Did you know that making eco-friendly choices at home is not only good for the environment but can also save you money?
Frugal families and individuals are making eco-friendly changes to help them create more space in their budgets. In fact, a few small changes can save you hundreds of dollars per year.
If you’re looking for ways to help the environment around the house, try these eco-friendly home upgrades for starters.
Conduct an energy audit
While it may not be obvious, there’s a direct correlation between how much energy you use and the well-being of the environment. When you use less energy, you reduce the amount of fumes released by power plants. Additionally, you help preserve the earth’s natural resources.
Therefore, to minimize the amount of energy you’re using, it’s a good idea to conduct an energy audit. By spending some money on a professional energy assessment, you can prioritize upgrades to your home to make your house more energy-efficient. This will save you money and benefit the environment. Some cities, states, or energy companies will conduct these audits for free, so be sure to search for options in your area.
A certified home energy auditor will inspect windows and doors for excess condensation, check walls for insulation and framing type, take note of thermostat settings, inspect the fireplace, and much more. Some of the eco-friendly home upgrades the auditor make recommend could include:
- Installing insulation in your attic: Installing proper insulation in your attic is one of the best ways to increase your home’s energy efficiency.
- Spraying foam around exterior windows: If you have old windows with large gaps around the trim, you may need to spray foam to prevent energy leakage.
- Caulking around the interior of windows and doors: Once you address gaps and holes outside your windows and doors, you may need to use caulk in the interior of your home to seal them.
Even though the average home audit costs between $207 and $647, it could save you between 5% to 30% on your energy bill if you make the recommended upgrades. If your energy company sends out an auditor, they may give you free energy-saving tools such as new lightbulbs or power strips.
Consider installing solar panels
Another great way to cut your utility costs is to install solar panels.
If you have enough sunlight that hits your home, installing solar panels can be a great way to capture renewable energy. While initial costs may vary depending on the size of your home, the Department of Energy states that most homes with solar panels can receive up to 40% of their energy from their panels. This could mean huge energy savings, especially if you live in an area with high energy costs.
Additionally, if you purchase a system, you may be able to receive federal, state, or local tax incentives or other financial incentives. As of now, the federal energy tax credit for homeowners is equal to 30% of the cost of the system placed in service in 2019. However, the credit may decrease gradually into 2020 and 2021.
Reduce water usage
While the earth is nearly 70% water, only 1% of the earth’s water is easily accessible. The other 97% is saltwater and the other 2% is trapped in glaciers.
That said, it’s important to conserve this natural resource by reducing your water usage at home. There are countless ways to help the environment by reducing your water use around the house. Here are a few ideas:
- Install water-saving showerheads or flow restrictors
- Replace or fix leaky pipes and faucets
- Plant drought-resistant trees
- Purchase water-efficient toilets, taps, washing machines, and dishwashers
- Install a water meter that lets you monitor the amount of water you’re using
By making these upgrades to your home, you can save some cash as well as reduce the amount of water that you use. Since cleaning wastes water and heating hot water is an energy-intensive process, using less will help you save on energy as well.
Install a programmable thermostat
Programmable thermostats are inexpensive and easy to use. They can give you recommendations about how to reduce your energy consumption and save money in your home.
To use a programmable thermostat, first program your HVAC system to match your schedule. You may want to turn it off or down during the day when you’re at work and turn it on again when you’re on your way home. A smart thermostat will allow you to control the system anywhere from an app on a mobile device.
The most efficient programmable thermostats will give a room-by-room temperature reading so you can program it accordingly. Smart thermostats will automatically adapt to your patterns and preferences and give recommendations based on your user data. This will help save a lot of money over time.
Use sustainable building materials
If you’re building a home or doing a renovation, be sure to use sustainable building materials. Your opportunity to save money in the long term is twofold. First, you’ll conserve energy by using materials from manufacturers that have low- to no-waste facilities. This will result in fewer materials going to waste upfront. Second, you’ll see a lasting effect as your home will be more energy-efficient.
Some sustainable building materials you might want to consider are:
- Recycled steel beams instead of wooden beams
- Composite lumber instead of new wood for decking
- Low-e glass windows to help regulate the temperature of your home
The bottom line
If you’re wondering how to save money on your home and help the environment, these eco-friendly upgrades are the perfect solution.
You can make quick changes now and make structural changes to your home in the future to help you save money and contribute to a better world. Not only will being eco-friendly help your budget, but it will also help make the earth a better place one house at a time.