Regardless whether you use your garage to park your car, as a toolshed and project site, as an oversize clutter closet, or some combination thereof, it probably isn’t the first place you think of when you consider transforming your home into a more energy efficient and environmentally safe place.
But there are actually several ways you can make even your garage greener.
Let There Be Light!
Of course, the easiest and cheapest step to going green in your garage is to simply swap out the existing light bulbs with longer-lasting, energy efficient CFL and LED bulbs.
If your home is older and you have the old hanging fluorescent tubes in your garage, invest in an LED panel or two. There are several options – even a way to retrofit your existing hanging fixture with LED’s that are bright, and use considerably less electricity, and generate less heat.
Most garages are built with one or fewer windows. But by adding a skylight, or a couple extra, energy efficient windows, you can cut down on the electric bill by letting more light into the room. Sure you could just open the garage door, but here in the Gulf Coast of Florida, we know that just leads to lots of mosquitoes and flies buzzing about.
Plus, even if your attached garage isn’t climate controlled (most aren’t), opening the door can pull some of the air from the house to compensate, causing the AC or heating unit to work harder and increase electric costs.
The Freon Freeze Out
Speaking of your AC unit… As of January 1, 2020, Refrigerant R-22, aka, FREON will no longer be produced or imported into the United States. Almost all AC units installed after 2010 don’t use R-22, but if you have an older system, you might want to look into having it replaced.
The average life for an AC unit is 11-12 years, but because we use our systems almost year round here in Florida, it could be shorter. Even if your current system isn’t using Freon, you might want to upgrade to a more efficient system anyways to save some money in the long run. Have a certified technician you trust check your system to see how it’s doing and what your options are.
Fill In the Gaps
Whether or not your garage is connected to the home AC unit, using caulk to seal any openings (like where your phone and cable used to come into the house, adding weatherstripping and threshold seals to the doors, including the big one, can keep the temperature under control and where it belongs. The seals also add an extra layer of protection against a lot of bugs and rodents that might try to squeeze in.
If you notice that the garage door doesn’t quite stand tight against the vinyl side seals, tightening loose screws inside the door can help.
If you’ve already got weatherstripping and seals installed, they need to be checked periodically to make sure they’ve still got the proper flexibility and no cracks.
While the exterior walls on most garages are concrete block and won’t need it, all of the walls that are shared with your home should be properly insulated. Likely this was handled by the builders at the time of construction, but you should do your due diligence and check it yourself.
There are several ways to check for insulation in your walls with a little effort. You should also check your attic, since it covers your whole home, and what the building code requires is less than the recommended amount by the Department of Energy.
When replacing or replenishing insulation, we recommend our Thermal Acoustical Pest Control (TAP) blown insulation. It’s completely green, safe for everyone except certain insects you want to keep out of your home. It’s also fire-retardant, made of recycled newsprint, and more efficient than standard insulation.
A Few Other Tips
- If you’ve got the extra cash, consider replacing your garage door with a triple-layer door to help maintain the temperature in the garage. You can even get one made from recycled goods!
- Even if your community doesn’t offer separate containers for garbage, recycling, and yard waste, you can implement a system yourself, either inside or on the side of your garage.
- Electric and hybrid vehicles are becoming more popular across the United States. If you own one, you can install a charging station in your garage. Lawmakers in Tallahassee are currently looking at funding grants to help encourage low-emission vehicle use.
- If you’re considering building an additional detached garage, look for eco-friendly building material options, including non-Portland cement.
If you would like more information on TAP or any of the other environmentally friendly pest control options Good News Pest Solutions offers to homes and businesses from Bradenton Beach to Port Charlotte, give us a call and one of our knowledgeable technicians would be happy to help!