Green Lancaster header displaying a picture of an Amish buggy, and corn field, horses in a field, cows being milked, and windmills.





Solar Thermal Panels

Geothermal Energy

Home Insulation

Door Stopper


Replacement Storm Windows and Doors


Energy Efficent Appliances

Weatherization Benefits


Going green, for some people, can be a hard transition. But every little change can make a big difference, even in your own home. When it comes to energy efficiency, everyone can turn off a light or replace light bulbs which does a make difference. But did you ever consider the changes in weather? Did you ever consider weatherization?

Within the following, you will learn about different ways that you can be energy efficient through the use of weatherization. Making changes to your home in the long run will benefit you greatly.  It is quite simple to learn different ways to make your home consume less energy and still be comfortable. It doesn’t matter at all if you rent or own your home because the changes that will be discussed are for everyone.

We all consume so much energy annually with the littlest things like leaving electric heaters on, air conditioners running all day in the summer, or leaving fans on all the time. But if our homes could keep more cool air in or heat in the winte,r we wouldn’t have to waste so much energy.


Protecting your home from wind, sunlight, snow rain and any other type of weather condition can help make a difference in your energy consumption with the added bonus of make your home more efficient as a whole.


What is weatherization? Weatherization is protecting your home against different weather elements.

There are some great techniques that are very energy efficient and will save you money in the future. Furthermore, if you make some of these changes to your home, you have the potential to receive a grant from the government. There are also free services available to low income families.  You could speak with your landlord as well because he or she could receive the grant from the government to convert their residence into a sustainable one.  Keep in mind that not everyone owns their home, yet even those who rent can make changes to their home.

In extreme weather conditions like those in winter, we tend to use a lot of fossil fuels heating our homes. While in the summer we use a lot of electricity cooling out homes down.  But either way we use a lot of earth’s resources that we could be saving. We also end up paying a lot of money annually that we could be saving as well.  There are different ways to battle both of issues.

Weatherization can be done in many forms from insulation to storm windows or even solar panels on your roof. But doing just one or two things can make a big different. This can also be good for the environment as well.  There are so many great ways to make changes to your home.  The fact is every change can make a difference and if everyone did one small thing it can lead to big results.

In this section, we will discuss:

  • thermal solar panels - which use sunlight as an energy source
  • geothermal energy - which uses energy from deep within the earth to heat homes
  • storm windows
  • insulation
  • appliances that are used daily like hot water heaters that are energy efficient
  • air conditioners for the hot summer months that are energy efficient

The best part is that a lot of these changes are affordable and easy to do in your very own home. You want to discuss these techniques with an expert because some of the changes require professional assistance. But there are also techniques that can be found by visiting your home-improvement store where you will find a variety of energy efficient items right at your finger tips.



Weatherization is a process in which you home can save money on heating and cooling. As well as, reduce our use of energy year round.  Doing some of the following techniques can help reduce your usage of energy in your home daily. But furthermore it helps the environment. This is a small way of going green. Yet these steps can make big changes and hopefully motivate you to take more green steps to improve the environment.


Solar Thermal Panels

Solar thermal panels are a great way to energy in your home. Through the use of narrow piping the solar energy is used to heat the water. This can very efficient and save electricity annually. Solar thermal panels can be placed on the roof of your home.

solar thermal panel

Solar thermal panels are a great way to help heat your home and heat your water. With the use of flap solar collectors and coils of copper pipes inside of the solar collectors. The solar collectors heat up throughout the day and then move liquid around inside the pipes. This liquid is a non-toxic fluid. This fluid moves down towards the house and heats the water. The water is stored in a huge tank and you can use this water for just about anything you need. In residential homes water is used for various things from washing clothes to take showers. Hot water helps kill germs and keep us all clean.

Solar thermal panels take energy from the sun and the energy is then converted into useable electricity for heating water and homes.

If you install a solar thermal system in your home you are eligible for a rebate. The rebate is given on behalf of the state of Pennsylvania and their Sunshine rebate. The rebate amount all depends wattage, for instance it’s about $2.00/Watt.

