Going green is a gift that keeps on giving … not only do you give yourself the pleasure of contributing to save the earth’s resources, but you also save yourself some money. On some green home improvement projects the returns are immediate; others offer more long term paybacks. Find out what you can do to make your home a little greener.
“Going green” can be applied to many things nowadays, but basically it means adopting a lifestyle and mindset that promotes the conservation of scarce energy resources and the protection of our environment. As a homeowner, you want to think you are helping preserve the environment, but maybe haven’t gotten round to doing it. Here’s something that will motivate you to start! Not only do you save money, you also save energy and help conserve scarce energy resources. And even more than that, you are raising the value of your home and your own comfort levels to a large extent. How does this happen? Let’s take a look.
Going Green Home Improvements that Can Raise the Value of Your Home and Lower Your Energy Bills
Depending on how extensive your green home improvements are, you can expect the payback time to be anywhere from 0 to 15 years. In addition, home buyers are looking for homes that will provide them comfort, aesthetics and energy efficiency. Some say that an energy efficient house can raise the value of your home by as much as 30 percent. The Environmental Protection Agency says Americans are spending 90 percent of their time at home. Therefore such premiums are worth a lot. Here are few green home improvements you can make in your house:
- Multiple-paned gas-filled windows
- Tank-less water heaters
- House fans
- CFL lamps
- LED or solar tubular lighting
- Better home insulation
- Cool roofing
In fact, if the whole country switched to energy efficient lighting in the home, it will save the government $12.5 billion annually, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. The average home’s energy bills would go down by about 7 percent. Switching to the use of Energy Star home appliances when any of your existing appliances are due to be replaced, will be to your advantage. Other improvements include low-flow water faucets, showers and flush tanks. Rainwater harvesting will help reduce your water consumption and water bills. Above and beyond all this, there is the satisfaction and pleasure you get from a home which is more comfortable, healthier and which has better indoor air quality and ventilation. Don’t you think that it’s worth all this and more?
Some ways to go green inexpensively
We all know the basics of going green: recycle, reuse,switch off the lights when leaving the room, and using natural daylight wherever possible. Here are a few additional low-cost ways of making your home eco-friendly.
- Installing a programmable thermostat is a low-cost option well worth it as it can save you up to 15% on your energy.
- You can control excess use of water by using low-flow shower heads which restrict the flow of water but at the same time maintain its pressure. These are reasonably priced and are easy to install yourself. They will help you reduce your water bills, especially if you live in a state where water is scarce and therefore expensive.
- Another very beneficial way of going green is to revamp the insulation in your home with green alternatives. New technologies have resulted in up-cycling of used and worn out items like denim to produce denim insulation for homes.
- Use simple household ingredients like baking soda, lemon, vinegar and soap to make your own cleaning supplies which are non-toxic. Not only are these harmless and effective, they are cheap and readily available whenever you need them. They will help preserve the air quality in your home by keeping it free from toxins.
A more expensive but very practical option
One of the primary ways in which a home loses or gains heat is through its windows and doors. Energy efficient windows, in particular, because of their design and construction keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in winter. They can help reduce your monthly energy bills by about 10 to 15 percent a year, but the high cost of these windows means you have a pretty slow return on your investment. If you have already tried out cheaper alternatives like caulking, weather stripping and installing inexpensive materials like plastic sheeting to improve the efficiency of your old single paned windows and found these to be inadequate, a very sensible decision would be to go in for these efficient windows from an established company like Champion Window. They have an excellent range to choose from and are covered by lifetime warranty. Today, going green has become synonymous with becoming energy-efficient. There is growing evidence that a home that is energy efficient will keep on paying for itself in the long term. Moreover, in when you list your home for sale your home will be more attractive to buyers, than if you had a home which did not possess green features. You may even be in a position to sell at a premium!
About the author:
This article was contributed by Michael Joseph. Michael has a natural flair for interior and exterior home décor. He believes home improvements should not only be aesthetic but sensible and energy-efficient as well. Michael is a freelance writer who has had 12 years of experience as an interior designer.