To celebrate our beautiful planet, we’ve put together tips for adding more green to your home, which can also help save you some green in the process.
First observed on April 22, 1970, Earth Day is the perfect time to consider making your home more energy-efficient, as even some of the smallest enhancements can add value to your home and help decrease monthly bills. So, grab a piece of recycled paper and take note of some tips that might make sense for your home:
Get Audited — Home energy assessments help identify ways you might unknowingly be wasting energy. Costing between $300 and $500, according to Fox Business, technicians often use thermal imaging to check for air leaks and problems with ductwork, windows, insulation, chimneys, etc. Whether you hire a professional or conduct the audit yourself, remember that identifying and fixing energy issues is good for the planet, your monthly bills and your home’s resale value.
Light Up — Want to know one of the easiest ways to ensure your home is eco-friendly? Swap out those old light bulbs with an energy-saving halogen, LED or CFL light. These greener models are available almost everywhere and typically use 25 to 80 percent less energy.
Recycle Electronics — Have some unused cell phones stashed away in a drawer? Call in an environmental good deed and recycle those worn digits. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), one million recycled phones can help recover 35 thousand pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver and 75 pounds of gold. Additionally, recycling one million laptops saves enough energy to power 3,500 homes per year. Where can you drop off your electronics? Many big box electronic retailers, like Best Buy, offer in-store and online recycling services. Some major cities also provide recycling for electronics on special days throughout the year. For more information and links to some recycling locations near you, visit the EPA’s website.
Plug It Up — Another way to go green and budget-friendly is to fix any leaky faucets and pipes. The EPA’s drip calculator estimate leaks as tiny as one drop per minute adds up to 34 wasted gallons of water per year. What’s more, one leaky toilet can waste up to 73,000 gallons of water per year. So, take time to plug up those leaks!
Filter Yourself — Scientific American reports that Americans, in total, drink more than 30 billion liters of water a year from roughly 50 billion bottles (mostly plastic). Individually, Brita estimates that avid bottled-water consumers add about $900 annually to their overall grocery bill in plastic bottles. If you’re a fan of bottled water, maybe it’s time to consider installing a water filtration system that can help you lower your grocery bill, simplify your shopping and keep you drinking “clean.” These systems, ranging from a $30 faucet-top fixture to a more expensive tank-based unit, can also help reduce the abundance of plastic waste polluting our planet.
Shoot for the Stars — Using Energy Star-rated appliances is a great way to save on energy bills, enhance the value of your home and significantly benefit our environment. According to the DIY Network, Energy Star-rated appliances use between 10 and 50 percent less energy than standard models, reducing overall energy costs.
Get with The Program — A programmable thermostat takes the hassle out of saving on your summer air-conditioning bill. Simply set it to raise the temperature while you’re at work and you can start enjoying savings. The Department of Energy says raising your thermostat seven to ten degrees while you are away can yield up to 10 percent savings on your electricity bill. Good Housekeeping suggests the difference between 73 and 78 degrees can mean as much as a 40 percent cost difference on your bill.
Cover with Care — New eco-friendly flooring can add value and style to almost any living space. While hardwood floors remain a common preference for homeowners, especially with the ability to lay reclaimed, recycled or sustainably sourced wood, there are a couple of other hot eco-centric flooring trends on the rise. Corkoleum is a hybrid flooring of cork and linoleum. Barrel flooring is made from reclaimed wood of wine barrels. If you are rug shopping, there are many beautiful, eco-friendly options to spruce up your floor. Natural fiber rugs made from sisal, wool, jute, seagrass and coir (AKA, coconut husk) are durable and on-trend.
“Green Acres is the Place to Be” —With summer nearly here, consider planting low- or no-maintenance landscaping that shows you care about preserving our Earth’s natural elements. Choosing sedge, clover, moss, lily turf or buffalo grass can help to eliminate mowing, reduce the need for fertilizer and conserve water. If you have greenery that needs extra moisture, try using a rain barrel to offset water usage. When installed and used properly, Better Homes & Garden says that 500 square feet of roof can yield 300 gallons of water. That’s more than enough to help you compete for yard of the month!
Little changes can make a big difference — for your monthly bills, the value of your home and, most importantly, Mother Earth. PrimeLending hopes you have enjoyed our tips, and we encourage you to share your own “green” ideas in the comments section below.
Plan on searching for a new home to fill with responsibly sourced hardwoods and no-VOC paint, remember to contact a PrimeLending loan expert to learn what mortgage plan is best for you.