Governments around the world are now taking action to curb climate change and each citizen can do their part, too. Making just a few simple changes around your home can make a huge difference in the effort to make our planet a greener, cleaner place to live.
If you’ve already planned projects for the new year you can easily go green by choosing eco-friendly products. The best part – going green doesn’t take a lot of money, and making just a few changes can help lower your utility bills every month.
Get a Green Energy Plan
If you live in an area with deregulated energy, that means electricity providers are competing for your business. Many providers now offer green energy plans for eco-conscious customers. These plans are powered by clean energy sources such as solar and wind. It’s like having a solar panel installation without the upfront investment. Now you can use electricity without making your eco footprint any larger during your home improvement projects.
Create an Eco-Friendly Outdoor Living Space
There are many reasons to step outside more often. Not only is the air 10-100 times more polluted in our homes, when you’re outside you also aren’t using lighting, air conditioning and electronics. Creating an outdoor living space is eco-friendly when you use composite decking. This material is created using recycled plastic and wood waste. It’s also extremely durable, which means it will last longer than other decking options.
Want a hard surface patio? Reclaimed brick pavers from construction salvage centers are the most eco-friendly option available. Add solar lights for an even greener green space.
Use Bamboo for Your Bathroom Vanities
Bamboo has been an eco-friendly super star for years because it grows very fast (only takes four years to reach maturity) and doesn’t require pesticides. But did you know it’s also moisture resistant? Adding a new bamboo vanity is one of the greenest and easiest ways to update your bathroom décor. Vanities are typically created by adhering bamboo plywood sheets together with low-VOC adhesive. The clean, neutral finish looks great with all types of décor and won’t warp or peel like some laminates and wood.
Lay Down Natural Linoleum in the Kitchen
Linoleum got a bad reputation after manufacturers made cheap, synthetic flooring that quickly bubbled, peeled and cracked. Not to mention it wasn’t the most luxurious looking product. Natural linoleum is the exact opposite of those plastic-like floors. Natural linoleum is made with eco-friendly materials including resins, wood flour and linseed oil. It’s also inhibits microorganisms from growing and is easy to maintain.
Maintain What You Already Have
Instead of changing features or adding something new, turn your attention to things that are already in your home. Having the HVAC system professionally serviced can improve its cooling capabilities and reduce energy use by 15%. The same goes for your water heater and furnace. Finding and fixing leaks is also important. A dripping faucet can send up to 74 gallons of water down the drain each day. A leaking toilet wastes even more – up to 200 gallons a day.
Shop for ENERGY STAR Appliances . . . And Windows
In the last 30 years the amount of energy that appliances and electronics use in the average home has doubled. They now account for roughly 31% of your electricity bill. Newer appliances are much more energy efficient, especially ones that are ENERGY STAR rated. ENERGY STAR is a government program that tests the efficiency of consumer products. Appliances that earn the ENERGY STAR label are those that meet strict energy efficiency requirements.
ENERGY STAR also rates windows for their energy efficiency. If it’s time to replace your single-pane windows look for products with the blue ENERGY STAR seal.
Make the Switch to Low-Flow Fixtures
Switching out your water fixtures and toilets are two of the easiest home improvement projects, and when you update with low-flow products they will save you money. ENERGY STAR has estimated that you can reduce water usage and save around $145 annually on electricity by installing low-flow showerheads and toilets. Go even greener by using low-flow aerators on your kitchen and bathroom faucets.