Another great thing about solar thermal panels is that they are not just for hot water.  Hydronic solar heating system can also help keep your home warm in the winter seasons.  It works the same way as using solar energy to heat your water; the solar energy and water are used for heating your home. In the winter you may want to add some protection for the solar thermal panels. This way you can maintain your hot water and heat your home in the winter months to come.

Solar thermal panels should be used in conjunction with your regular heating system. Solar thermal panels have a long life span. Usually if taken care of properly can last 10 years and save a lot of money and energy over those years. Solar thermal panels depend a lot on location and weather conditions in your area. Obviously, the more sunlight, the more energy your solar thermal panels can collect. However, every area varies with conditions and seasons.

Although, you might think that you can easily go and install a solar thermal panel system in your home, it is legally not allowed. There are government regulations that require a professional to install this system for you. There are also a few safety reasons as to why you should have a professional install your solar thermal heating system.

Although installing solar thermal panel can be expensive, they are well worth the investment in the long run as long as you own your home. But those who do not may want to speak with their landlord. There are some government grants available to those who choose to go with the solar thermal panel system.


Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy is slowly gaining popularity when it comes to go going green and energy efficiency.  Geothermal energy uses heat from deep within the earth to heating and cooling your homes. This form of energy is reusable and valuable. Furthermore, if you have a geothermal energy system installed in your home you can save between 30% - 60% a month on your energy bill. Geothermal is an amazing way to heat and cool your home.

This is a great way to ensure your home is doing of the things to be energy efficient and help the environment. Geothermal energy can save our fossil fuels. This is a way that we can take advantage and take part in the green movement. It is also something that provides long lasting energy over many years.

There are two types of geothermal energy systems to consider:

  • Closed Loop System
  • Pond Lake System

The closed loop system is considered most cost effective system to use in residential areas. This type of geothermal energy system is great in areas under construction where a lot of land is available for use. The reason for this is because it requires digging deep within the earth to put pipes into the ground. A professional would have to dig into the earth about four feet deep and two feet wide.  There are different ways of installing this type of geothermal energy system because depending on space of the land you have you can either do this horizontally or vertically.

Another type of geothermal energy system is the pond lake system. This requires the use of a somewhat large body of water. This is one of the most affordable ways to go if you have the advantage of living near water. Pipes are planted underground about eight feet deep to prevent them from freezing over; and the pipes run from your home to the body of water. Coils are then placed in the body of water and heated that way. The important thing is to make sure the water meet certain clean criteria.

When deciding on doing this type of geothermal energy system you have to know that the water is a good source of heat exchange. The fluid can then circulate around to be reused again and again. Basically the water returns to the body of water it is originally from and continues as needed. Now although this is a great option for geothermal energy system, you have to have a body of water available to you.

Another great thing about geothermal energy is that it is unlimited. You can never run out of geothermal energy. Geothermal is actually right under your feet everywhere you go. Which is why this is an unlimited energy source.  But all this depends on the area you live in as well.

A geothermal energy system can be costly to install but in the end like solar thermal panels it is worth the cost.  When you’re thinking long term or perhaps the possibilities of home ownership this would be a great energy efficient addition. There are so many advantages to geothermal energy.

There many beneficial facts about geothermal technology. For example, it is one of the cleanest forms of energy. Geothermal energy doesn’t require a lot of land in order to work properly. One big point is that by using geothermal energy sources we can all reduce our use of fossil fuels.  Lastly, geothermal energy does not create any pollution. Plus the system itself is so quiet you may not even know it’s on.

Furthermore, geothermal energy systems are quite durable. The items involved in this system are few and the upkeep is minimal. Also the parts involved in the geothermal energy system are covered or protected from the weather elements; vandalism and can last a long time. If taken care of properly you can get about 20 years of geothermal energy for your home. This can save a lot of energy and cost annually.

The interesting about geothermal energy is that you cannot see it. There isn’t really a big clue to where be the best place to take into the earth. But no matter where you are it should be okay.  A volcano is a great example of geothermal energy.

There are so many different ways to be energy efficient in your home. Geothermal energy is a great way to go if you plan on just doing one great thing. Plus going the geothermal energy system route or even the solar thermal panel route can save you money and it is possible to receive a tax credit.


