Due to heavy usage of gas, electricity, water and waste disposal, the housing sector is often the largest portion of an individual’s carbon footprint. Marcus Hiles, Chairman and CEO of Western Rim Property Services, recently discussed the many steps his corporation takes in order to provide environmentally friendly and energy-efficient residences, and what occupants can do to further assist at home.
For the average US citizen, heating and cooling accounts for almost 50% of carbon emissions. To reduce these, each Western Rim property utilizes three primary strategies: effective insulation, Energy Star rated systems, and programmable thermostats with advanced options to set different temperatures for certain rooms. Additional weather stripping and the caulking of draughts will offer increased protection from the elements, and increase a house’s ability to maintain a steady climate. Using the thermostat to segment rooms into warmer or cooler zones and decrease usage when away will optimize energy savings.
Coal and natural gas, both carbon intensive fuel sources, provide over 60% of the electricity available worldwide. Nuclear, hydro, wind and solar provide cleaner power, but the process of acquiring them is too costly for the average American. Instead, Marcus Hiles suggests smart and limited use of lights, refrigeration, entertainment and cleaning appliances. Simply switching from old, incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescent lights can reduce up to 80% of the energy required to operate them, and new light emitting diodes (LED) perform even better. Fridges and freezers can be made more efficient by not setting them too cold, insuring they are properly sealed, are well defrosted, and located in the coolest area possible. Televisions, computers, phones and other technology should be turned off and unplugged when not in use, as even their standby consumption can be significant. Laundry machines and dishwashers often have very high wattage, and their necessity makes it difficult to limit their use. However, reductions can be made by selecting the coldest temperature possible, and by only washing full loads.
Water, and especially heated water, is a significant source of emissions in most first-world countries, with over ten gallons used per person per day. Taking shorter, cooler showers, fewer baths, and turning off the faucet when brushing or shaving are a few simple conservation techniques. By installing low flow showerheads and toilets, a serious impact can be made.
Marcus D. Hiles is a renowned Texas real estate investor and developer. Over the course of three decades, Hiles has utilized his ability to anticipate market trends to carefully select real estate parcels and build stunning developments that include private lakes, large parks, vineyards, and access to championship golf courses. A graduate of Pepperdine and Rice universities, he is deeply committed to education and has donated over $2.5 million to public and private K-12 initiatives, after school programs, and university career services. In other philanthropic efforts, Hiles has worked to alleviate hardships for economically disadvantaged women and children and completely funded the construction of two large churches in Texas and Massachusetts.