If you’ve been contemplating making updates on your home, now is the perfect time to take the step towards a brighter future with some environmentally friendly upgrades. The typical U.S. household spends an average of $2,060/year on their utility bills, according to EnergyStar.gov. By making a few energy efficient home improvements, you can lower your monthly costs on utilities while also adding value to your home. Follow one or more of our eco-friendly home updates and experience the difference.
Install Attic Insulation
A big culprit for wasting interior cooling or heating is lack of insulation in the attic. The Department of Energy estimates that a properly insulated attic can shave 10 to 50 percent off your heating bill. It also keeps the house cooler during summer months. Homeowners wanting to add insulation can choose between spray foam, cellulose, loose-fill fiberglass, fiberglass batts, or ethically sourced insulation such as hemp insulation, which is much more sustainable and effective than its competitors.
Fill in Cracks Around Windows and Doors
Heated or cooled air can escape through any cracks around windows and doors, so it’s important to fill them in. Expanding foam or high-quality caulk can effectively squeeze in the cracks and seal them up while still being flexible. This is one of the quickest and easiest ways to ensure you aren’t letting out the A/C or heat. It helps save you money and keeps energy usage much lower!
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
One of the best things first time or seasoned homeowners can do for the environment is reuse and recycle materials, and that includes home goods. Finding gently used items for your home, from lighting to cabinetry to flooring to nearly anything else, could greatly reduce unnecessary waste in landfills. There are many places to find materials that have been lightly used or nearly brand new, including Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore and reclaimed wood stores.
Use Ethically Sourced Materials
Along with scouting for beautiful recycled goods, it’s important to make sure anything you end up buying new is ethically sourced. Materials such as doors, garage, countertops, etc, can all be found in eco-friendly versions. Eco-friendly, ethical materials include bamboo, cob, recycled steel, AshCrete, bark, and composite. There are recycled versions of wood, plastic, rubber, and paper that provide just as effective results while reducing waste from the planet.
Conserve Faucet Water
Be mindful of your water use by adding in a low flow showerhead or aerator. One of these devices will slow down the flow of the shower or faucet to around 1.5 gallons per minute. An aerator infuses air to the water stream to reduce the amount of water used, but it does so without compromising the comfort of the shower. Most aerator users can’t even tell a difference when using one! It’s a win-win for you and the planet. Plus, using less water and energy means saving money on utilities.
High Efficiency Heaters
When the winter rolls around and temperatures drop, our thermostats tend to rise. There are more eco-friendly and cost efficient ways to get toasty in the cold, and that is with solar heaters and electric fireplaces. Solar heaters use the power of the sun rather than natural gas or propane to warm up your toes. An electric fireplace can heat up a room much faster and better than a real fireplace, since the warmth is dispensed directly into the room and is not lost through the chimney or vent.
Solar Power Energy
For those who live in moderate to overly sunny places, you could be saving thousands in the long run by switching to solar panel energy. The initial costs can be pricey, but the bills will surely be reduced and you could even potentially sell your excess power to the grid. Besides the cost benefits, using solar energy is an incredible benefit to the planet. Solar power is a fantastic renewable energy source that greatly reduces carbon emissions. These eco-friendly home updates are worth the praise.
Reduce Hot Water Waste
The power it takes to heat up your home’s water can be immense. Make the environmentally friendly switch to a tankless water heater to get rid of the issues surrounding that huge tank. A tank heater has to constantly work to stay hot and is at risk for leaks which could cost you a mini fortune. An easy and effective tip to keep your water from needed extra energy to heat up is by wrapping your pipes so no heat is lost during its journey to your sink or shower.
Add a Garden or Curb Appeal
It’s never a bad idea to add a little green to your home. Adding a home garden to the backyard can attract beneficial wildlife such as pollenating bees. It can also produce delicious fruit, vegetables, or colorful flowers for you to enjoy. There are more low effort ways to spruce up your curb appeal, including planting a few low maintenance shrubs and flowers to your front yard. This can add a positive change to your environment while also looking more appealing.
Maximize Natural Light
During less hot days of the year, opening the blinds and curtains to let in the natural light of the sun is a much better and cheaper option than using artificial overhead lights. Pull back those curtains and open those blinds! In a room where there isn’t sufficient natural light, consider installing a new window. The money and energy you’ll save by using natural light is tremendous. A home feels instantly more inviting and productive with more light, especially in a kitchen or home office.
To find more of our eco-friendly home updates, check out our outdoor space DIYs!