Recommended Green Apps: Rating your Home’s Energy Efficiency

Eco Easy Home is an app that is a guide to rate your homes energy and eco-efficiency. It is intended for people who are buying a new home and want to assess its eco-efficiency and/or your current home to do some green home improvements. The app uses a scoring system of a variety of factors to rate a home in terms of its energy efficiency and sustainable design.  The rating system has a series of questions and based on those answers a score is assessed.

One of the cool features is house orientation which determines how much sun or natural heating you have.  This then let’s users calculate the solar gain of a particular property. The app is pretty user friendly and easy to navigate around. If you are looking for an inexpensive way to do a quick energy audit, this app might be a good option. Right now it is only available for the iphone for $4.49.

LED Lights: The Good and the Bad

More and more companies (as well as homes) are converting lights to the LED bulb (LED stands for Light Emitting Diode) for their benefits. These light bulbs offer similar light with substantially less power, saving between 50-90% of

lighting energy costs. LED’s are extremely durable and require very little maintenance once installed. Although expensive, they also last a very long time

up to 12-25 years depending on use and therefore are considered more cost-effective over the full life cycle of an LED. LED’s have also been touted as superior to CFL’s because they last longer, are more efficient and don’t contain mercury. If a CFL breaks and the mercury is exposed it is considered a hazardous waste issue.

However, LED’s aren’t all good and have waste challenges. They do contain lead, arsenic and a few other s

ubstances known to be dangerous. They are not a health hazard in a home or office encased, but if they do break it is important to treat them like hazardous waste. Currently LED’s can be disposed of in regular landfills and are not considered hazardous waste legally. However, because of the toxic contents it is strongly recommended when disposing of LED’s to treat them similar to hazardous waste. (To learn more visit E-magazine article, Dark Side of LED Light bulbs)

For more information on LED lighting visit these websites;

  • LED Lighting Facts: A program of the U.S. Department of Energy that provides information on LED products and performance rating.
  • LED’s Magazine: A magazine dedicated to LED lighting information.
  • LED Journal: Provides an online resource guide, a buyer’s guide, industry directory and other resources on LED lighting.
  • Energy Efficient Lighting: LED reference information provided by EarthEasy, a green product online retailer, which provides basic information for the consumer including an overview of benefits, terminology, and how to choose an LED.

Energy Efficiency Tax Incentives

Have you gotten your energy efficiency tax credit this year? The residential energy efficiency tax credit expired at the end of 2011 and so if you did do any residential energy efficiency home improvements (i.e. installed Energy Star Appliances)  make sure you take the credit for 2011. You need to file the IRS form 5695 with your taxes. The renewable energy credit lasts through the year 2016. There are also state and local tax incentives with renewable energy.

Here are some resources that provide more detailed information on the tax incentives and rebates available with energy efficiency;