Home Insulation

Most home already have some type of insulation. But if your home does require some more insulation there are many options available to you at very affordable prices. Insulation can help maintain heat and warmth within the home. This cuts down on heating cost and again reduces use of fossil fuels. Plus, it gives your home a warm toasty feeling in the winter. Home Insulation is very important in any home these days.

Home insulation is very necessary to any home and if your home is more than 15 years old you want to consider improving your home with insulation. 44% of energy used in the home goes towards heating the home itself. Insulation could help to improve that percentage.

Plastic window insulation is a very affordable way to insulate your home.

This can save you a lot on heating cost during the cold winter months. It’s fairly easy to apply plastic insulation to any window in your home. Plastic window insulation is relatively easy to do and take about twenty minutes per window when you become good at insulating your windows.

You can find any type of plastic window insulation kid at any hardware store or home improvement store. They are great investment overall. The main function of the plastic window insulation is that it prevents the indoor heat to get out of the house. But at the same time it also prevents outdoor cold air cold from entering your home.

The plastic is fairly easy to see through so you don’t have to worry about not being able to see out the window itself. It will reduce your heating cost monthly. Mainly, the plastic window insulation kits are quite affordable for renters of houses or apartments and those who are on a tight budget.

But before you put plastic window insulation on your windows you have to make sure your windows are gap and leak free. What I mean is that if you somewhat medium size or large gaps of space where air comes through you want to caulk it with peel off caulking. Then apply the plastic window insulation. By doing some caulking first especially the peel off caulking you can remove it by the time spring comes around again.

Another factor to consider when purchasing your plastic widow insulation kit is how much you will need. You want to measure all your widows ahead of time to determine how many kits you may need. As well as what brand of plastic window insulation you want to use. They are many varieties available on the market today.

The four basic steps for installing plastic window insulation are basically prepping the window:

  • Make sure it is clean, caulked, dry, and ready for installment.
  • Apply double-sided tape to the four corners of the window.
  • Apply the plastic window insulation against the double sided tape.
  • You just cut the access plastic away from the window itself.
  • Use a blow dryer to help shrink the plastic window insulation. Using a blow drying will also make the plastic window insulation become smoother overall.

These steps are more detailed depending on what plastic window insulation kit you decide to purchase.  But these are the overall general step to completing the process of installing plastic window insulation. Obviously are sounds pretty easy and a nice project with fast results. When it comes to weatherization, this is a pretty easy and safe process.

Also a little side note, if you someone who is careful about home projects you want to reuse those plastic window insulations that you installed in the winter. If you are able to remove the plastic window insulation carefully then you might be able to reuse again. Although this may not be always the case; it doesn’t hurt to try. At least this you will be able to save some money.

There is a wide variety of other forms of insulation available everywhere from hardware stores or Wal-Mart. One of the most commonly used forms of insulation is fiber glass. Fiber glass is a form of insulation that you can find in an attic. It is very useful because it helps to control heating and cooling in the home. Fiber glass works by resisting the movement of heat throughout the home. Therefore, it keeps the heat in the home during the cold winter months. Also this is preventing more heat from entering the home in the summer months.  A bonus to fiber glass is that it can block out sounds from one room to another through the walls and ceilings.

There are many places to use fiber glass insulation around your home. One major place is within the walls. Another great place and commonly known area is the attic and of course ceilings as well.

When going to your local hardware or home improvement stores keep in mind that insulation comes in different varieties. For instance there are ratings as to how resistant your fiber glass insulation is. The rating on the package uses an “R” value rating system. If you’re not sure about this, you can ask your employee at your local hardware or improvement home store for assistance.

There are so many different types of insulation for your home which include; fiber glass, mineral wool, foam and many more depending on what you are trying to insulate. These can all be used to make sure your home is more energy efficient all year round.  When choosing insulation product is sure to be aware of safety.

Make sure to do your research about insulation products when it comes to moisture content, R values, and fire safety. It’s better to safe than sorry. Also with some types of insulation you can add new insulation to the old already existing insulation in your home.

Another useful type of insulation is pipe insulation. Pipe insulation is a material that goes around your pipes. This will maintain the pipes are safe and working properly especially in cold weather. This will also help prevent your pipes from freezing over and preventing water from passing through.

