We are all much more aware today of the increasingly pressing need to address the climate crisis involving our planet. As a result, there are lots of people who are now looking for ways to live a more ecologically friendly life and how they can minimize their impact on the environment. There is no shortage of things that can be done to reduce your carbon footprint and your energy bills while also leading a more sustainable lifestyle.
If you are still unsure about whether it is worth investing money in making your home more eco-friendly, then this article should convince you otherwise. Going green is easier than you might think, and can bring with it a number of unexpected benefits. If you want to save yourself some money while also setting a great example for your kids with regards to environmental attitudes, here’s what you need to know about creating a more eco-friendly home.
What Are the Benefits of an Eco-Friendly Home?
There are lots of advantages to homeowners who make an effort to reduce their carbon footprint and improve the green credentials of their property. Even seemingly small and insignificant changes can have some impressive and far-reaching benefits. If you have been on the fence about going green for a while but haven’t yet found a good enough excuse to tip you over the edge and make you invest, here are some of the primary reasons that it is worth the time and money required to make your property greener.
Of course, helping the environment is generally seen as a positive thing and something that we should all be trying to do more of. But this is just one aspect of the benefits that going green can bring to you and your home. Other benefits include a lowering of your bills and more room in your family budget. Let’s take a look at some of those benefits in more detail.
Energy prices always seem to be going up, often much faster than the rate at which our wages and earnings are going up. As a result, energy bills continue to eat up a larger and larger portion of a household’s disposable income. Anything that you can do to enable you to be more efficient in your usage of energy and utilities will save you money in the long-run.
Globally, many people are facing serious strife and social upheaval because of difficulties in accessing clean drinking water. There are also problems with a relatively small number of organizations and countries using a disproportionate amount of the available water, leaving very little for poorer communities with restricted access. We should all be more alarmed by the scale of this problem and the damage that it has caused.
Improving water efficiency in your home is a great way of doing something that will have a tangible positive impact on the world, while also reducing your energy usage and keeping your household bills as low as possible.
An eco-friendly home is one that is much more in harmony with its local surroundings. The goal of any ecologically-minded home build is sustainability. Sustainability is the key to ensuring that any new home can last as long as possible and have a minimal impact on the surrounding landscape. By extending the lifespan of your property and reducing the rate at which you need to undertake any serious maintenance, you can save yourself even more money.
If you aren’t the best when it comes to DIY projects, every time you plug in a new power tool or try to undertake even a seemingly simple task, you are opening the door to the possibility of your home being damaged and the situation becoming much, much worse. If you botch your repair job, then that can end up leading to its own set of problems with regards to keeping your home well-maintained. A bad repair job can mean that the structural integrity of your home is compromised and it can necessitate much more involved works.
By approaching your home maintenance with an eco-friendly philosophy, you will find it much easier to identify and implement sustainable solutions when your home requires repairs. These can also present you with further opportunities to insulate your home and further improve its green credentials.
A Healthier Environment
Creating a cleaner environment inside your home will lead to better health outcomes for you and anyone else who lives with you. There are a surprising number of unhealthy chemicals and other substances in many common household products and materials that lots of people don’t realize just how much they are being exposed to.
One of the biggest benefits of switching to ecologically friendly materials is that they are generally free from all of these harmful substances and will therefore not bring them into your home. This makes them much more suited to building family homes with, especially those with young children who you do not want to be exposed to unnecessary levels of harmful substances.
By reducing your carbon footprint, you will be doing your bit to protect the environment and to save the planet. If you have young children, then your own efforts in this area can serve as excellent teaching tools and can even inspire them to take up the mantle when they are adults.
Finally, there is a growing demand among consumers for more environmentally friendly products and services. As a result, the value of your home can increase if you make changes to it to make it more ecologically friendly so that the next homeowners will be able to reap all of the benefits outlined above.
Of course, this still leaves the question of what the best way of going about making these changes is. There are lots of options open to you, but we have outlined below the most reliable methods and how to implement them.
Get Serious About Your Water Usage
One of the most common sources of inefficiency in the home and an obvious target for improving your carbon footprint is your water usage. Many of us don’t think twice about turning the faucet on to wash up or have a shower or anything else, but water is, in fact, a scarce resource and one that is being disproportionately used by us in the western world. Getting on top of your water usage is an excellent way of reducing those energy bills while also making a genuine difference to your impact on the planet.
