Happy (almost) Earth Day, everyone! What are you doing to help keep our planet happy and ensure it stays green for generations to come? Have you considered making your home a little more eco-friendly to reduce your carbon footprint, sustain our natural resources—and save you money on your monthly bills?
Eco-friendly is becoming the standard now for new-home builders, many of whom are making energy efficiency and the use of sustainable resources a top priority (with homebuyers seeing up to 66% savings as a result!), but what if you already own an older home, or are thinking of buying one? Here are some ways, little and big, you can make your home more energy-efficient, eco-friendly, and green!
1. Start with the Small Stuff
Before you start researching the cost of energy-efficient appliances and insulation, start small with what you’ve already got. Making small lifestyle changes can yield big results! Here are some easy tips you can start doing right now!
- Unplug devices not in use, or plug them into an power strip and turn it off when not in use.
- Turn down the thermostat. Just a few degrees can make a big difference.
- Keep oven and fridge doors closed. Use the light on your oven to check cooking, and know what you want before you open the fridge door to browse!
- Use cold water for washing clothes. This way, you won’t need to use the energy to heat up the water for washing.
- Hang clothes to dry. Save on all that heat energy from drying!
- Use homemade pesticides and cleaners. Vinegar, for example, is a great all-natural, chemical-free cleaner.
- Turn off lights. When you’re not in a room, don’t leave the light on!
2. Replace Your Lightbulbs
All right, now that you’ve made some simple lifestyle changes, it’s time to move on to bigger things. Still small, but changing your light bulbs from incandescent to Compact Fluorescent Lights can save you up to 66%! Installing dimmer switches or occupancy sensor light switches can also help you save energy.
3. Conserve Water
Yes, I do mean turning it off or not using a full-blast pressure when you do have it on (a simple water aerator can help with this). But you can increase your savings even more by fixing your leaky toilets or faucets so water isn’t constantly dripping or running. If you want a larger project (and bigger savings), you might consider water-conserving appliances, including a new water heater, washing machine, or dishwasher, or low-flow showerheads, faucets, or toilets.
4. Choose Sustainable Materials
In the event that you do decide to make some modifications or improvements to your home, always choose sustainable materials when you can. For example, bamboo flooring is more eco-friendly, as bamboo is the fastest-growing plant on the earth and will more easily recoup its losses than a slow-growing tree. You can also choose wood taken from forests that are actively being regrown.
5. Improve Your Insulation
Massive amounts of energy can be lost each season due to poor insulation. So make sure yours is up to standard. Consider dual-pane windows, which provide better insulation and will keep the cold or warm in, and the outside temps and UV rays outside. If you’re looking to upgrade the insulation of your home, choose blown-in insulation, as it is more efficiently packed into all spaces. Choosing cellulose can also increase your fire resistance.
6. Upgrade Your Appliances
Replacing old appliances with new Energy Star appliances can increase your energy-efficiency by up to 40%! Consider replacing kitchen appliances, laundry room appliances, and your water heater. And remember, shiny new appliances do add some value to your home and look good to potential buyers when you’re selling!
Need Some More Home Improvement Ideas?
Whether you’re thinking of buying a home and fixing it up or improving the value of your current home before you list it, I can give you some tips and resources for how to make the most of your small improvement projects! From DIY ideas to recommending local vendors, I’m your go-to resources for all things real estate in Montgomery County. So contact me today and find out more!