Thinking of making your home more environmentally friendly? Green living saves more than the environment, it also saves households a lot of cash every year. If you’re wondering how to go green and make your wallet happy, check out these 10 ideas.
There are numerous technologies today that can make your windows more energy efficient. Some of these include gas fills, high-performance frames, and low-E coatings. The benefits of energy-efficient windows include:
- Reduced energy costs for heating and cooling bills
- Lower HVAC costs
- Improved comfort in different climates
- Reduced condensation
- Increased light and view, and less unwanted heat
- Reduced fading (carpet, artwork, and other things that may fade when exposed to sunlight)
Annual savings: Energy-efficient windows can save you up to $465 a year when replacing single-pane windows and up to $111 a year for double-pane windows, according to Energy Star estimates quoted by SFGate.
Only trust whole-window energy ratings that are certified by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC).
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning account for about half of the average American household’s utility bill, according to energy.gov. That’s why you need a very efficient and money-saving HVAC system when going green.
Updating your HVAC system to a more efficient one will not only help save the environment (and your own money) but will also:
- Allow a more consistent temperature throughout your home
- Increase the overall air quality
- Provide you with cleaner and more reliable equipment
High-efficiency, water-saving toilets
Have you recently changed the toilets in your home? It may seem like an unnecessary expense, but older models use more water than newer, water-efficient appliances.
If you have any toilets that use more than 1.6 gallons of water per flush (gpf) – as do almost all toilets installed before 1994 – consider replacing them to help save water. High-efficiency, water-saving toilets will help you reduce your carbon footprint.
LEED certification is necessary if you want your home to pass certain eco-friendly and health standards. LEED certification is recognized worldwide as the benchmark of achievement in green buildings.
Sure, but what does LEED certification have to do with going green?
LEED homes are automatically recognized as green homes – certified green living. Here are things you can be sure of when your home passes the LEED certification:
- Built for good health and safety
- Provides clean indoor air
- Helps save the environment (reduces carbon footprint)
- Consumes less energy and water compared to non-certified homes
- Lowers monthly utility bills
- Saves you more cash for other things
- Certified green homes can be easier to sell and have a higher value than non-green homes, according to a study quoted by the U.S. Green Building Council.
You can apply for the LEED certification today. Visit the website for LEED certification (new.usgbc.org/leed) for more details about the certification program.
Reusable water tanks (rain catchers)
A raincatcher is used to harvest rainwater for everyday use. Here are some advantages of rainwater harvesting:
- Easy maintenance
- Reduces (or totally eliminates) water bills
- Suitable for irrigation
- Reduces flooding and soil erosion
Rainwater harvesting systems vary in complexity, and there are a few necessary components of a basic system. No matter the system you go with, rainwater harvesting can help you save green and be more environmentally friendly.
Tankless water heaters
Water heaters can have a big impact on your electric bill. Switching to a tankless water heater can help you in your quest to go green, and save money, because water is heated on-demand, thereby eliminating the cost of keeping gallons of water heated in a storage tank.
Here are several of the benefits of a tankless water heater:
- Most units come with a $300 federal tax rebate
- Never runs out of hot water
- Lasts up to 10 years longer than a tank heater
- More efficient than tank heaters
- Takes up less space
- Saves you up to 30 percent on your average monthly electric bill
Many wonder how to follow the green path – well, solar energy is the best option for clean and renewable energy available today. Though the sun doesn’t shine 24/7, solar energy can help you save a lot of money in the long run.
Solar energy may be costly to set up, but did you know that 75 percent of all American homes have access to pay-as-you-go solar? That makes it easy for homeowners to make use of solar energy themselves. Also, solar-powered homes have a higher value and tend to sell faster than other homes.
Recycled building materials
Using recycled building materials has more advantages than most people think. More and more people are making use of recycled building materials because they’re cheaper, reduce the amount of waste that goes into landfills, and reduce overall construction costs.
Shower-savers can help you greatly reduce your monthly water bill. Considering that showering costs up to $500 annually per person – that’s big money.
Most shower-savers make it easy to switch the shower on and off – so you can reduce the amount of wasted water as you lather up.
If you’re trying to go green, consider reroofing your house. Here are two options for your roof that can help you help the world:
- Steel and fiber cement roof coverings are more durable than most other roofing materials, so you won’t need to replace your roof as often.
- Roof coverings with lighter colors reflect heat and can help you save more money on cooling systems, which is especially beneficial in warmer climates.