intending to replace it with a Double Bell Masonry Stove. When and if I get the job done I'll try to post the results, should anybody be interested. Good Luck to all, you're giving inspiration.

aggie janicot
6/27/2009 12:50:17 PM

I have a 2400 square foot home that has double pane windows that are broken. I would spend money to get them repaired or replaced. Almost all of the summer we go without air conditioning in our home thanks to the large 80+ year old oak trees giving us shade. In winter though, the windows leak some and I'm not happy with them. Our biggest electric bill is about 270.00 for January. Not a horrible amount (I've heard of a lot worse for 2400 square foot), but I'd like it to be better. Aggie

matt tirpak
6/27/2009 12:19:55 PM

Hi, If we were to have $1000.00 it would definitely get used to put a second string on the solar array. We already have a 1400watt system which is capable of a second array of 1400 watts. Our house has been gone over already doing everything possible to make it energy efficient like new windows, blown in insulation, low flow toilets and water strainers, energy efficient lighting, solar attic fans, ect. We want to build an overhang on the back of the house, to not only shade the house from the southern sun in the summer, but mount the other 7 solar panels. This would offset the second half of the electric bill. Granted the panels are almost $1000.00 each, but it would be a start! Thanks, Matt Tirpak

nettie gorin
6/27/2009 9:55:36 AM

If I had the funds to do as I really dreamed to make my home and farm truely green. I would start with building my root celler and cold storage center. Living in Texas's east hill country, we have a problem with oppressive heat and unreliable water tables. So digging out to create the cellar is not an option. My son-in-law sudgested we build a shed and insulate it both inside and outside with 1/2 inch stryafome and then fill in around the shed with soil, to retard rodent and pest we would use sheet metal salvaged from construction sites we had gathered to seal the interior. This shed wouled be constructed using lumber saved when we tore-down an old house for one of our friends. Adding Solar Panals to the roof to help run ehaust fans to help keep it cool and batterie operated lights. This is just one of the many improvements we would love to make for our farm.

bill webster_2
6/27/2009 8:19:36 AM

The money would be best spent on new energy efficient appliances for me. I might add some more batteries to my wind power system, but the appliances would conserve more energy quicker.

nancy hart_1
6/27/2009 8:13:32 AM

I would spend the $1000 to put in a solar roof fan and rain barrels. Fiber cement siding would be nice, but I think that cost a lot more than a $1000.

richard dean
6/26/2009 9:55:52 PM

I would put the money into a Garden by installing a small greenhouse, root cellar, composter, chipper shredder,metal roof and rain barrels. I would also plant fruit trees, shrubs,and grape vines, canning supplies and with monies left over would buy hardware to build tire fence.

6/26/2009 8:16:09 PM

I would invest in Rain barrels and small solar panels

6/26/2009 7:58:46 PM

The $1000 would go a long way toward adding soffit vent extenders to the attic crawl space before adding additional insulation and possibly improved air venting above insulation. Re-caulk the windows and frames and beef-up the sill insulation and seal the crack between the siding, foam insulation and gap between siding and foundation walls. One door frame needs to be replaced to the outside entrance to the house. The 80 gallon hot water heater has served its life and should be replaced with a tankless water heater. Since the house was built over 30 years ago, the heat ducting should be cleaned and joints taped or mastic sealed to aid heat and air conditioning efficiency.

6/26/2009 7:39:43 PM

I have a bit of wind tunnel on the back side of house so I would like to harness some wind power to lower the electricity bill. Also gather rain water for the garden & a green house.

gerald eaton_1
6/26/2009 7:14:01 PM

Being the electrician that I am, I would try to reduce my electrical usage by converting the rest of my compact flourescent lamps to high power LED lamps. I would also try to isolate my lighting circuit to later power with a solar array. That part would be free for me. I would also like to upgrade my 110 volt attic fan to a solar powered one. With any money left over, I would burn up buying soffit vents. These would increase the airflow to my new attic fan. Well, heres what I want to do, how do collect on the $1000? $1000 would just get me started!!!

pat morgan
6/26/2009 6:15:24 PM

We have already insulated, put in new windows and new furnace. We burn scrap wood and dead fall wood and roofed with a a good product. Our electric is great and our well is done with an economic new pump. So I would do my final dream. Buy as many panels to produce electricity or tubes to heat water as the money will buy.

lily peletis
6/26/2009 2:47:39 PM

I would LOVE to do ALOT of green things to my house. However, I have to be realistic. My first priority would be to upgrade my A/C and/or freezer to EnergyStar. These items are probably 20-25 years old. I bet they're big energy hogs. We can't replace them yet just to save a couple bucks a month. But, I have faith that if I keep my eyes and ears open the right opportunity at the right time will present itself.