The first thing you should do to avoid wasting water unnecessarily is to check your system for any leaks and to plug them as quickly as you can. Once you are sure that your plumbing is not going to be leaking water without you realizing it, you can then look at some other simple lifestyle changes that will encourage you to use your water more sparingly. The most obvious example of this is taking a shower instead of a bath as it uses less water to accomplish the same thing. You can also try to avoid keeping the faucet running while you are brushing your teeth or shaving as this wastes water unnecessarily.
Another simple change that you can make is to install a low flow showerhead in your bathroom. These can save hundreds of thousands of liters of water for families every year. Even if you live alone, a low flow showerhead will still be more efficient than the alternatives.
Install a Smart Meter
Smart meters are now becoming the standard on most new homes, and it is easy to see why they are preferred by both homeowners and local governments. Smart meters make it much easier to monitor accurately the amount of energy being used in a property. With a smart meter, customers can check the status of their current bills and energy usage by simply opening an app on their smartphones.
For people who find it difficult to keep accurate tabs on their energy usage and to plan ahead financially, smart meters have proven to be a real boon. You can even program a smart meter to automatically turn on and off at different times in the day to ensure that you are only using energy and spending money when you actually need to be. Not only does this save you money but it will also reduce your carbon footprint and improve the overall green credentials of your property.
Switch to Energy-Efficient Bulbs
Energy-efficient bulbs have got something of a bad reputation in recent years. They have become known as being weak and underpowered, and generally not very useful for lighting a room. However, this is a very outdated view of energy-saving bulbs and energy-saving bulbs today is very much capable of writing your property in the same way that a traditional bulb is. Today these energy efficient bulbs are a staple of any energy-efficient household. Without these, you are missing out on a serious trick when it comes to maintaining a low carbon footprint.
Before you can select the right energy-saving bulb for your needs, you first need to identify what type of bulb you are looking for and what lumen value you will be aiming for. The lumen value refers to how bright the bulb is, with a higher lumen value being brighter. A higher lumen value is associated with a larger power requirement, as reflected in the wattage of the bulbs.
Install Solar Panels
Solar panels are another mainstay of any eco-friendly home, and no setup is complete without them. The sun provides our planet with a virtually limitless supply of energy generated from nuclear fusion in its core. The byproducts of these reactions are the heat and light that powers all life on Earth. Just as plants are able to harness sunlight in order to produce energy within their cells, so too can humans use an array of solar energy cells to turn energy from the sun into usable electricity.
Installing solar panels on your home has never been easier to do. In many parts of the US, there are now subsidies available to property owners who want to add solar panels to their property, meaning that you can reclaim some of your initial setup costs. With solar panels becoming more efficient with each passing year, those who make the initial investment are seeing returns appearing at a faster rate than ever before.
If you are still on the fence about having solar panels fitted on your property because you are worried that they don’t offer much value, you should seriously reconsider. Investing in solar panels for your home today is very different from how it used to be, and the expected rate of returns is much greater.
Always Buy Eco
One of the most effective changes you can make to reduce your carbon footprint and improve your green efforts is to get into the habit of voting with your wallet. Once you start looking into the businesses that you use every day and start to consider how their business practices impact the environment, you will realize just how much power you actually have as a consumer. If we all made more of an effort to shop for ecologically-friendly products from businesses who cared about the environment as much as we do, the world would be in much better shape.
Try to think beyond the obvious things, like reusable shopping bags and water bottles. Think bigger, think about the utilities that you use and the products that you are picking up off the shelves on a regular basis. For example, many homes in the US are reliant on air conditioning to maintain a comfortable temperature in their homes during the summer months. Similarly, a good heating system is needed to keep things warm during winter. By turning to a business like Semper Solaris – who make the eco-friendly approach a priority – for your AC repair, AC tune up, and other HVAC maintenance, you can support a more sustainable business.
The new eco-friendly heating or air conditioning unit is the ideal way to bring your energy bills under control and can end up paying for itself in the long run in the amounts of money that you will save on your energy bills.
