Homeowners undertake home improvement projects for a variety of reasons and one of them is to live comfortably in an eco-friendly house. It not only leads to a reduced carbon footprint but following the trend of going green also helps homeowners browse potential home buyers by capitalizing on their preferences, boosting the return on investment.
For instance, if you live in a competitive housing market like San Bernardino, an eco-friendly hot home sells for about 5% above the list price compared to an average home with only a 1% gain. Moreover, selecting the right eco-friendly home upgrades, like installing solar panels or double-paned windows, can help offset the cost by saving on utility costs, let alone tax credits.
So, no matter if you live in a brand new or century home, eco-friendly home improvements will play a critical role in your future, saving you time, money and effort. Luckily, there are many eco-solutions that you can easily opt for depending on your availability and budget. To help you with that, here are the six most popular and recommended eco-friendly upgrades to go for right away.
1. Upgrade Your Windows
It is a no-brainer that heating and cooling a house requires a lot of energy throughout the year. But most homeowners fail to realize that old windows can greatly contribute to your increased energy demands. As per the U.S. Department of Energy, windows lead to around 25% of wasted home energy. However, the good part is you can easily cut down on waste and energy costs by installing aluminum, vinyl or dual-paned windows.
With that, it is also important to hand over the project only to a BBB-accredited professional to ensure the best outcome. For instance, run a local search for a San Bernardino window replacement company near me and then select the one with the most experience handling such a project. Remember, upgrading your windows is not only a relatively major home upgrade but also increases your home’s curb appeal and resale value.
2. Energy-Efficient Appliances
When it comes to installing energy-efficient appliances, there have been significant advances in the past decade. These appliances are not only preferred by potential buyers but also help save on energy costs in the long run. Think of more cold retention in the freezer and less heat loss through the oven, for example. Similarly, energy-efficient dishwashers, fridges, and laundry machines significantly contribute to saving water and electricity.
Thus, investing in energy-efficient home appliances is one of the best home upgrades to live comfortably while also benefiting the planet by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, before buying new appliances, make sure to prioritize the ones that are Energy Star certified, meeting the U.S. Department of Energy’s strict criteria for energy efficiency.
3. Improve Insulation
Another big source of energy seepage is the inefficient home insulation. While most homeowners fail to pay adequate attention to it, most houses, especially the older ones, don’t have the upgraded insulation to keep the cooled and heated air safely enclosed in the house. While the upgrade may seem a bit expensive initially, according to the National Association of Realtors 2022 Remodeling Impact Report, you can easily recoup these costs through significant energy savings over time.
Also, the higher the R-value of insulation in your walls and attics, the more efficient it will be. Thus, if you live in a decade-old home, it is probably time to upgrade as well as add more insulation. Some of the most common types of insulations include cellulose, fiberglass and foam, available as foam board, loose-fill batts, spray board or rolls. You can rent the equipment or purchase the insulation from a renowned store to install it or hire a reliable professional to handle it for you.
4. Switch to LED Lightning
If you live in an older house, chances are that your incandescent bulbs are lurking in some of the fixtures. Thus, switching to LED light bulbs is another relatively easy and efficient eco-friendly home upgrade option. Also, you don’t need to replace all the bulbs in your house at once, but you can continue replacing each as they burn out.
Although LED bulbs may be slightly more expensive than traditional incandescent bulbs, they significantly pay off in terms of energy savings and longevity. LED bulbs last almost 15 times longer than traditional bulbs and use around 70% less energy. Also, instead of just using these bulbs throughout the house, you can use them for landscape or holiday lights.
While LED bulbs have been around for years, now the quality of such bulbs has noticeably improved and you can also connect them easily with various smart home systems, making them easier to use.
5. Avoid Fast Furniture
It is very tempting to go for fast, cheap, mass-produced furniture yet bound to wind up in landfills and break down. Thus, you must think about the furniture’s lifecycle and opt for options that are more sustainable and made using materials that are better for the planet or even secondhand furniture.
Also, if buying new furniture, always pay attention to certifications. For instance, if you wish to buy a new barstool, go for the certified option. That means that the wood comes from a place responsibly managed. Similarly, there are some other types of wood that are more environmentally friendly, like reclaimed wood or bamboo.
6. Sustainability in Your Home
Embracing sustainability within your home is not just a trend but a conscious choice that can significantly contribute to a greener future. When considering eco-friendly home upgrades, one excellent option to explore is beekeeping.
By setting up your beehives in your backyard, you not only promote biodiversity and pollination but also enjoy the sweet rewards of honey production. The honey bees play a crucial role in maintaining the delicate balance of our ecosystems, making this endeavor both environmentally responsible and personally rewarding.
In addition to beekeeping, there are various other sustainable practices to adopt in your home, such as composting and rainwater harvesting, all of which reduce your environmental footprint while creating a more eco-conscious living space. Sustainability begins at home, and small changes can have a significant impact on our planet’s future.
7. Install Solar Panels
When you think of eco-friendly home upgrades, installing solar panels is inevitable and for good reason. Solar panels are popular and an excellent alternative to regular electricity, providing clean energy for your house while helping you slash the electric bill. Also, as the cost of installing solar panels continues to decrease and the quality of panels improves, they can easily be installed on your garage or roof, especially if you are handy.
According to the U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, using solar power can significantly help preserve water, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit air pollution, making this sustainable home improvement worth considering. On average, residential solar panels may cost $16,000 to install but can offset the cost with energy savings within ten years. Moreover, you can even sell the excess solar power back to the grid in some places and gain tax benefits. Lastly, these panels are ideal for moderate climates like San Bernardino, with a good amount of sun and some rainy days.
The Final Words
Opting for eco-friendly home upgrades comes with multiple benefits, let alone savings. You not only enjoy and contribute to a lower carbon footprint but also create potential flexibility in your monthly budget. Also, to have a sustainable future for us and our loved ones, it is highly important to consider the environment and assess what you can do today to make a difference. So, whether you are looking to live in a healthy space or increase your home’s value, consider the above-discussed eco-friendly home upgrades as your starting point. Also, only opt for the ones that make the most sense for your situation and meet your style and budgetary preferences. Good luck!