By Erica Christoffer, Web Producer, REALTOR® Magazine
On April 22, Earth Day celebrates its 40th anniversary of bringing eco-friendly education to the world. And what better segue to start talking with your clients about energy efficiency and sustainable living?
Here are some quick facts that are good for the home, and often for the pocketbook:
Energy Use & ENERGY STAR
- Upgrading single-pane windows to ENERGY STAR windows can save a home owner between $126 and $465 in energy costs per year.
- If just one 60-watt incandescent light bulb were replaced with an ENERGY STAR CFL bulb in every American home, it would save 6 billion kWh per year. That's enough energy to light almost 3 million homes (and save $600 million in annual energy costs for home owners).
- An ENERGY STAR washing machine can help save 6,700 gallons of water per year.
- Remember to turn off power strips and unplug electronics (TVs, computers, printers, and charging devices) because stand-by power can account for as much as 5 to 10 percent of a home’s energy use.
- Americans, with the help of ENERGY STAR, saved enough energy in 2009 alone to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 30 million cars — all while saving nearly $17 billion on their utility bills.
Building with Brick
- The materials in brick – clay and shale – are among the most abundant minerals on Earth. And virtually all brick used for construction in the U.S. is manufactured in the U.S.
- Homes with brick veneer use 2 to 7 percent less energy than those with fiber cement siding.
- Brick has a 100-year lifespan, or longer.
- Clay bricks are recyclable. They can be reused in other structures or broken down to make new brick.
- Every year, nearly 900 million trees are cut down to provide raw materials for American paper and pulp mills.
- In the U.S., about 28 billion bottles and jars are thrown away every year.
- It takes a 15-year-old tree to produce 700 grocery bags.
- Each year, Americans throw away 25 billion Styrofoam cups — 500 years from now, they’ll still be sitting in a landfill.
- The Container Recycling Institute estimates that the 36 billion aluminum cans thrown in the trash and added to landfills last year have a scrap value of more than $600 million. Over the past 20 years, a total of more than $12 billion in aluminum cans have been added to landfills (in today's market).
**Good news! Glossy paper does not contaminate paper recycling – so when you’re finished reading the latest issue of REALTOR® Magazine, be sure to recycle it!
Want to do more? Check out NAR's Green Designation and live Earth Day everyday in your business.