Whether you’re renovating your current home or designing a brand new one, incorporating eco-friendly elements is a smart choice. In addition to being better for the environment, green systems and appliances also help you save on energy costs in the long run. Plus, if you decide to sell your home down the line, those eco-friendly features are sure to attract buyers.
Insulate Your Space
If you live in an older home, consider updating the insulation. In older walls, areas near the ceiling can let heat escape if the insulation has compressed over time. Some states even offer free home energy assessments to help you find areas that need more insulation.
Image via Flickr by Red Moon Sanctuary
For a faster fix, check your doors and windows for any drafty spots. You can add thicker curtains or plastic insulation to your windows in colder weather to help keep in the heat. Use a towel along the bottom of any doors to prevent drafts, or install a new rubber seal or threshold to end gaps.
Choose Low-VOC Paint
Paints can contain volatile organic compounds that pollute the atmosphere. This isn’t just bad for the earth – it’s also bad for your health. Today, more homeowners are choosing low-VOC paints that release fewer harmful compounds into the air. That means that you and your family can breathe cleaner, healthier air day after day.
Update Your Appliances
Huge advancements in appliance design have contributed to greener options than were available just a decade ago. Even refrigerators that are just five years old can consume much more energy than those available today. Many of the latest washing machines clean clothes with less water and energy, and the recent focus on washing with cold water also helps to cut water heater use. For the items that get the most use in your home, consider eco-friendlier options. Often, a few changes can add up to significant long-term savings.
Reduce the Water Flow
Low-flow options are one of the easier ways you can cut your expenses and conserve a precious resource. Low-flow toilets often use half the water of older models, and some even feature more than one flush option to cut water use even further. You can also easily update your current showerheads and faucets with low-flow options. It’s a fairly cheap upgrade, but the savings on your water bill are significant.
Harness the Sun’s Energy
Solar heating has become more mainstream for modern homeowners. Part of this is due to the fact that solar panels are now much less of an eyesore than they were several years ago. Solar heating has advanced to the point where homeowners can easily find panels that are low-profile and sleek so that they don’t detract from your home’s curb appeal. Plus, solar energy costs less than just about any other energy source after panel installation. In addition to roof panels, you can also choose to install a solar water tank for even greater energy savings.
Take Control of Your Thermostat
Image via Flickr by Advanced Telemetry
A programmable thermostat takes the headache out of managing the temperature in your home. Better yet, it also helps you save money on heating and cooling costs. Use a programmable thermostat to keep your home at an ideal temperature all day long without ever having to touch a button. They are easy to set up and have a low upfront cost. Best of all, you can make slight changes in temperature throughout the day to save more on energy costs. For the best results, go for 68 degrees or less in winter and 78 degrees or more in summer.
Though making eco-friendly improvements to your home may cost a bit more initially, most homeowners can gain significant savings that more than make up for the upfront expenses. If you’re designing a new home, remember that green features can increase your home’s value while also helping you to save on your long-term energy expenses. Most importantly, making these improvements will help to conserve important resources and protect the environment.