Via California - March/April 2020 - 23

5

Go solar. Yes, solar panels

LEFT: HADEL PRODUCTIONS / ISTOCK;
RIGHT: HOLLYHARRY / SHUTTERSTOCK

are a big investment-the
average rooftop system will
initially set you back around
$12,500 after tax credits-
but they're also one of the
greenest moves you can
make. Solar energy accounts
for less than 2 percent of U.S.
electricity generation but
offsets over 70 million metric
tons of carbon dioxide per
year, the equivalent of planting more than 1 billion trees.
Just 1,000 watts of energy
generated from solar panels-

6

the amount it takes to power
a plasma TV for three hours
or run the dishwasher for an
hour-saves 150 pounds of
mined coal, 300 pounds of
carbon emissions, and 105
gallons of water.
Consider these factors:
The price of home solar has
dropped 70 percent over the
last 10 years. Solar panels
increase your home value by
more than 4 percent (and can
help your house sell faster).
Most homeowners break even
within seven years and then
can save more than $20,000
over the next 20. Going solar
really does make sense.

7. Let the sunshine in (or not).
Window treatments are an effective way to conserve energy.
"Thermal insulated curtains are
growing in popularity," says AAA
House Manager's Michelle Galvez.
"Not only do they look nice, but
they help keep homes energy efficient by blocking out the summer
sun and keeping in the warmth."

Kitchen
8. Waste less. Americans throw
away up to 40 percent of the food
they buy. To cut down on your
contribution, try to buy only what
you need, cook only what you'll
eat, and freeze or otherwise preserve as much as possible. Get
in the habit of composting food
scraps, too. If your local waste
management service offers curbside composting, use it; otherwise,
set up a simple home-composting
system and turn those food scraps
into potting soil.
You can also reduce the
amount of food packaging you
toss. Buy minimally packaged
foods, forgo single-use items, and
store bulk items in reusable bags
or sealed jars.

Check your heater. Maintaining your HVAC
system is important if you're aiming for a
greener home. Get a pro to inspect yours
and clean or change filters as needed. (A
membership with AAA House Manager can
come in handy here. Its service technicians
can perform such inspections along with
routine maintenance chores.)

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Via California - March/April 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Via California - March/April 2020

Contents
Via California - March/April 2020 - Cover1
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Via California - March/April 2020 - 1
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Via California - March/April 2020 - 1A
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