High-Impact Eco-Friendly Updates for Your Home: Save Money While Saving the Earth

We’ve all become more recycle-savvy in last decade, but today there are even more resources, pay-offs and chances to make your house eco-friendly. If you’re interested in cutting down on your carbon footprint and saving money at the same time, consider the impacts your house is having on your health, your pocketbook and the earth’s resources. Especially if you are a landlord with multiple properties, you’ll be surprised how some basic renovation and appliance updates will add up. Whether you’re looking to sell, rent or just save some money while saving the earth, you won’t want to overlook the following green remodels your house needs.

1. Change Your Light Bulbs

Compact fluorescent light bulbs outlast regular lightbulbs by 10 times, and even more importantly, they use only one-third the energy of a regular bulb. If you replace 15 regular lightbulbs with energy-saving lightbulbs, you’ll save $50 a year in lightbulb costs and more than $600 a year in the cost of energy on your utility bills. Saving the earth can also save you money.

2. Get Energy-Efficient Appliances

Get ENERGY STAR appliances, which meet the EPA and Department of ENergy guidelines for energy efficiency. In 2006 the energy saved from the ENERGY STAR program was equivalent with removing 25 million cars off the road. It not only saved the country’s air, but it also collectively saved Americans a grand total of $14 billion in utility bills. Individually, your household could save almost a thousand dollars every year with ENERGY STAR appliances. You could also save money by benefitting from the rebates offered for buying the ENERGY STAR products.

3. Fill Holes and Add Insulation

Make sure that you look for cracks and holes in the wall. Use caulk to seal any holes. According to the Department of Energy, you can save up to $100 yearly by simply filling in the gaps. Use insulation as a long-term solution to cut down on your use of natural resources and to lower your utility bills. When choosing insulation, go with materials that use fewest chemicals and are made from more abundant materials. For example, mineral wool and cotton are sustainable materials that have no chemical additives. There are some insulation materials that are use chemicals but have a lower air quality effect such as polylsocynaurate or polystyrene

4. Get Dialed In

Getting the right electronics set up in your house can allow you to program the thermostat, which is where your house is making its biggest dent in America’s natural resources. By programming a thermostat, your thermostat will be turned off during useless times such as when you’re at work and the kids are at school. It can also be programmed to turn off at night and come on in the morning a couple of hours before the kids have to get up for school. Tapping into the programmable thermostat is great advice for prospective landlords who are paying the bills for their rentals. They’ll save money and resources at the same time. You can even get a smart phone app that will allow you to remotely control the thermostat.

5. Go Low-VOC and Low-PVC

Volatile organic compounds are becoming a feared entity. People who suffer from allergies, asthmas ,or other chemical sensitivities are attracted to low-VOC paint. If you have old carpet, you’ll want to replace it with hardwood floor or eco-friendly carpeting to avoid giving off VOCs. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is also a toxic factor on air quality. If you can replace flooring and plastic board material that contains PVC, you’ll be saving yourself from toxic air. You can also make the low-toxic air in your house a selling point if you decide to rent out or sell the house.

6. Remodel Solutions to Water Use

According to the EPA, less than 1 percent of all water on Earth is actually usable, drinkable water. The rest is salt water. A typical American household uses about 260 gallons of water per day, which is not sustainable and is more than its fair share. Your household can make small tweaks that can have exponential results. Older toilets use almost 4 gallons every flush. If all Americans switched to a green toilet, we could save 2 billion gallons of water PER DAY! Get a grey water toilet, for example, which enables the grey water from your sink to be used in your toilet flossing. You can also replace your shower heads with low-flow shower heads

People argue that they can’t make a dent in our environmental problems, but that is the mindset that has gotten us in trouble in the first place. If every homeowner and landlord made some small changes, we could reduce our collective carbon footprint and save our own individual resources.