6/26/2009 2:46:55 PM

I see a lot of comments about greywater. I did a simple greywater recycling project by divering my washing machine water into a 30 gallon trashcan and attaching a hose to the bottom with which i water the yard/garden. We use ecover laundry soap. It's illegal to use greywater here in san diego, but in our current drought situation, do we really have a choice? The cost for my project was under $30. We are fortunate to already have energy efficient windows, live in a moderate climate, have bamboo flooring, and, except for the washer/dryer, have all new appliances. I'd spend the $1000 on a new washer/dryer. Currently, my gas and electric are about $60 a month in our 1500 sf house. would like to reduce that further.

6/26/2009 2:03:56 PM

We would look into a solar powered heating system. Propane is very expensive. Second on our list would be grey water filteration and snd snow and rain capture for garden useage.

6/26/2009 1:29:16 PM

My 1940 cement block home has original windows which need to be replaced. There is no insulation, so an insulative siding might improve energy loss. Installing rain gutters and rain barrels would save water. Some of the do-it-yourself projects like gray-water systems, cold frames, wall-unit passive solar heating, and solar water heating with boxed black hoses could help with water/food/heating costs. The kitchen and bathroom have not been remodeled since the 60's, so energy-efficient appliances and a water-saving toilet would be nice. I would like to do whatever saves the most money/energy first and then tackle the rest in descending order of money/energy savings.

holly jones_4
6/26/2009 1:25:16 PM

A happy choice here in dry Southern California. We'd put that $1000 towards a greywater and/or rainwater capture and filter system. Currently roof rainwater makes mischief and is too soon gone, while greywater collection is still illegal. Meanwhile we import and buy water from places that are running short. It's time to change our municipal codes to reflect the real world!

6/26/2009 12:26:44 PM

It may sound corny, but I dream of this kind of stuff all the time. I dream of going completely off-grid for electricity (so much so that we can sell some back) and being able to cut our water bill by using grey water recycling. I think for us, because we are in South Florida, the most important thing would be energy conversation - our electric bill is through the roof (pun intended!) and we are a one-income family, so it hurts when we pay that each month. Solar panels and a tankless water heater would be a great start. It would take us at least a year to save $1000 to even begin to start a project like this, and everything I've looked into is so bloody expensive. It's a shame that going green has to be so incredibly expen$ive!

6/26/2009 12:00:59 PM

I would definately replace the original 1890's windows in my home. Any money left over would go towards either a hopper wagon to store stove corn or rebuild motor on stand by generator.

6/26/2009 11:28:57 AM

I would build a couple of "grabbers" and add plumbing to them for solar water.

6/26/2009 10:53:40 AM

I would put the money into my Garden by installing a small greenhouse, root cellar, tumbling composter, chipper shredder and rain barrels. I would also plant fruit trees and shrubs.

matthew young
6/26/2009 10:29:07 AM

I would buy a whole house on demand water heater and re-run my water supply lines with PEX. After that I would sell the copper to make some of the money back :)

pat sanders
6/26/2009 10:12:32 AM

I would invest a £1000 on a a grey water system to water my garden.

alan ithaca
6/26/2009 9:20:22 AM

I think I would upgrade our wood burning stove to something smaller and more efficient for our small house. I'd also get new windows, since we have a couple hat allow drafts in the house. If I had any money left over after that, I would buy rain barrels.

steve louis
6/25/2009 12:29:49 PM

If I had $1000 allocated for saving man it would be a Transformer for solar. One that I can add solar panels as I like. Start with two panels and work my way up to whatever it could handle or the power company would let me pump back into the system.

6/24/2009 5:49:44 PM

The first thing I would do with $1000.00 is build a solar powered Evap cooler. This would cool my house and eliminate the need for the A/C all together. With the money left over - I think I'd sit back in my cool house and enjoy a mint Julip or two. :)
6/24/2009 12:46:16 PM

We would like to rebuild our south and east facing wrap around porch to become a passive solar collection space. We also would likely have exterior walls and rafter space re-insulated. As much as we would like to upgrade the windows, we've been told this would not be the best expediture for maximum savings.

6/24/2009 12:35:12 PM

$1000 towards something which would do the most good for me would be spray foam insulating my rafters and sealing my attic. Not only would it help conserve energy, but would silence some of the neighborhood noise.

6/24/2009 10:17:00 AM

I think $1000 would correlate quite well to a partial grey water system piped into a garden irrigation system. Any money left over I would use to build a nice set of cold frames for the garden so I could have leafy greens all winter.

6/23/2009 5:53:39 PM

Originally, I started thinking solar panels, a big greenhouse, or maybe even a rain barrel system to automatically water our chickens, but then I started thinking specifically of my house. We have 6 floor to ceiling windows plus 4 more different shaped windows that are all original to our home, which was built in 1989. While we have a wonderful, beautiful house, 20 year old windows just aren't working any more. We have always wanted to purchase new windows, but it just hasn't been in the budget. We've had to make repairs along the way, like when one of the window panes fell out, we glued it back in, but these windows just aren't doing there job when it comes to keeping the cool air inside in the summer and the warm air inside in the winter. As an experiment, we taped plastic around our windows one winter and were shocked by the bubble that formed from all the outside air blowing in! That's what I would do to green up my home with $1000!

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