Cork flooring is also growing in popularity not just because of its good looks but for its many health benefits. It’s environmentally friendly and sustainable. Cork floors are non- toxic, antimicrobial, and naturally resistant to molds and mildew. It is also green and contributes to LEED credits for LEED certified homes. Cork floors are high style and have great sound absorption along with health benefits- no emissions for indoor air quality.
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.
Baby it’s cold outside. We have experienced record low temperatures across Middle Tennessee this week. Schools are closed. Kroger is out of bread and eggs. My kiddos are doing the snow dance and flushing ice cubes down the toilet every night. SERIOUSLY!!!! I realize that my Northern readers may find the “Snowpocalypse of 2014” laughable but it got me thinking. Our heater has been running like a mad thing just to keep our house at a toasty 70 degrees. I don’t want to THINK about what that energy consumption is costing us. Oh no. I shouldn’t have said that….now I’m thinking about it.
According to the National Department of Energy, “Heating & cooling account for about 56% of the energy used in a typical US home, making it the largest energy expense for most homes.”
Rising heating costs leave you cold? Does your heating bill put a damper on your home budget? Here are 10 ways you can reduce energy consumption without sacrificing warmth and comfort.
- Install a programmable thermostat. Then set it to lower the temperature in the house during the evenings and whenever the house is unoccupied.
- Change your air filters. This will reduce dust build up which restricts the flow of forced air. This also improves indoor air quality by reducing allergens- an added bonus.
- Install foam insulation gaskets behind your electrical outlets and switch plates. This will keep drafts out.
- Keep your attached garage doors closed.
- Let the sun shine in. Open those draperies on South facing windows and benefit from the (FREE) warming rays of the sun. By the same token, close draperies, blinds and shutters in the evenings to retain the heat and keep drafts out.
- Weather strip and caulk your windows and doors. Check for leaks. A 1/8” gap around a door is equivalent to a 6” hole in the side of the house and contributes to a lot of energy loss.
- Have your furnace annually inspected and tuned up by a heating pro.
- Close the flue in your wood burning fireplace when not in use. “An open fireplace damper lets the same amount of heated air escape up the chimney as a wide-open 48-inch window lets out.” –Source ThisOldHouse.com
- Reverse the direction your ceiling fans are spinning which will help bring the heated air (which rises) down into the living space and reduce energy consumption. This is especially important in rooms with vaulted ceilings.
- Close the doors to unused rooms. This will prevent air from circulating as much which reduces heat loss.
These are just a few of the ways you can save on energy consumption and heating costs this winter. Bundle up and stay warm, Nashville!!!
It’s that time again. A year has come and gone and it’s time to start breaking making some NEW Year’s Resolutions. If you’re like me, just hearing the phrase starts a guilty feeling. That let down feeling is no fun. Banish the guilt. Statistics show that of the 46% of people who make New Year’s Resolutions only 8% achieve success at keeping them. Why is that? Could it be that we put too much pressure on ourselves? Do we have unrealistic expectations? All this hype about “New Year- New You” is just a clever marketing slogan. I’m pretty sure in most cases we are the same people the day after New Year’s as we were the day before.
Ghandi said, “We cannot, in a moment, change the habits of a lifetime.”
Instead of trying to do everything and expecting instantaneous change, why not focus on a few achievable goals? The key to success with New Year’s resolutions or developing any new habit is to have a plan and to follow through step by step, day by day. Grace is a vital part of the process. Nobody is perfect so if you miss a day, no worries, just REFOCUS and try again. With consistent effort, you will achieve results.
Here’s a list of the 10 Most Popular New Year’s Resolutions. I thought it would be fun to modify these for our homes.
1) Lose Weight– Declutter your home and simplify your life. Last year, this was my primary focus. Read the post here for ideas on ways to cut the fat from your home.
2) Get Organized– A well organized home runs much smoother than a disorganized home. I’ve written a whole post dedicated to home organization. My motto: “A place for everything and everything in it’s place.”
3) Spend less, save more –Make an extra mortgage payment each year. It will help you pay your home off sooner and will save you thousands in interest. Here’s an example of the savings benefit.
Your Mortgage Loan Total: $300,000
Interest Rate Paid: 5% ($15,000 annually)
Loan Term: 30 years
Monthly Payment Amount: $1,610
If you pay an extra $1,610 a year, you will pay only $230,731 in interest charges and complete your loan payments in 25 years. This trims five years off of your original payment duration had you not paid the one extra payment. You will also save $68,908 in interest charge over the life of the loan. Surely there are a lot of things you can do with almost $70,000 than pay it to a lender.
4) Enjoy life to the fullest– One of the ways I enjoy my home is entertaining. I love nothing so much as sharing a meal with friends or family. Don’t avoid entertaining because your home isn’t “perfect”. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Open the doors of your home and share it. The memories and the moments are priceless.
5) Stay fit and healthy– A 150 lb person burns approx 500 calories in two hours while vacuuming and cleaning the house. A clean house = instant workout.
6) Learn something exciting– Are you part of the DIY Nation? Need inspiration for a DIY project for your home? Browse our DIY board on Pinterest to get started. There are many high style DIY’s that anyone can do. All you need is time.
7) Quit smoking– Indoor air quality has become a buzzword these days. One way to increase the indoor air quality in your home is with the use of a hepa-filter in your vacuum.
8) Help other’s in their dreams–(I tried, really I did.)Make a New habit– Don’t wear shoes in the house. No matter how well you wipe your shoes on the door mat, you track in dirt and grime from outdoors. Dust, dirt and grit are public enemy #1 for a hardwood floor. Remove your shoes as soon as you enter your home. Doing so will not only minimize the risk of damage to your floors, it will also keep them cleaner longer.
9) Fall in love (with your home)– A home makeover can take YEARS off of your space and it doesn’t have to be a complete face-lift. Small changes can make a big impact. Try rearranging furniture. Shop in your home and move pieces from room to room.
10) Spend more time with family– Have a family game night or a family movie night. Whether you have small children, teenagers or are empty nesting, having a dedicated night set aside for time as a family is an intentional way to spend time and bond. You may surprise yourself and discover that you actually LIKE the people you live with.
Here at Textures, we’ve resolved to help Middle Tennessee homeowners achieve their dreams for their homes, one floor and window at a time. We are continually raising the bar and striving to deliver exceptional service and outstanding quality. If you are building a new home or looking to renovate your existing home, please stop by our showroom and find out how we can help.