The Best Ways to Green Your Garage
There are all sorts of ways to green up your home, but did you ever consider greening your garage? Even a single car garage represents a sizeable percentage of your home’s footprint, so implementing a sustainability program for your garage can significantly lower your environmental footprint. It may even save you money!
Here is a roundup of ideas for turning your garage into the greenest room in your home:
Air-seal and Insulate
If your garage is attached to your home, it is part of your building envelope — the outside shell of your house. Keeping your building envelope airtight and well insulated is one of the most basic things you need to do to make your home energy efficient.
Even if you have a detached garage, properly air-sealing and insulating it will help moderate the interior temperature. You may be surprised how much better your car starts on cold mornings in the shelter of a well-insulated garage. It will also make your car much cooler and more pleasant to enter in the summer months. And, if you choose to heat and cool your detached garage, you will save money if it is insulated.
Whatever kind of garage you have, one of the best ways to improve its energy efficiency is to invest in an insulated garage door with high-quality weatherstripping.
Protect your Air Quality
Air-sealing and insulating your garage must be done very carefully so carbon monoxide and other harmful gases from your car’s tailpipe don’t build up in your living area. You may need to install a solar roof fan or other ventilation unit in your garage. A home performance professional can help you assess your garage’s energy profile and advise you on best practices for garage ventilation.
Fumes from volatile household chemicals stored in your garage may also be hazardous to your health. Take an inventory of any chemicals stored there. Make sure any that you keep are properly labeled, and keep them out of reach of young children. Dispose of the rest properly, in accordance with household hazardous waste regulations.
Update your Lighting and Appliances
It seems that nearly every garage has an old refrigerator humming away in the corner. Does yours? If so, consider replacing it. That old pre-1993 fridge is probably costing you over $100 per year more to run than a newer, Energy Star-approved model. Or, ditch the thing altogether. It’s usually easy to find a scrap metal dealer who will recycle your fridge. Be sure to select a recycler who will dispose of the old fridge properly.
Lighting is another energy sink in your garage. Replace old incandescent bulbs with LEDs, and reduce your garage lighting costs by 75 percent. You’ll have to change them 20 times less often, too!
Use your Space Efficiently
How much useless stuff do you have kicking around in your garage? Why not gift yourself with some extra space by selling or donating it? Your unwanted stuff is much better off either properly recycled or finding a second life with someone who will actually use it. And of course, it will be a relief to know that any trash in your garage is recycled or properly disposed of.
Getting rid of all that stuff can make room for things you do use, or should use — like your bicycle! You may find that when your bicycle is easier to reach and put away, you spend far less time in your car — which will help reduce your spending on gasoline and your carbon footprint.
Turn your Garage into a Recycling Center
Another great way to use garage space is to set up a household recycling center. Set up shelving with separate boxes for all types of materials that can be recycled. Search Earth 911’s recycling services directory to find out what can be recycled in your area. You may be surprised how much more you can recycle than just the items accepted by your curbside recycling program. Be sure to label your recycling boxes clearly so that your recycling center is easy for your family to use.
As you can see, greening your garage doesn’t have to be costly or time-consuming. You can implement these suggestions one at a time, and then use your imagination to come up with other ways to turn your garage into the greenest one on the block!
Justin White currently serves as Marketing Director for Garage Door Repair, LLC, which proudly serves the greater Washington DC area, as well as Maryland, Virginia, Florida, Pennsylvania and more with repair, installation and maintenance plans. Learn more about GDR by visiting: garagedoorrepair.com