As the days go by, it seems like more and more cities are joining the green movement. The latest example is Pine Hills. Similar to other surrounding cities near Orlando, Pine Hills is working towards becoming more environmentally friendly. No longer are they caught up in merely looking at economic gains, but at what social and environmental costs come along with these gains. The concept of balancing social impacts, economic impacts, and environmental impacts is the root of sustainability. Sustainability is becoming an ever-growing buzz word because it epitomizes both efficiency and holistic visioning. Sustainability is the idea of not only looking at the current challenges that a city is facing but also looking at how our actions today influence decisions years down the line. While sustainability is all encompassing, Pine Hills decided to begin honing in on improving their infrastructure.
Often times when people talk about green buildings they are referring to solar panels or other renewable energy sources. Even though Florida has passed tax incentives and rebates to promote this clean energy collection, I am instead referring to household efficiency. One brand that is consistently mentioned in terms of building efficiency is Energy Stars. Their products tend to be pay it forward type items, in that there is an upfront cost that is recouped over time in terms of energy savings. Your utility bills goes down with their energy efficient products and environmental impact is also lessened. If you are interested in continuing to save money through energy efficiency check out the EPA Green Purchasing Guide. If you are happy with your appliances and are looking for other ways to improve your household efficiency, the EPA has further resources for exploring how to improve lighting, heating, and cooling.
When thinking of saving the environment or protecting your utility bills, people often worry about turning off the lights when they leave the room or unplugging your devices when it is fully charged. While these steps are well and good, there are other important ways to reduce your overall energy usage further and reduce your environmental footprint. Something instrumental in all buildings but never gets talked about as much as it should is insulation. It is that invisible stuff between the walls that is essential to regulate the temperature of the house so that it is never too cold or too hot. If you do not have quality insulation, you are forced to have to pay additional money for air conditioning when the hot Florida summers come rolling along. It has been reported by Drawdown that 8.3 gigatons of carbon emissions can be reduced by the year 2050 if people buy into the idea of using more insolation in their homes.
Drawdown mentions that to reach its true potential that everyone in Pine Hills, the state of Florida and across the nation would have to buy into it. Also, the expected installation cost required for such a change would be $3.2 trillion. Before you close this tab or turn off your computer and regard this as a lofty idea, it is important to note that by 2050 there would be a net savings of $2.5 trillion above and beyond the initial investment. Since we plan to live in our homes for years and note months, a homeowner realizes that the considerable investment short term leads to more substantial long term saving along with improved social and environmental impacts. For those people stuck on the economics behind it: to put it simple, you will save money which I believe everyone is in favor of, while it also works to improve local air quality. So if you ever feel overwhelmed by all of the doom and gloom of the environmental scientists or don’t know where to start, just remember that a small change can go a long way. Support Pine Hills sustainability movement, whether that is purchasing Energy Star appliances or installing insulation in your household.