Ecological-friendly outdoor home and backyard improvements are a growing trend in North Florida due to the terrific benefits for consumers as well as the environment.
One possible home improvement option is solar panels. These simple-construction panes don’t have any moving parts and don’t require fuel. They are a green and renewable way of producing electricity for a home. Try Sunworks Solar or Dragonfly Solar in Jacksonville, FL for solar panels and other products.
For lighting the outside of a house use outdoor compact fluorescent bulbs, which consume less energy and have a longer life span than other bulbs. Another option is eco-friendly LED lights. They last 2 times longer than standard fluorescent and do not have mercury in them. Solar lamps and dark sky lamps are another decorative option as well. Take advantage of energy saving motion sensors for outdoor lights. Leaving porch lights on all night can eat up a lot of wattage, cut back by installing motion sensor lights that only come on when they need to.
Backyard patio furniture and outdoor kitchen set ups can be environmentally friendly when constructed of sustainable, renewable material such as bamboo, cedar and teak. These are also great materials, as well as recycled PVC, for building arbors and trellises. When painting or sealing furniture for outdoor use, be sure to use non-toxic, ecological-friendly products like Environmental Building Supplies natural paints and stains to preserve the furniture piece and the ecosystem.
Building a “green” deck is also a wonderful outdoor home improvement that is a growing trend with Northeast Florida residents. There have been a number of advancements in eco-friendly building materials such as recycled plastic lumber that can be used to build a beautiful deck. Recycled plastic lumber is about as perfect a material as it gets. It does not need to be sealed, stained or weather proofed, it involves very little maintenance and does not rot. Using this material is helpful to landfills too because recycled plastic lumber is made of postconsumer plastics such as grocery bags.
For pavement/cement outdoor home improvements, use eco-friendly brick pavers. Recycled-brick Brick Pavers help to drain water into the ground and not into streams or rivers, which helps improve water quality. Similarly are permeable paving stones, which look like concrete, but are porous to help with water drainage and won’t trap heat. Gravel is as “green” as pavement related materials can get and is cost effective both initially and to maintain. Try Moderna Pavers of Jacksonville Beach for eco-friendly paving and concrete solutions like permeable pavers.
Backyard swimming pools offer First Coast swimmers environmentally friendly options as well. Simply using a reflective cover can cut down on evaporation rates causing pool owners to replenish the water less often. There are water-saving filters, such as Pentair Quad DE Filters, that use a system of smaller pumps to reduce electricity consumption and reusable cartridges to cut down on backwash water usage. The biggest green pool trend is saltwater pools. They are helpful to both bathers and Mother Nature due to its low chlorine content (however, these pools are not chlorine free). The lower amount of chemicals help the environment as well as reduce the “stinging eye” or “burning” feeling some swimmers report after being in a high chlorine pool. There are companies that install the special filters needed for saltwater pools as well as offer “green” cleaning services. In South Florida try Bay Area Pool Service.
To encourage eco-friendly outdoor home improvement upgrades the Florida government offers a variety of incentives. One is the ‘Solar Rebate Program,’ which states that residents who purchase
and install solar energy systems are qualified to receive a rebate for a part of the cost. The ‘Renewable Energy Equipment Sales Tax Exemption’ offers a sales tax refund of machines and equipment for
renewable energy technologies such as hydrogen-powered vehicles. ‘Clay Electric Cooperative, Inc - Energy Conservation Loans’ are low interest loans offered to customers in order to assist in financing energy efficiency upgrades for houses.