Have you considered the number of natural resources you use to run your home and are you committed to reducing it? If so, you’re not alone. Millions of homeowners are taking steps to decrease their carbon footprint and maintain a greener existence.
In addition to helping the Earth, an eco-friendly home can keep money in your pocket, too! Less energy use means lower electric bills. Do your wallet and the environment a big favor by tackling these five eco-friendly home improvements.
Renovate Your Windows
Windows are a natural source for heat and light. Install larger, more energy-efficient windows. Pay a bit more to get thicker ones because they provide greater insulation, and hire a professional to install them. Pros know how to take care of any draft-causing cracks that can suck out energy 24/7. Yes, replacing every window in your home can seem like a costly investment. However, quality windows are one of the biggest home-improvement moves homeowners can take to decrease wasted energy, help the environment, and save money in the long run.
Update Your Lighting
You might be wasting energy every time you turn on a light. Lighting your home can account for a whopping 20% of your total energy bill. Start by replacing all lightbulbs with high-efficiency, energy-saving LED and CFL bulbs. These bulbs offer two distinct advantages for the environment. First, they use less energy than traditional bulbs. Second, they last several times longer, so fewer of them end up clogging landfills. Changing to these bulbs can help your household use 80% less energy than standard bulbs.
When updating your lighting, don’t forget the outside of your house. Use solar lighting where you can instead of electric lighting. Lighting steps, porches, and pathways can all be fueled by the sun, with almost zero impact on the environment.
Maximize Air Flow
A statistic that should keep most homeowners up at night is that at least 20% of a home’s heating and cooling energy escapes through air flow leaks. Yikes! Not only is this completely wasted energy, you are paying for all of it. Take an afternoon to detect all the leaks in your home. It’s easy. Simply turn on all the fans in your home and start at the front door. Hold a stick of lit incense and slowly wave it around the edges of the front door, then move on to the windows. If the incense’s smoke blows out into the house or is sucked out of the house, you have just found a leak.
Don’t forget to test your attic and basements for leaks in addition to the main living areas. Once you’ve identified all your home’s leaks, either caulk them or apply new weather stripping.
Use Less Water for Your Lawn and Garden
Most homeowners waste water on their yards and gardens. While they do need to be watered, steps can be taken to avoid waste. Plants that are native to your area can survive mostly on rain. Instead of pots, plant flowers in the ground, as they typically require less-frequent watering. Purchase a rain barrel for an eco-friendly way to recycle water, and pull from this when you need to water your lawn. You will be surprised at how many gallons of water you can save with these simple adjustments.
Purchase Energy Star Appliances
Refrigerators, dishwashers, washers, and dryers consume resources like a birthday boy eats cake! Large appliances are a big investment of cash, so you may not want to run out and replace them all at once. As yours get old, purchase new ones that are more eco-friendly and energy-efficient. Choose the ones that have an Energy Star logo, which helps you save energy and money.
Until you can purchase new appliances, reduce your energy use by minimizing the amount of laundry and dishes you wash. Hang some of your clothing to dry instead of drying them all in the electric dryer. And only run the dishwasher when it’s full.
Even small actions create a big impact on the environment. Going green in your home is a smart way to reduce your carbon footprint and create a more eco-friendly life.