One popular type of insulation is spray foam insulation. Spray foam insulation is used to seal up cavities or air passages in walls or ceilings. One of the benefits of this type of insulation is that it can be done in step. It’s easy to use and you find it at any home improvement store at a reasonable price.  The spray foam insulation fills the air passage and restricts cold air from entering your home.

Another benefit about spray foam insulation is that it doesn’t require the purchase of heavy duty equipment. Also it doesn’t require many steps. Spray foam insulation doesn’t sag or shrink in the space it is installed it. Actually spray foam insulation has a very long life.  Spray foam insulation also has a high R value.

Basically spray foam insulation is best for small areas in your home. Spray foam can be used around window jams or around electrical boxes. It all depends on where you want to install spray foam insulation.  

But as far as price goes some fiber glass materials are cheaper than spray foam insulation. . There are obviously many pros to using spray foam insulation. You may need more than one can depending on your home and your goal of sealing areas of your home. Overall, it’s not a bad investment at all and it is energy efficient and saves you some money.

The e best way to take advantage of insulation is to use different types of insulation for different parts of your home this way you can guarantee that your home is capable of maintain heat in the winter and remains cool in the summer.  


Door Stoppers

Door stoppers are actually a neat invention. They are a rubber mater that goes under your door and prevent cold air from entering your home. As well as, restricts heat from exiting the home. This is affordable and you can find always anywhere.

Door stoppers do not scratch wooden floors. Also once you buy a door stopper you can cut it to width of you door. You can use door stoppers on your front and back doors. Door stoppers can also be used on basement doors or other door that lead to outside areas.

door stopper

Door stoppers are somewhat new but are very reliable. They can also prevent insects from getting into your home. Although a door stopper may seem like something unimportant. It can still provide an improvement in the weatherization process. Every little helps when it comes to being energy efficient in this day and age it’s important to think about our environment.



Caulking is another amazing way to seal up cavities in your home. Caulking is a thick substance that seals up cracks and holes in walls around your home. The caulking substance is very useful and can help be slightly more energy efficient.  There are many brands of caulking on the market, but you can go to any home improvement store and selected what best suits you and your home needs.

Caulking is useful because even in the summer it can keep the cool air in from your air conditioner and it doesn’t have to run as much. Caulking is available is tubes and once in the air it turns to solid. Plus caulking can be used outside the home as well. It has many uses when it comes to filling in spaces, gaps, and open little spaces.

Caulking a crack or small space is quite simple. Always make sure you clean the surface before you apply the caulking substance. Remove any old caulking substance that once appeared. Once all the old caulking is removed and   completed then you start caulking a way.  You may not to want to use caulking on your home at least once a year or two.

There different brands and this is always a useful way to make sure all your cracks in your home are sealed up and this can also prevent insects from infesting your home. This can also prevent water from leaking into your home.


Replacement Storm Windows and Doors

Through weatherization techniques there are many ways to maintain the heat in your home. There are also many ways to reduce your use of energy and fossil fuels. Plus there are so many methods to decrease your use of energy.  Why not help the environment and improve your home at the same time? But another great way is to replace your windows and doors with replacement windows and replacement doors.  Particularly, doors and windows that are ENERGY STAR certified.

If you’re looking to improve the look of your home; and hoping to maintain the heat within your home. Replacement windows and doors that are ENERGY STAR certified are used to maintain the comfort of your home. Mainly, the heat within the home can be kept inside but there are many designs and styles that may be available for your home.  But be sure to make sure it is ENERGY STAR certified.



Perhaps when you go to home improvement stores and hardware stores you see blue labels that say “ENERGY STAR” on them. These labels imply that a particular product or service is energy efficient. ENERGY STAR is a joint government run program to promote energy efficient is home nationwide.

This purpose ENERGY STAR is to make the public aware of different ways to promote energy efficiency, reduce use of fossil fuels, and improve the environment.  You will probably see more and more of the ENERGY STAR logo everywhere. They want to make more green products and services available to everyone.  

There are many products available that display this certification on the package the product comes in. for a product to be considered ENERGY STAR certified it must meet strict guidelines and be energy efficient.

