Green home improvement projects not only help with environmental issues but they can also save you money – never a bad thing, right? If you want to make a home more eco friendly, it doesn’t have to mean major remodeling; there are some surprising simple actions that can have a big impact. Of course, there are some larger tasks too, and the benefits deliver commensurately. Here’s a mix of, some big, some small, green home improvement projects.
1. Replace Your Light Bulbs
This is one of the easiest and cheapest green home improvement projects to reduce the carbon footprint of your house. The usual incandescent light bulbs which are found in the majority of homes use staggeringly high levels of electricity when compared to energy-saving light bulbs. Fluorescent lamps will last much longer than a traditional light bulb (in some cases up to ten times as long) and you can reduce the amount of electricity you are using – throughout the whole house. Think of that loving saving on your utility bills.
2. Install Solar Panels
Although they have a reputation for being expensive and ugly, solar panels are actually fast growing to be one of the trendy ways to make a home greener. There is an initial investment but payback is surprisingly quick. Thanks to the Kyoto Agreement and EU Ordinances where there is a commitment to make homes greener to ease environmental pressures, many countries now have federal and government incentive schemes to help with the cost of solar panel installation in the form of grants, subsidies and tax breaks.
3. Seal Your Windows and Doors
Even when you think that your windows and doors are shut, the chances are that they are leaking quite significant amounts of heat. If you really want to cut down on energy bills, seal the cracks in your windows and doors which allow heat to escape. If you can feel a draught, there is a problem! If they have gone beyond the scope of sealant, consider replacement. Again, some countries have assistance and incentivized window replacement schemes.
4. What Are You Flushing?
This may seem like one of the stranger ways to become greener, but consider it just as much as the others. If you flush anything other than what is supposed to go down a toilet, you are wasting huge amounts of water. Toilet paper and human waste are the only two things which should be flushed down a toilet – anything else, and you are just using your toilet as a very expensive trash can. You can also regulate the amount of water used for flushing. If you don’t have a dual flush, you can fit a water-saver. There are various types available and it's one of the most affordable green home improvement projects.
5. Fit a Tankless Water Heater
Imagine how much energy it takes for a hot water tank to heat up and then maintain the temperature. Every time you use hot water, it has to go to work to bring the temperature back up. Did you know that 35% of your home’s energy consumption is down to keeping those (up to) 100 gallons of water hot? With a tankless hot water heater, you have hot water on demand and massively reduced energy consumption. If you can’t move to a tankless water heater, check the temperature on your existing water heater and turn it down a few degrees.
6. Insulate Your Attic/roof Space
This is another of the green home improvement projects which may be subsidized by your government – in the UK at the moment, every home has to meet a minimum of 6 centimeters of loft insulation and as a commitment to meet EU targets on climate change and carbon emissions, the UK Government is paying for it. Insulation can cost a fair amount of money, but in the end you will notice that you need to use your heating less, due to a reduced amount of escaped heat. You will probably doubt the difference that stopping heat from escaping can make, but the difference can be staggering – if you get insulation done, you will understand!
7. Fit a Programmable Thermostat
Although you can make a home greener and reduce the carbon footprint of your house simply by turning down the heating a degree or two, you can go further by fitting a programmable thermostat. This means you can set specific times for the heating to kick in and turn off and avoid heating your home when you’re not there. It also means you can control your heating other than just using, up, down, on and off. It’s another of the great ways to be more environmentally friendly and save money.
Don’t forget that simple actions like checking for leaky pipes or having a rainwater barrel in the garden are also worthwhile green home improvement projects that will make a difference. Are you green at home?