Seven Eco-Friendly Home Improvement Ideas
Good for the planet and good for your wallet? Sounds like a win-win to us! Here are seven improvements you can make that will increase your home’s sustainability and may save you money as well.
1.) Sealing and Insulation
Seal air leaks to prevent conditioned air from escaping and outside air from entering your home. Tackle cracks and openings with caulking, weather stripping and foam. View a diagram of the top air sealing trouble spots so you know key places to check. Then, insulate your attic and basement crawl spaces if needed. Simply by sealing and insulating, a typical household will save an average of 15% on heating and cooling costs.
2.) Energy Efficient Windows
Upgrading to energy efficient windows could save an average family in our region over $300 a year in energy costs. On top of that, they can prevent drafts in the winter and keep your house cooler in the summer.
3.) Programmable Thermostat
By using a programmable thermostat and adjusting the temperature while your family sleeps and is away at work and school, you can save on heating and cooling costs. In fact, you can save up to 10% when you modify the temperature 7°-10° from the normal setting for eight hours a day. Even better, get a smart thermostat that connects to Wi-Fi. That way if you’re headed up north for a long weekend and forget to adjust the thermostat before you go, you can control it from your phone so you don’t waste energy and money.
4.) Solar Panels
Installing solar panels on your roof will allow you to create your own clean energy. Investigate tax credits and incentives that can help offset the initial system set-up cost. The amount of energy your home can generate will depend on the type of roof you have, its orientation toward the sun and how much shade you get. You may be able to reduce or eliminate your energy bill. Type your address into this Solar Calculator to estimate how long it will take you to break even and how much money you could save over 25 years.
5.) Low-Flow Toilets
If you have older toilets in your home, you can replace them with newer low-flow ones. Older versions use up to 7 gallons of water per flush. Since the law changed in the 1990s, modern toilets do not use more than 1.6 gallons per flush. You can get a WaterSense labeled toilet for even greater efficiency. These models use as little as 1.28 gallons per flush and can save an average family nearly 13,000 gallons of water and over $100 per year, according to the EPA.
6.) ENERGY STAR Appliances
Look for the ENERGY STAR label when you’re appliance shopping. This EPA symbol indicates that the product is energy efficient. If you need a new washer, dryer, refrigerator or freezer, use it as another opportunity to save on energy costs.
7.) Reclaimed Wood
Reclaimed wood can be used for flooring, paneling, cabinets, countertops, decks and more. It reduces deforestation and keeps the wood out of landfills. Plus, its unique look can add character and a bit of history to your home! Check out these tips on buying reclaimed wood.
Ready to go green with your home updates? Check out our Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) for a flexible way to fund your eco-friendly projects.