Are you looking to do your part to help the environment? Perhaps joining the movement to create more environmentally friendly homes? What if you could also save money in the process?
As the world puts a more significant focus on green issues, many homeowners want to do their part and make their home more environmentally friendly. However, the idea of doing a home renovation can spark fear in even the most gung-ho DIY enthusiasts. Although it might seem like a daunting task, you can make your home more sustainable without having to start from scratch.
Creating environmentally friendly homes with practical upgrades
As a matter of fact, starting small and updating a few things here and there can make a big difference. Try some of these simple solutions.
What Do You Want to Improve?
The beauty of upgrading your home for energy efficiency is that you don’t have to jump in full tilt all at once; you can start small and take things one step at a time. Think about your bills and what parts of your home need adjustments, then write them down so you have a starting point. If you want a full analysis of what can be improved around your home, then have a professional come out for a home energy audit.
The beauty of these upgrades is that you are helping the environment while saving money. Do you think you are spending too much on electricity each month? Then start small by opting for LED bulbs and replacing air filters when necessary. Want to go bigger? How about installing solar panels? It may take some effort to have them installed, but once they are there, solar panels can produce clean energy, and your home will emit fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
Sometimes, you don’t even need to buy new things to save money. Instead, you can adjust the settings. Did you know that you could save up to 10% on your energy bill by simply adjusting your thermostat by 10 degrees while you are at work? Further, the chances are that your freezer is colder than it needs to be. Save energy costs by keeping your freezer at around 35 degrees, and while you are at it, ensure that your refrigerator doors seal tight when closed.
Energy-Efficient Windows Are Key
The U.S. Department of Energy states that up to 30% of your wasted heat during the winter and wasted cooling during the summer is due to inefficient windows. Not only is this wasting your money, but running your appliances without reason also consumes unneeded energy. Due to these facts, it is a smart idea to opt for more efficient windows. Again, it may seem like a big undertaking to improve or replace your windows, but it can be a manageable task.
You might be able to improve your current windows in lieu of buying new ones. Check for air leaks, especially around the caulk and weatherstripping. Move your hand along the window and if you feel any air coming in, re-caulk or have a professional come in and update your weatherstripping. This will cost less than what it would to replace the windows entirely. Even if you do not feel air coming in, consider adding shades or thick curtains for added insulation.
If you are wasting too much money on heating and air conditioning, then you may need to get new windows. When choosing new windows, look for those with Energy Star labels. Energy Star windows provide better insulating value, and reduce heat transfers into your home during the summer months. Also, find windows that have double-paned glass for increased insulation.
You Might Also Be Wasting Water
We all need water to live and thrive, so it is incredibly important that we use it wisely. Not only is water conservation the right thing to do, but it will also save money on your water bill. There are many easy ways that you can cut down on water waste around your home without breaking the bank.
Bathroom built many years ago? It’s time to update and make improvements. If you have an older shower head, it’s likely expelling more water than you need. Consider a low-flow shower head. You can do the same with your faucets. An older usually uses five to seven gallons of water every time it flushes. However, a low-flow toilet can reduce that to 1.6 gallons.
Elsewhere in the house, Energy Star-rated upgrades for your dishwasher and washing machine. Energy Star-rated use less water while still resulting in clean dishes and clothes.
You can make changes outside as well. We all want vibrant green yards, but it is not necessary to water every day. Watering your lawn two to three days a week will suffice. Of course, aim your sprinkler heads at the grass so you’re not watering the street or sidewalk.
As you can see, making improvements for energy efficiency is not the chore some make it out to be. It may take some money, but the rewards down the road will make up for the effort — and the environment will thank you for it.
About the Writer: Brooke Faulkner is a writer and mom in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. You can check out more of her writing on twitter, @faulknercreek