Making your home energy efficient and “green” is not only good for the environment, it is good for your wallet. Homes that are mindful of energy efficiency can save hundreds on utility bills and get tax credits for mindful building decisions. Compared to a conventional home, a green home:
- Uses less energy, water, and natural resources
- Is built with as little impact on the environment as possible
- Creates less waste
There are a lot of changes you can make to make your home more energy efficient, both in terms of big building decisions and small changes within your home. Here are some improvements you can make that will save money and save the environment in the long run.
Install a cool roof – cool rooves are designed with materials that will reflect sunlight, meaning less heat will be absorbed. You will save money on the initial installation of the roof, and there are federal tax credits for cool materials.
Install and Use Window Treatments – installing new window treatments, or making better use of the ones you already have, is a great way to save energy. In the summer, shutting your curtains or blinds during the day will keep the house cooler, whereas in the winter keeping them open during the day will make rooms warmer. To optimize energy efficiency, it is best to get hard window treatments like shutters or blinds.
Check Your Insulation – Many times, insulation in old homes can be outdated or inefficient. Checking make sure it is up to code, and going with a green insulation option, can be a big step towards conserving energy.
Buy Energy Efficient Appliances – If you are buying new appliances for your home, make sure to look for the Energy Star label. This ensures that your appliance is energy-efficient, and the label will be on everything from fridges to washing machines to lightbulbs. Especially if you are designing a new house and need all new appliances, this is a very easy way to ensure that you are maximizing efficiency.
Upgrade Your Lighting – Identify what your most-used lighting areas are in the house, and change those light-bulbs to fluorescent bulbs to save money on electricity. Another option is to install dimmer switches or occupancy detectors that will turn lights off if no one is in the room.
While there are some houses that go above and beyond to maintain a “green” way of life, these small changes are ways that you can make your home more energy efficient without a large upfront cost. Also, once you have made changes, make sure to look into your state’s policy on energy-efficiency to see if you can save even more money.