Create a Green Home this Earth Day: A Room by Room Guide
With Earth Day approaching, there is no better time to consider turning your household into a green home, one that operates efficiently and sustainably. After all, a green home can have a huge impact on the environment. According to Energy.gov, residential and commercial buildings contribute to 40 percent of the total electricity use in the country. Additionally, the Environmental Protection Agency pointed out that the average family of four consumes 400 gallons of water every day. These resource usage statistics, along with subsequent waste, could be greatly reduced if every homeowner in the country took the steps to transform their abode into a green home.
“Green home improvement strategies can lead to immediate results on your energy bills.”
Reducing energy and water use also means of cutting down on your monthly expenses. Lower utility bills can help to offset the initial costs of green upgrades, and it won’t be long before each installation pays for itself and then some. Thankfully, there are plenty of DIY projects that you can perform over the weekend that will help move your home in a greener direction. Take on some of the following home improvement strategies to see immediate results on your energy bills.
Saving water in your home’s bathrooms comes down to regular maintenance and the right fixtures. Real estate resource RedFin explained that leaky faucets can turn into big sources of waste for your home. . In fact, 10 percent of homes have leaks that waste over 100 gallons of water daily. Most faucet leaks can be addressed by replacing a simple component designed to wear, like the o-ring – addressing these issues as they are discovered will help stop a leak from turning into a major source of water waste.
You can also eliminate water waste by replacing fixtures like aging shower heads with parts designed to be more sustainable. Modern, low-flow options are great for keeping water use in the shower to a minimum without sacrificing personal comfort. Showers make up just shy of 20 percent of household water use, so it makes sense to prioritize this fixture as you look for ways to upgrade your bathroom.
The easiest way to cut electricity waste in the living room and common areas is by changing up your daily habits. Unplug “energy vampires” like TVs and game consoles as they seep power from the socket even while the devices are shut off. You can streamline this chore by hooking up all the energy wasting devices in your living room to the same surge protector.
Diligently turn off lights in common areas when the spaces are not in use, and look to take advantage of natural lighting whenever possible. Look for opportunities to replace fluorescent lighting with LED or CFL bulbs. Adopting these strategies will ensure that devices in your living room aren’t padding your electric bill around the clock.
One of the keys to reduce energy waste in your bedroom is finding ways to heat and cool more efficiently. Utilizing ceiling fans during the summer, for example, in lieu of your air conditioner, is one way to cut down on energy use. In the winter, remember to replace filters on a routine basis to ensure that the entire home is heated more evenly, thereby saving on natural gas.
Drafts can be eliminated by sealing up bedroom windows, and this improvement to your home’s thermal barrier will help reduce the daily demand on your heating and cooling systems. Bedroom lighting also presents another opportunity to replace inefficient bulbs with green replacements. Implementing some of these green home improvements in each of your bedrooms is a great step toward a greener home.
No green home is complete without a sustainable kitchen. Like in the bathroom, leaking kitchen faucets are a common source of water waste. Replacing older fixtures with new, low-flow heads is an effective strategy for saving water in the kitchen as well. The kitchen is also an ideal spot for reducing electricity use. If you have room in your budget to invest in new appliances, we recommended focusing on upgrades to the refrigerator or the dishwasher. And make sure your new appliances are Energy Star approved for extra energy savings.
Learning a few new use habits in the kitchen will help you save water and electricity as well. Remembering to shut the fridge and freezer after use, for example, will help you prevent wasting large amounts of power. You can also eliminate water waste if you’re willing to wash more of your dishes by hand.
These are just a few of the ways that you can create a green home. Though the process of upgrading your home may be time consuming, the reward of knowing your home is contributing toward a healthier environment is worth it. Likewise, the hours poured into greening your home will eventually pay themselves back in the form of monthly savings on utility bills.
So, use Earth Day 2017 and our list of tips as an excuse to finally make those green improvements to your home!