You may be laboring under the mistaken impression that making eco-friendly improvements to your home is going to cost you a lot more than other upgrades. But nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, many green improvements will actually save you money, and they’re no more difficult than their polluting and wasteful counterparts. Plus, with so many people on the real estate market seeking homes that have eco-friendly features, you might just put yourself ahead of the game by making some improvements that take the environment into account. At the very least, you’ll likely save on your utility bills. So here are some easy solutions that you should try if you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint and save a few bucks when you upgrade your home.
- Recycling center. This is one of the easiest ways for the average home to go green. By installing bins to house paper, plastic, aluminum, and glass you can drastically reduce the amount of waste going to the landfill and even make a little extra cash on the side when you haul these items to your city recycling center for drop-off. Best of all, you’ll be doing a good turn for the environment and teaching your kids a valuable lesson about sustainability.
- Lighting.There are a couple of ways to green up your in-home lighting and save money on your energy bill. For one thing, you can utilize natural light as much as possible by opening the curtains to let the sunshine in. If you simply don’t get a lot of light where you are, consider installing a ton of mirrors. When placed strategically, they can bounce the light around your space and give the illusion of large and well-lit rooms. Plus, you can pick up mirrors on the cheap at thrift stores (making another person’s trash your treasure) and spruce them up a bit for your space. Of course, for the times when you need illumination, you should use compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs), which require about 30% less energy than regular bulbs and last up to ten times as long (less waste all around).
- Energy-star appliances. When you’re ready to donate your old appliances, make the switch to energy-star options. They require a lot less electricity to run so that you save on your energy bill and the planet sees less pollution in the process. You should also look into a tankless water heater, which only heats the water you use as you need it, seriously reducing the energy usage required to keep a tank of water hot all day long.
- Water. There are several options to conserve water in your home. You can get low-flow toilets, which use about half the water per flush, aerated faucets, which pump air into your water stream to keep it strong while reducing water usage, and a system that recycles your home water for use on your lawn.
- Landscaping. Drought-resistant native plants are the way to go when it comes to your garden, so don’t hesitate to make your outdoor spaces both beautiful and sustainable.
Unless you’re a policy expert home insurance is probably not going to deliver on any savings for eco-friendly improvements. But you do stand to save a lot on your utility bills by making some of these changes to your home, and you could even increase the resale value and the appeal of your home to many buyers by taking a green approach to your home improvements.