If your 2020 is looking anything like ours, you’ve probably got a few home improvement projects on the back burner that are ready to kick into high gear. Home improvements can add to the beauty and functionality of your home. Often, home solutions can also incorporate another factor: being more sustainable. Sustainable “green” design is calibrated to significantly reduce energy usage and makes use of natural or organic material from renewable sources. Making these adaptations to the work we do today may be best poised to help our home meet the demands of the future.
What exactly do “green improvements” encompass? Making more sustainable choices in your home improvement projects just requires a little research and planning. With awareness of environmental concerns being such a key issue today, almost every aspect of home design and improvement is offering green options to the consumer.
When you think of green improvements, we bet an image of a rooftop solar power setup flashed into your head. Adding solar panels to your home greatly reduces or potentially eliminates your electric bill and contributes renewable energy to the electric grid. Solar panel installation might even be heavily rebated in your area, making the initial setup less of a burden. We recommend hiring a professional to help you with the installation to ensure your system meets your electrical needs and is properly mounted on your roof for optimum efficiency.
Install a Smart Thermostat
Installing a programmable thermostat is always a good idea. Now, the current generation of thermostat options allows you to control your system from your smartphone making it remotely accessible and convenient. Programming when your system runs means you aren’t wasting energy on an empty house and can reduce your energy use when you can – for instance, reducing the heating or cooling at night when you are asleep. By programming the system in advance or being able to set it up from the ease of your phone, you are less likely to overlook times where you could reduce your energy usage.
Opt for Energy Star
Take advantage of research and testing that has identified the top-performing energy efficient home appliances. From refrigerators to ceiling fans to washers and dryers, Energy Star ratings can help you find the best performing models when it comes time to update or replace what you have in your home. To earn an Energy Star rating, an appliance undergoes rigorous testing and performance analysis and must be exceptionally efficient. For the consumer, shopping Energy Star products can make a lot of sense. Many areas offer a variety of rebate programs for buying Energy Star rated appliances that help lower your out-of-pocket cost. Using more efficient appliances in your home also is more affordable in the long run as they cost less to run.
Energy Star is most visible as a rating for appliances, but it is applied to many products for your home – including roofing and windows. It pays off to look for Energy Star options whenever you begin a new home project.
Heating water can be a thankless job. Tankless water heaters only heat the water you need – when you need it, making them far more efficient than large hot water tanks. Running on gas or electricity, tankless heaters power on when hot water is needed and quickly deliver hot water to your tap. Because they work continually when the water is running, you’ll never run out of hot water with a tankless model. Tankless water heaters are a great option when it is time to replace an old system.
Go for a Sustainable Floor
Redoing your flooring is a big job, and you want it to last. There are several options out there for people interested in a floor that is attractive, long-lasting and easy on the environment. For those who love the look and feel of wood, consider opting for bamboo floors. Bamboo grows quickly making it very renewable and uses a fraction of the land, water and time of most other woody products. Natural bamboo is a light wood with a golden-green glow to it, but bamboo flooring now comes in a wide variety of finishes with an attractive price point.
For the home designer interested in a more industrial look, marmoleum is a sustainable alternative to linoleum flooring, made from natural materials and sustainable practices. Marmoleum is perfect for a sleek aesthetic, as well as being easy to clean and care for.