Embrace Natural Cleaning Products
The production of many common household cleaning products can be very bad environmentally. Fortunately, there are plenty of organic and completely natural cleaning alternatives that are easy to find in stores. For example, if you need to clean the glass in your kitchen, then a mixture of vinegar and water will easily cut through any grease and leave the glass streak-free.
You can make an effective oven cleaner easily using just baking soda and water. Simply create a paste at the bottom of the oven, let it sit for a few hours, and then come back and wipe it away.
Insulate Your Home
There are numerous benefits of improving the insulation of your home. A properly designed and fitted insulation system will provide both long-term and immediate benefits to homeowners.
First of all, there are significant savings to be made on your energy costs. You can significantly reduce the amount of heat loss through pipes and other services, meaning that your heating system will be able to operate more efficiently. Uninsulated valves, bare pipes, or insulation that is old, damaged or defective can all lead to unnecessary heat loss. This heat loss is more significant than most people realize, but once it is minimized the benefits to household energy bills are instantaneous.
In fact, the savings on your energy bills can be so significant that you will make back whatever money you spend insulating your home relatively. In this sense, insulation is a sensible investment. It is also a low-risk investment because you can easily work out quite precisely how fast you will make a return on whatever you spend.
Having good insulation that includes a vapor retarder will prevent condensation forming and will limit the amount of corrosion on pipes ducts and roof drains in your home. By keeping these surfaces above a certain temperature, insulation can ensure that there is no opportunity for mold or mildew to grow.
By reducing your overall energy usage, you will also be reducing your carbon footprint. Improving the insulation of your home is one of the best ways of making it more eco-friendly. Insulation also provides good noise control which can mean that you don’t need as much amplification in order to hear your own devices.
Composting is a fantastic way of enriching soil so that it can retain more moisture and grow plants that are less susceptible to disease and pests. With a compost, you can also reduce your reliance on chemical fertilizers and other artificial growing aids. In fact, a compost will encourage beneficial bacteria and fungi to grow – these beneficial organisms can assist in the breakdown of organic matter in order to create a rich nutrient-filled material.
There are lots of ways that you can go about making a compost and you can do so either indoors or outdoors.
If you aren’t recycling, then you are missing out on one of the most essential components of an eco-friendly home. In some places, it is more difficult to recycle in others. Most people should have access to recycling facilities, but these can sometimes be located quite a long way from someone’s home.
If you live near an urban area, then you should be able to find recycling facilities without much problem. Try to get into the habit of checking product packaging to see whether it can be recycled or, you might be surprised by how much of the stuff you are throwing out is actually easily recyclable.
Be Clever in the Kitchen
There are many more opportunities for a greener approach to be found in the kitchen than most homeowners realize. First, there are the ingredients themselves. If you can try to source these from sustainable and organic sources, that will go a long way to reducing the impact that you are having on the environment.
When you are cooking, don’t leave the oven door open any more than you need to. Some recipes might require it, but if you are trying to cook something inside the oven, then opening the door constantly will let out a lot of the heat and mean that you will need to have your oven running for longer than is necessary.
When we are cooking, we often use far more water than we need to, and most of us are guilty of this whether we realize it or not. Reducing the amount of water that you use and keeping it to a minimum will go a long way to bringing down your overall water usage (we mentioned the importance of this earlier).
You can minimize the amount of food waste that your kitchen generates by keeping produce beyond its best-by date. Some things should be disposed of quickly, but fruit and vegetables can be eaten pretty much until it shows visible signs of going bad.
Even if you find it a bit difficult to make the necessary changes at first, you will soon be reaping the rewards of a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Once you start to feel the benefits, then it will all be worth it and you might even find yourself reaching for new ways of further enhancing your newfound green credentials.
As well as being an excellent money saver and a fantastic way of engaging with environmental issues, working towards a more ecologically friendly home will also leave you with a healthier home environment. There will be less harmful substances around and you will be generating less pollution.
Making alterations to your home in order to make it more environmentally friendly can also improve its resale value further down the line. As consumers and homeowners in general begin to prioritize environmental issues more and more, we can expect to see an increase in the amount that people are willing to pay for a home that has already undergone some modifications that the new owners can benefit from.