These simple & green home improvements will not only reduce your carbon footprint, but also save you money!
People often think of “going green” as a way to reduce their carbon footprint and minimize their impact on the planet. However, another great reason to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle is that it can often save you money as well! Taking steps to reduce your home’s energy usage, for example, will not only lower fossil fuel emissions, but also reduce your energy bills.
However, in order to make sure you are making the green home improvements improvements that will make the most sense for your particular home, it would be a good idea to start off with an energy audit. Many utility companies will provide these for free. An energy audit will help you understand which aspects of your home are inefficient, and which improvements will have the greatest impact on your energy usage.
The 3 easy and affordable green home improvements below will make your home more sustainable and eco-friendly, and lower your energy bills at the same time.
1.) Upgrade Your Home’s Insulation
Experts agree that approximately 50 percent of the homes in the United States have inadequate insulation. Why is this important? Simply put, a well-insulated home can prevent the transference of heat and help reduce a home’s energy needs.
It may help maintain some warmth during the winter and keep a room or section cooler during the summer. That being said, a thorough insulation job for ceilings, attic, and walls should be effective all year round.
Other energy-guzzling culprits are older windows and doors that have cracks in the frames. By simply filling the cracks, the interior temperature remains more stable. This quick fix is more affordable than replacing entire windows and having to possibly buy new frames.
2.) Water-Saving Improvements
The are various methods a homeowner can use to save on water consumption: tankless water heaters, energy-efficient toilets, water reducing filters throughout the home, and even recycling water from sinks, baths, and showers to water gardens and lawns.
While all the rage in many areas, tankless water heaters do cut water heating bills by up to 30 percent. However, this may not be the best route to go as the sudden surge in power that an energy on demand appliance generates may off-set any savings.
According to the EPA, a family of four saves roughly 20,000 gallons of water on an annual basis by simply replacing standard shower heads and faucet heads to low-flow faucets. Low-flow fixtures guarantee reduced water bills without sacrificing personal hygiene.
Much the same can be said for replacing your standard toilet with a “high-efficiency” water saving model; however, there is an ongoing debate as to the effectiveness of some models to flush down waste with the first rush of water. Many times, a second flush is required, offsetting the initial water savings. Do your homework before committing to one of these options.
3.) Window Replacement or Insulation
Besides providing your home with light, warmth and ventilation, windows have a great effect on your home’s energy efficiency. In fact, they are one of your home’s largest sources of heat loss in the winter. By replacing your old windows with energy-efficient ones, you can significantly reduce energy consumption and lower your energy bills.
If your budget is tight, applying a reflective window film is a more affordable way to reduce energy costs. The film helps block heat gain in the summer by cutting sun glare and allowing rays to bounce off the window, and may help reduce heat loss during the winter. Effectiveness depends on window size, orientation, climate, and insulation.
Many home improvement and hardware stores carry DIY kits to help homeowners make the change without replacing the existing windows.