More modern homeowners are thinking about reducing their carbon footprint than ever before. Green home upgrades make houses more attractive to potential buyers and more cost effective for homeowners with no intention of moving. Some eco-friendly features even qualify the homeowner for a tax rebate.
Want to make your home more eco-friendly? There are lots of ways to do it, from altering your everyday habits to changing the way your home is built.
Here are 9 ideas to help you get started:
How to Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly
1: Install Smart Flow Bathroom Appliances
By changing out your toilet and your shower head, you can save hundreds of gallons of water each year, meaning less strain on water treatment facilities and a lower utility bill.
Low flow shower heads are designed to save water by restricting flow. Depending on your priorities, you can get a mega-efficient model that might mean your showers are a bit less satisfying, or you can find a model that saves water without making you feel like you’re washing under a leaky faucet.
The end result will depend largely on the water pressure in your home, so try a couple of different models to find one that works for you.
High efficiency toilets save water by using less for each flush, and many allow you to choose whether you need a full or partial flush to dispose of your waste. Just like the shower heads, there are multiple models and types available. Find one that you like.
2: Switch To LED Lights
LED lights are brighter and use less energy than traditional lights. There’s a long, scientific explanation for how this happens, but we’re roofing guys, not scientists, so we’ll just tell you that LED lights are more efficient at using their electricity creating light instead of heat.
Switching to LEDs reduces the amount of energy your lights use, and since they last a lot longer than the filament bulbs you’re probably using now, you’ll save money on replacements, too.
3: Choose Household Fabrics With Organic Natural Fibers
Sustainability is a big part of eco friendliness. Choosing products made from renewable materials is more ecologically responsible.
Natural and renewable fibers aren’t the only consideration, though.
Conventionally grown cotton is one of the most chemical-heavy crops grown today. The weed killers, chemical fertilizers and pesticides that are used to increase crop yield have a huge impact on the environment and farmers.
Thus, choosing materials that are renewable and organically grown is the best option for the environmentally conscious consumer. Rather than using conventional cotton or polyester bed sheets, curtains and other household fabrics, opt for bamboo, wool or organic cotton.
4: Insulate Well
Heating and cooling your home takes a lot of energy, and if your house is poorly insulated, you’re wasting a lot of energy and money simply trying to keep up with the climate outside.
Common issues like drafty windows, poorly insulated walls, uninsulated attics and inefficient water heaters can all be addressed with a little extra insulation.
If you’re not in a position to replace your windows, roof and water heater with more energy efficient models, that’s okay. Caulking and weatherstripping windows does a great deal of good in the meantime. Insulating your attic space is a cost effective project, and you can often improve your water heater’s efficiency with a bit of insulation, too.
5: Use Recycled and Sustainable Materials Floor to Ceiling
Your household fabrics aren’t the only way to switch to sustainable.
Everything from your flooring to the backsplash in your kitchen can be made from sustainable or recycled materials. Bamboo flooring, for example, is attractive, durable and sustainable since bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world. Similarly, cork makes for a good looking sustainable floor, though it doesn’t hold up well in high traffic areas.
Recycled wood looks beautiful on walls. Kitchen countertops come in a variety of recycled materials. Your furniture, decor, and even the insulation you use (see recommendation 4) comes in sustainable and recycled models.
Perhaps you don’t need to replace your floors or countertops yet – just keep it in mind for the next time you remodel.
6: Get a Programmable Thermostat
Climate control makes your house safe and comfortable throughout the year. When you’re not at home, though, do you really need to keep your house at a comfortable temperature?
Programmable thermostats make it easy to save energy on heating and cooling without sacrificing comfort. Set your thermostat to adjust automatically, using less energy while you’re gone for the day, then kicking back in to your preferred temperature just before you get home for the night.
7: Upgrade to Energy Efficient Appliances
Whether you’re using them or not, your household appliances consume energy throughout the day.
Energy efficient appliances use less energy during use and while they’re sitting idle, meaning they make your home more eco-friendly while keeping your utility bill more wallet friendly.
Depending on the appliances you have now and how much energy they use, you may recoup your upgrade expense more quickly than you think.
8: Install Solar Panels
Not every home is a good candidate for solar panels, especially in wooded areas or climates with lots of clouds. For homes with lots of sun exposure, though, solar panels may be a clean energy option to make your home more eco-friendly.
In most cases, solar panels are rented out. Renting allows homeowners to benefit from solar energy without the enormous expense of buying and professionally installing panels.
9: Have Skylights Put In
Lighting your home with natural sunlight can be even more efficient than your LEDs.
Skylights are a bit of an undertaking, so it might be best to combine your skylight project with other remodeling or maintenance efforts. Get a professional opinion before setting out, as skylights can affect the structural integrity of your roof.
Allowing more natural light into your home can also boost your mood and make your rooms look bigger.
Just make sure you’re using energy efficient skylights.