It’s important to make an active effort in reduce our use of fossil fuels and becoming greener. ENERGY STAR hopes to not set a trend but maintain a movement through education the public. Furthermore, there are so many products that have the ENERGY STAR certification from replacement windows storms as discussed above to air conditioners or water heaters that have the seal of approval.


Energy Efficient Appliances

When it comes to winter time it’s great to have a water heater for taken hot showers or baths.  But there are many water heaters available that are energy efficient. There are hot water heaters available at your home improvement stores that have the ENERGY STAR certification. They reduce the amount of energy they use to heat the water that is provided for various uses.  Plus you get the most out of your home when you decide to become more energy efficient.


Another great item to consider especially for those hot summer days is an energy efficient air conditioner. During the summer we spend a lot of electricity alone just on our air conditioner. Mainly, in home that use more than one air conditioner at a time. An energy efficient air condition is a great investment for your home. Air condition with the ENERGY STAR seal are more energy efficient than the regular model without the ENERGY STAR seal of approval.  They use less energy and save money are the hot humid summer months.


Weatherization Benefits

There are so many great advantages to weatherization.  The benefits are almost endless and the best part is that technology is forever improving the way we live our lives day to day. Technology has improved the way we use solar energy and the way we even run our cars.  Weatherization alone can improve our quality of life in our own home.

Economically we save money year round. Since we are in a recession it’s nice to make lasting changes to our homes that will give back to us in the long run.  We can also reduce our output of carob dioxide in the environment. Carbon dioxide is taken some of the blame for the changes globally to our environment.

Another great thing about weatherization that it provides job opportunities for many contractors. Since we are in a recession and finding jobs are limited this opens up a way for contractors to work and higher more people for residential projects or business projects. For example there are businesses that are looking to go green and become more energy efficient through some weatherization techniques of their own.

One other and most commonly known benefit of weatherization is that we reduce our use of fossil fuels. We also can limit and reduce are dependency on fossil fuels through energy efficiency. This way those fossil fuels can last longer and allow for us to use other forms of energy in our homes or businesses.

In residential areas energy efficient is very important to helping power plant reduce their emission of pollution. This is great benefit to energy efficiency through weatherization. Because if we can all help to make our air quality better; this would help the environment greatly for generations after us.

Lastly, low income families can be part of the weatherization movement as well. There are great programs all around Pennsylvania that promote weatherization techniques for low income families to ensure their homes are ready for winter. These programs allow everyone to be involved in energy efficiency no matter your income level. As stated above any small change is a step in the right direction.  Anything we can all do to improve our environment is great.



But the best benefit is that if we all make a commitment to energy efficiency in some way or another we can improve the environment for generations to come. There are many ways to improve the environment and become greener. Everyone can make an effort to improve our planet as a whole. We can start right in own home and improve our lives in the process. 

Energy efficiency is not just about weatherization it can be changing a light bulb to an energy efficient light bulb. You can also reduce your use of water every day. You can also reduce your use of fossil fuels by using solar thermal panels or geothermal energy system. It’s your choice as to how you want to improve the environment one step at a time. Also any weatherization technique you do can improve the air quality and reduce pollution especially in residential areas.

When you become more aware of the damage we doing everyday to the environment as a whole. Hopefully you will want to be motivated enough to make changes. We can change the way we use or rely on energy by changing the way we use it.  The more we take step towards preserving our environment the better we will all be in the long term not only financially but also healthy wise. We all deserve fresh air to breath and homes that do not encourage pollution in the air.

In this section we have discussed various ways to be energy efficient through the use of multiple weatherization techniques. From solar thermal panels to geothermal energy systems that do carry a hefty cost. Then there are more affordable options like different types of insulation that you can use around your home. Lastly, it’s all about weatherization and environment.

In the end, it’s a lifestyle choice. You have to want to make these changes for yourself and your home. But mainly, more for your own future. Helping the environment any way possible will make a change. The techniques discussed above are just a few steps you can take in your everyday life to make the environment a better place. Yet there is still more that can be done. The future alone will change how we use energy and water and how we heat our homes.

This site was created by Rosa Mercado at Millersville University of Pennsylvania

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