From cleaning out the garage to upgrading your floors and windows, it often seems like home improvement projects will never end. While you may be dedicated to making your home a better place, it’s also important to consider how it affects your carbon footprint. Are you doing everything you can to make your home earth friendly?
Not only could your home benefit from energy-saving changes, but you can also lower your utility bills and live green without sacrificing your style. While Earth Day falls in the month of April, it’s not the only time to commit to environmental stewardship. Consider some of these ideas to be both earth-friendly and cost effective year round:
Choose the right materials
Start the planning stage of your project by selecting materials with low impact on the environment. For example, reclaimed wood is durable, versatile and renewable, and can add beauty and timelessness to your home. Since it is recycled, your reclaimed wood project doesn’t involve chopping down or harming any new trees. Other eco-friendly alternatives include linoleum instead of vinyl, low or no-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints, bamboo and cork.
Rent or borrow project tools
Before you go out and buy all the tools and equipment you need for each home improvement project, do a little research to find out what you can rent. Not only does this save you money, but it also limits energy consumption, pollution and waste associated with manufacturing, storing and maintaining new equipment. You can easily find a rental company to provide a variety of products such as aerators, augers, jackhammers, pressure washers, chainsaws and more. To learn more about reusing tools and being a friend to the environment, visit rentalhq.com. Alternately, this might be a good time to get to know your neighbors and see if they have the tools you need to complete your project.
Hire savvy professionals
If you’re undergoing a serious remodel, you’ll most likely be working with a contractor, designer or other professional to review your plans and turn them into reality. Make sure you not only hire the right people, but make your goal of going green loud and clear. Ask to see examples of their work and have them explain what tactics they use to be environmentally friendly.
Use energy efficient equipment
If possible, make sure the appliances, tools and equipment in your home have the EnergyStar label. This means that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) qualifies that product as energy efficient. The EnergyStar label is becoming more widely recognized as more consumers bring these types of appliances – like ovens, stoves and HVAC systems – into their home for both cost and energy savings.
Try eco-friendly lighting
A lighting upgrade is essential for an earth-friendly home. While LED and CFL lightbulbs tend to cost more upfront, they use significantly less energy and last longer than traditional incandescent bulbs, so you’ll save more in the long run.
Invest in water-saving features
Fixtures like low flow faucets, toilets and showerheads are just a few of the ways you can conserve water in your home and reduce the amount of your water bills. Additionally, there are plenty of washing machine and dishwasher options that give you the same level of cleaning power while saving both water and energy.
Going green doesn’t have to be difficult or costly. Use these tips to save money each month and effect the world around you in a positive way.