Many people are reluctant to commit to sustainable renovation in their homes because of the already high costs associated with residential construction. But truth be told, eco-friendly home improvement doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, there are dozens of ways to make your home more environmentally friendly that aren’t as costly as solar panels or heated floors. Many of these improvements will also add long-term value to your house. Future you will thank yourself for this if you ever decide to sell the property. Here are five eco-friendly ways to improve your home.
5 Eco Ways to Upgrade Your House
1. Use Reclaimed Materials Whenever Possible
There are a couple of major benefits to using reclaimed materials during your home improvement project. Firstly, it will help you save money that you would have otherwise had to spend on new materials. For example, reclaimed wood can be used for flooring and cost roughly half as much as unused wood. If you hired a contractor, then it is likely they may even have some to use that is leftover from other projects. And as they say, “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.”
Secondly, by using reclaimed materials whenever you can, you’ll be doing the environment a huge favor. Reclaimed materials don’t only include raw materials used in flooring and countertops but can extend to furniture as well. By filling your home with pre-loved furniture, you can save yourself some cash and save the world a few harmful emissions.
2. Install Resource Saving Appliances
Most of a home’s carbon footprint comes from its energy consumption through utilities. If your sustainable renovation project has a budget that allows for new washers and driers, they will have an enormous impact on how environmentally friendly your home is. But even if you’re renovating on a humbler budget there are smaller ways to cut your energy and utility consumption. For example, low-flow versions of bathroom appliances such as showerheads and toilets can save you money and reduce the amount of water you’re using. The best part of some of these low-flow appliances is that they cost a fraction of the cost of a new washer or dryer. In fact, some low-flow showerheads cost so little that the money you’ll save from your water bill will equal the cost of the showerhead within a few months to a year.
3. Install Eco-Friendly Lighting
Environmentally friendly lighting comes in a few different forms. Obviously, the form of lighting that contributes the least to pollution is natural lighting. But depending on your home improvement budget and the layout of the room you are renovating, natural lighting options such as skylights and larger windows may not be a possibility. Fortunately, there are other methods of more sustainable lighting that work with nearly any layout and budget. For instance, LED lightbulbs are much more efficient than their incandescent counterparts. This is because incandescent light bulbs lose an enormous amount of energy as heat rather than light. LED bulbs, on the other hand, run much more efficiently and do not generate the same amount of heat. They are a little more expensive than incandescent light bulbs, but the energy you save will balance this out.
4. Improve Your Home’s Insulation
As previously mentioned, one of the primary ways houses contribute to pollution is through energy consumption. One of the most common reasons a home has such a large carbon footprint is because it loses so much heat through poor insulation. There are several solutions to this that range in price and effectiveness. The most expensive, but also the most effective, is by adding more insulation to your walls, roof, and attic. For an eye-catching and environmentally friendly example of insulation, look into green roofs. A green roof, or vegetative roof, is a layer of vegetation planted over a waterproofing system that can be installed on top of a flat or slightly sloped roof. This style of insulation is effective, environmentally friendly, and looks incredible. Another, less expensive, but still effective method of insulation is new windows and doors. Old windows and doors can warp slightly over time and allow heat to escape through small cracks. By replacing them you can reduce your carbon footprint and save some cash on utilities.
5. Install a Programmable Thermostat
Many people unintentionally run the air conditioning or heater too long to reach the desired temperature. The easiest way to ensure you aren’t running your air conditioning any longer than is necessary is to install a programmable thermostat. This will ensure that your home stays at a comfortable temperature without wasting energy. On top of that, programmable thermostats can be given a routine to follow that matches your daily schedule. For example, you can have the air conditioning turn entirely off about half an hour after you leave for work and not turn back on until an hour before your return. Doing this will make sure your house is always comfortable when you’re home but doesn’t waste any energy keeping it at a set temperature when it is empty. Programmable thermostats are widely available and range from extravagantly expensive to incredibly affordable.
As you can see, not every method of making your home environmentally friendly is necessarily expensive. Home improvement comes in a variety of methods and prices, meaning everyone can build a home they love. Sustainable renovation projects are no exception, and hopefully, you have found a few ways to make your home better for the environment that works for you.