Because I’ve contracted the flu that’s been passing around the family, we’re going to do a guest post. Hopefully, when PainBot is done eating my soul, I’ll have a new article. In the meantime, Kostas Chiotis is here to save the day. He is an economist and he shares the latest tips on how to save money and manage finances at FinanceBlogZone.com. Connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.
Every time we think about home improvements, the first question that comes to mind is, “ Will this save me money”? Your goal might be getting out of debt, or saving money or just keeping your budget in place, but did you know that you can save money while being kind to the planet? I will talk about how we can make our homes energy efficient without hurting the environment.
In recent years, many people have become sensitized of the need to conserve the environment and save money at the same time. The perception that eco-friendly homes must be newbuilds is misleading because you can start making small changes to your home with the few bucks that you have. Such improvements can be done with any budget, without breaking the bank. If you want to make a start, here are suggestions to reduce your energy bills and help the planet.
Top 10 Eco-friendly Home Improvements to Save you Money
1. Seal Leaks and Drafts
Sealing air leaks during winter and summer will help you save some dollars off your energy bill. Check your house for possible drafty doors and windows, that bring in cold or hot air, forcing your air HVAC system to work extra hard to maintain desirable temperatures. Overworking the air conditioners or furnace means that more energy will be used up, putting a strain on your wallet. Test for leakage in draft-prone areas such as window frames, doors, baseboards, pipes and chimney and use weather stripping or caulk to seal them.
2. Roof restoration
Investing in roof restoration will save you money in the long run, although the price for the restore services could be high. During the summer, roof restoration will prevent heated air from entering your house, thereby reducing strain on the cooling system. It also helps in keeping the house warm during winter. You can lower the cost of roof restoration by using green roofing products and hiring a local contractor.
3. Use wood-framed windows
Replacing your UPVC and metal windows with wood-framed windows will save you money and protect the environment. Wood-framed windows last a lifetime, are more insulating and less polluting than the popular UPVC windows which emit toxic compounds. Also, wood-framed windows are easy to repair.
4. Install a Programmable Thermostat
If you use an old air conditioner at home, you are likely to see inflated utility bills during the summer, since these systems have to do extra work to maintain the home temperatures. Ideally, you have to turn off the AC when there is no one at home or lower the temperatures when people are asleep. You can quickly forget such actions.
With the programmable thermostat, you can regulate your home’s temperatures depending on the settings you choose for specific times of the day. Plus, it is inexpensive to install, and it will shave off some bucks from your bill.
5. Buy Energy Efficient Electric Appliances
When purchasing new appliances or upgrading your home equipment, check if they have the Energy Star label. The label means that the devices have been certified by Energy Star and meet a high level of energy efficiency. They offer significant energy savings without compromising on the performance. Also, some electricity providers offer incentives for replacing old appliances with the energy star rated models.
6. Install Solar Energy
Solar energy power is a renewable source of energy that is provided naturally from the sun. Although solar panels are expensive to purchase and install, they can result in huge savings in the long term, making your home green.
To take advantage of solar power, make sure you locate it in a place where it can collect as much energy as possible. Hire a local contractor to advise you on the best location for the solar panels. Also, you can benefit from tax breaks, grants, and incentives from the government, as they continue to encourage the public to utilize the natural power around us and bring down electricity consumption. If you are in debt, getting advice on how to manage debt and taking advantage of such government grants and incentives is good for your wallet.
7. Use Sustainable Building Materials
Did you know that you can use eco-friendly materials when building every part of your home? Using materials such as recycled plastics, recycled glass, reclaimed lumber, bamboo, and cork will help reduce the impact of the construction on the surrounding. They can be used as building materials, roofing materials, floor insulation and sealing air leaks in your home.
In addition, insist that your contractor recycles old wood floors, doors, and windows instead of sending them to the landfill.
8. Eco-friendly Lighting
Replacing your old bulbs with compact fluorescents lamps (CFLs) and light emitting diodes (LEDs) will lower your electricity bills over time. CFLs and LEDs have a longer lifespan than the traditional bulbs, even though they are pricey. They are an ideal option for eco-friendly home improvements.
9. Add heavy curtains over windows and doors
Although they may seem cumbersome, heavy curtains or drapes will help conserve energy by trapping warm air inside during cold weather. Also, the curtains will keep the sun’s heat out during the summer, thus reducing an overwork on the air conditioner. This helps to reduce energy bills in the long term.
10. Water Saving Improvements
Moving from high flow to low flow faucets and showerheads will contribute to water conservation and cutting down your water bills. Also, you can help the environment by taking a shower rather than a bath that requires a lot of water.
Collect rain water by installing a water harvesting system and storing it in a tank. Use the rainwater for household activities such as watering your landscaping and flushing the toilet. Also, using tankless water heaters instead of hot water tanks will help save space and energy, since it heats only water that is passed through the electric coil. The extra space can be used for holding the rain barrels that store rainwater.
No matter how limited your budget is, you can make your home energy efficient and save the planet. The best part is, you do not have to make complete upgrades to be eco-friendly. Instead, start making small improvements, and your home will be green. In the course of the year, plan to make small improvements such as replacing your old bulbs with LEDs or CFLs, upgrading your electrical appliances to Energy Star rated models and sealing the air leaks around your window frames and doors.