The past year has seen a big surge of home improvement taking place across the country. With homeowners around the house more, it can be easier to see projects that need to be done as well as upgrades that can make a living space more comfortable. One signature feature consumers are looking for this year in all areas of home improvement is sustainability. Making the shift towards eco-friendly home improvement means adding value to your home with energy-saving systems, renewable materials and systems that minimize waste.
Thinking about making your home projects more eco-friendly? Here are 5 great places to start.
An important part of making your home sustainable is minimizing the energy it takes to heat and cool the living space to comfortable temperatures. Fully insulating your walls makes it harder for heating and cooling to escape your house, reducing your energy costs and your carbon footprint.
For the eco-conscious, a variety of natural solutions are available when it comes to insulation. Some of the most efficient types of insulation also boast an impressive resourcefulness. Cellulose insulation comprises over 80% recycled newspaper pulp while denim insulation is made of shredded, recycled denim clothing.
Based on consumer demand, today’s building materials are greener than ever. There are several things to consider when shopping for an eco-friendly option. First, products that can be sourced locally offer the minimized carbon footprint of getting them to your site by avoiding excess transportation. Local varieties of stone and wood also have the advantage of blending well with your natural surroundings.
Eco-friendly options also boast innovative recycled materials such as countertop surfaces made from recycled glass, or sustainable production such as wood flooring made from fast growing bamboo. For nearly every look and style, there are green design options now on the market that can give you a stylish home while going easy on the environment.
Switching your house to renewable energy is one of the best long-term energy upgrades you can make for your home. Powered by sun, wind or geothermal forces, renewable energy options for today’s homeowner offer a combination of improved technology and lower price.
With renewables it is important to design a system carefully. In most areas, renewable energy is fed into the grid and credited to your energy expenses. While renewable energy systems take investment at the outset, they can completely eliminate your electricity bill.
Renewable energy also offers the option to store emergency power for the home in backup batteries. In the event of an emergency, battery backup can provide continual power to necessary devices.
Tankless Water Heaters
Many new homeowners are forgoing the large home water heaters of the past and going tankless. Tankless water heaters are small, energy efficient and simple to install. Tankless heaters heat and deliver your hot water on-demand rather than preheating gallons of water in an insulated tank that often go unused.
If you are looking for ways to cut down your water usage in general, make the shift to low-flow water delivery. From sink faucets and showerheads to low-flow toilets, water use can be reduced by over 50%, often with no noticeable difference. Low-flow products use innovative design to deliver matching pressure and water power with just a fraction of the water used by less efficient models.
Appliances today have long life spans, so when it is time to update appliances in your home it pays off to consider energy efficient designs like “EnergyStar” rated machines. EnergyStar appliances meet rigorous standards to provide exceptional efficiency in their design. That efficiency means they use significantly less energy and reduce your power bills. Many state and national programs offer the consumer rebates for buying EnergyStar rated products which span a wide range of appliances and materials for the home from washing machines to windows to roofing.
Many of the tips listed above can be accomplished with EnergyStar-rated solutions. In fact, researching EnergyStar options is a great initial step towards any home improvement project. From sourcing a low-flow washer or a power-efficient refrigerator, EnergyStar resources give you a great overview of what is available and how well it performs.