I have been interested in the City of Austin Green Program for some time. Austin ranks as the country’s
second most green city and is the first to establish a green building program.
Building Green refers to environmentally friendly building as well as building with energy saving features.
Please check out www.austinenergy.com for good information.
The city’s Green Building Program rating system gives one to five stars referring to the levels of energy features.
There are many areas to save money, energy and reduce pollution: upgraded utilities, water-saving toilets, special water energy features, ceiling fans and vents, low-energy windows, fiber-cement siding, special roof radiant barriers, additional insultation, low VOC paints, high quality air filters. The city gives rebates on some energy-saving installations. Recently the city gave away water-saving toilets. And then there is native landscaping. I can give you a list of nurseries that specialize in low maintenance plants.
Please go to Austin Energy Green Building
This site has many recommendations for the single homeowner.
Have your air conditioner and heat system serviced periodically.
Replace appliances, water heater, AC, etc with energy efficient and water-saving models.
Insulate with double pane windows.
Install whole house fan.
Use cross ventilation
If you have the option, position your home so that the afternoon sun shines on walls rather than windows.
Use overhangs around the house to shield from heat
Before replacing/ordering AC, solar screens, attic insulation and other energy-saving improvements- check with the City for rebates.
And remember it gets hot in Austin!