5 Easy Green Home Improvements

5 Easy Green Home Improvements

Going green doesn’t have to be extreme. In fact, there are several easy and inexpensive ways to make your home more energy efficient. These upgrades will lower your utility bills, appeal to potential buyers and yield a positive return on investment should you decide to sell your home in the future. Here are five budget-friendly, green home improvements that show small changes can go a long way:

1. Eco-Friendly Paints

While paint color can instantly enhance the look and feel of any room in your home, it’s also one of the most simple, cost-effective cosmetic updates. If protecting the planet is top of mind, you’ll want a paint that’s free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can potentially cause health problems. There are many versions to choose from, including paints that are low-VOC, no-VOC or natural — which are often made from milk proteins or other biodegradable ingredients. These products are gentler on the environment, and they can improve the indoor air quality of your home.

2. Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs

Lighting makes up 12 percent of the average American home’s energy bill, and it’s one of the easiest areas to start conserving energy. If you swap five of your most used lightbulbs for compact fluorescent lightbulbs, which use 70 to 90 percent less energy than standard incandescent lightbulbs, you can expect to save about $30 to $80 in the lifetime of each lightbulb that is replaced, according to Energy Star. You’ll not only spend less time and money replacing lightbulbs, but you’ll also reduce greenhouse gas emissions thanks to your reduced energy consumption. Find the best options Here.

3. Low-Energy Appliances

When shopping for new appliances, look for their energy savings in addition to how sleek they look. Home appliances that are certified by Energy Star can save you 10 to 50 percent more on energy and water than standard appliances. For example, a qualified washing machine uses 10 gallons of water less per load in comparison to a standard machine. This adds up to 3,000 fewer gallons of water per year and a reduction in annual energy consumption. With the average home energy bill around $2,200 per year, every little bit counts. Find some appliances Here.

4. Low-Flow Plumbing Fixtures

Rather than flushing your money down the toilet, low-flow plumbing fixtures can conserve your cash. The average family of four uses about 400 gallons of water per day, and a toilet can account for almost 30 percent of that usage, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Older toilets can use 3.5 to 7 gallons per flush. However, if you replace an inefficient toilet with a newer, higher-performing one that uses only 1.28 gallons or less per flush, you can reduce your family’s water usage by as much as 20 to 60 percent. This would yield an estimated savings of about 13,000 gallons of water or $110 per year, and $2,200 over the toilet’s lifetime. Likewise, replacing an older shower head with a more efficient one can save up to 2,900 gallons of water or $70 in utility costs per year. Look for WaterSense®-labeled models that offer high-performance water conservation and come in a variety of styles and price points. Find some fixtures Here.

5. Heating and Cooling

About half of your energy usage comes from your heating and cooling, making it an important expense requiring attention. Replacing your windows can save you anywhere from $27 to $538 a year, but the true savings all depends on your climate, utility rates and how efficient the new windows are compared with the ones you’re replacing. Other options that can make just as much of a difference, if not more, include installing a programmable thermostat (savings of about $180 a year), sealing and insulating your heating and cooling ducts, which can improve energy efficiency up to 20 percent, and simply maintaining your HVAC equipment for optimal efficiency.

With so many eco-friendly products and technologies available today, you can easily make your home more eco-friendly. These green home suggestions are just a start, so as you think about how they will impact your wallet, your home’s energy efficiency and the potential future price or sale of your home, make an informed decision based on what will benefit you and your family the most.


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