Home owners that practice green habits such as using eco-friendly light bulbs and planting drought-tolerant gardens will keep a little more green in their bank accounts when it’s time to pay those utility bills.
In many states, such as South Carolina, the home construction industry is learning that potential home buyers want eco-friendly upgrades even if it means paying a bit extra. That’s a good thing since South Carolina’s online journal “The State” reports new building codes that will ensure new homes are more energy efficient than ever before.
You don’t have to live in South Carolina to make your home eco-friendly. Here are five tips I use that can help you make your home and pocket greener.
The Right Window Coverings
The right window coverings help keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Window treatments made from natural material, such as bamboo, organic cotton or hemp can offer you an eco-friendly, modern style. Consider a site like Blinds.com blinds for unique, contemporary and simple styles that provide you with privacy and light control. I always try to avoid plastic materials that can lower indoor air quality. If you have to have plastic blinds, I prefer ones made from PVC-free material. Polyvinyl Chloride, commonly known as PVC, can cause health problems and infect the environment if not properly disposed of!
Low Emissivity Glass
Sometimes even the highest-quality window coverings won't keep out the chill, and that means it's time to replace those old single-pane windows. Window replacement is one of the most expensive projects a homeowner can undertake — I know — but it also has one of the greatest rewards. Look for double or triple pane windows with warm edge spacers, low emissivity glass or windows with a layer of argon gas sandwiched between the double panes. High quality windows like these can save up to 15 percent off the top of your utility bill, according to Real Estate Closure.
Saving Water With Low-Flow Show Heads
Save water by updating all your home’s fixtures to energy efficient models. This gives you a chance to redecorate and update old models, too! Low-flow shower heads, toilets and faucets conveniently reduce water use with no daily efforts on your part. The EPA estimates that the U.S. could save 74 billion gallons of water each year if just one in every 10 homes switched to fixtures with the EPA-approved WaterSense label. Be the one!
Setting the Right Temperatures
Everyone knows they should limit use of their air conditioner and furnace to save energy — so get in the habit of setting the cooler to 78 in the summer and the heater to 68 in the winter. Replacing filters and attending to regular maintenance will also help you save. The life of an air conditioner is 12 to 15 years. How long has it been since you got a new one? If you’re running a system that’s seen better days, you’re not only wasting energy and money, you may be creating poor air conditions inside your home.
Don’t miss the point. Gutting a completely functional kitchen to build a trendy green masterpiece actually goes against the tenets of eco-friendly construction. Do upgrade energy-sucking appliances with energy efficient ones. Do replace damaged or non-functional surfaces with sustainable, non-toxic products like wood, concrete, environmentally safe paint, recycled tile, or PVC-free linoleum and carpet made from recycled water bottles. Don't lose sight of your goal!
Going green is the right thing for the environment; it saves you money and adds value to your home. But the thought of a major, expensive remodel is daunting for most homeowners; I completely understand. Start your “greenovation” by taking steps that make sense; if the water heater needs replacing, replace it with an Energy Star appliance. Use the money you save on utility bills to purchase an energy-efficient refrigerator or water-saving drip irrigation system for the garden. Small savings will add up quickly, allowing you to make bigger and better changes all through the house.
Author: Nicholas Gibson: Nick is a blogger and social media expert who is passionate about recycling and sustainable living. He reduces his carbon footprint by biking to work and shopping at consignment shops.