Guest article by Charlie Fletcher
More people than ever before are becoming environmentally conscious. Companies are changing how they do business, and many others are thinking about how they can make a change to help the planet thrive. Homeowners may especially be surprised to learn that there are many minor changes and renovations to make around the home for the sake of sustainability.
In addition to improving monthly utility bills, making a home eco-friendly can also improve the resale value. According to Realtor.com, nearly 85% of American homeowners would eventually like to live in an environmentally-friendly house. So by catering to those reported within this statistic, a house may have a higher return on investment for any eco-friendly project installed.
From installing solar panels to replacing windows, homeowners can make plenty of small adjustments year-round that will create a cleaner environment and help lower their utility bills in the process.
There are many home renovations that luckily make a large impact on the Earth with little effort on the homeowner’s part. For instance, many people reduce their water bills simply by replacing toilets and faucets with improved low-flow options that work the same but without waste. Others with more time on their hands may also choose to add new flooring to their homes. Reclaimed wood or bamboo is especially popular since both cause little to no waste or harm to the environment.
Other renovations done to the bathroom may not necessarily improve the sustainability of the bathroom, but there are plenty of smart materials that eliminate the need for unnecessary waste. For instance, recycled plastic, purchase pre-owned decor, and low-volatile organic compound paint are all kinder to the environment, without sacrificing high-quality craftsmanship.
During the excitement of imagining a DIY renovation, take an honest look at the skills and materials needed to determine if professional help is required. Often the time and cost of doing these projects alone will add up over time — not to mention the potential risk of danger. When in doubt, call the professional, so the task will ultimately come out flawless.
Be Smart About Electricity
In addition, utility bills can also be reduced through home renovation projects like replacing incandescent lighting with LEDs, which last longer, use less energy, and are generally less expensive.
Energy-efficient appliances also add another level of savings. Washing machines, dryers, and refrigerators have changed a lot over the years, and they now use less energy than ever before. Older models are especially notorious for wasting energy. The initial cost may be high but will make up for it over time with lower utility bills.
When it comes to energy efficiency or lack thereof, waste is one of the biggest factors to consider. Windows that are not properly sealed allow energy to leak out of the home, especially when it comes to heating and air conditioning. As a result, older homes with excessive leakage should be sealed or have their windows replaced altogether.
Sustainable Changes Outside
When it comes to making a house eco-friendly, it isn’t only what’s inside that counts but the outside as well. For instance, attempting to consistently light an outdoor area with non-efficient light can be a losing battle, but solar-panelled pathway lights can regenerate energy simply by existing outside under the sunlight. These fixtures may also add an ethereal aesthetic to any garden while simultaneously increasing savings.
Be sure to also seek out outdoor furniture with a sustainable background. When in doubt, always seek out gently used products that are sold on marketplaces online or at thrift stores. However, there is also plenty of outdoor furniture made from sustainable materials, such as certified wood and recycled plastics.
For bigger budgets, solar panels are also another option for any outdoor area. While the initial installation could be a couple of thousand dollars, after they are up and running, there will be a big difference in the utility bills. That is because solar panels are considered renewable energy, and they get most of their power from the sun while also storing up energy for a rainy day. These panels also come with a payment program, so homeowners can pay them off monthly to eventually own the panels, which means clean energy for life.
Another idea is to start a composting area. Use this area to place organic materials and food scraps, and as it all breaks down, it generates rich soil that anyone can use for gardening. It also reduces the need for chemical fertilizers and will vastly improve the home’s curb appeal.
There are many sustainable renovations that create a cleaner, more eco-friendly home. Consider these tips and other improvements around the house that can help the planet while simultaneously saving money in the process.
Charlie Fletcher is a freelance writer with a background in sociology, and a specific interest in sustainability practices, and how pollution affects certain groups of people.