Conserving energy use is not only good for reducing your housing costs, it is also a good way to help the environment. The good news is that you don’t have to make large changes to your home to reduce its environmental impact. A series of simple changes and common sense ideas can reduce waste and make your home the eco-friendly place you have always wanted it to be.
Start With an Energy Audit
The best way to start a green home makeover is to have an energy audit conducted on your home. It will show you where air may be getting in, which could increase the amount of energy needed to heat and cool your home throughout the year. Such an audit may also help to spot gas leaks or small gaps where water may be able to get into your home.
Depending on where you live, it may be free to have this done to your home, and it should only take a couple of hours to complete. After it is complete, you will be given suggestions that will help you make your home more comfortable while using natural or energy-efficient materials to do so.
Focus On Making the Most of the Space That You Have
It can be easy to remake a room just by changing the paint color on the walls, the texture of the wood floors or by adding furniture in shapes that you love. By working with the space that you already have, you don’t need to waste time or natural resources expanding the size of your green home. Doing so would require you to consume more materials building the expansion as well as use more energy heating and cooling it. Gravel, coal and tar can release toxic gasses into the air while the machinery and equipment needed to expand the house can pollute through the gas and diesel needed to operate them.
Let the Sunshine In
Lighting can make a big difference in how a room looks and feels. Ample light can make a room seem larger or more open without actually increasing its size. Rooms with windows often look larger than they are, so you may want to use a bay window or skylight to both put a window in a room and improve the lighting in that space. The increased brightness can make morning seemingly arrive earlier during the winter or keep the night from encroaching just a little longer on those summer evenings.
The sun can do more for your home than just illuminate it—it can also be used as a power source. Installing a solar system is one of the greenest improvements you can make to your home. Home-based solar energy is now more cost-effective than ever. With solar power’s growing popularity, financing options have become even more accessible. Not only will a solar system provide you with greener power, it will reduce your dependence on energy from the utility companies and save you money in the long run.
Quality Is More Important Than Anything Else
When you do decide to makeover your home to reduce its ecological footprint, it is better to stick to the ideas that offer the best returns over the longest period of time. For instance, you can easily increase your HVACs energy efficiency by applying duct tape between vent pipes throughout the basement. You could also use natural insulation in the attic or add a few extra vents to improve circulation and better regulate the temperature in your green home.
Greener home living doesn’t have to mean a radical change to your home. By focusing on a few small changes, you can achieve big results. Making smaller-yet-effective changes can also help keep costs in line, which may help you accomplish more without breaking the bank.
Author Bio: Emma Sturgis is a freelance writer based in Boston. When not writing, she enjoys baking and reading. Say hi on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2