7 Simple Steps to a Greener Home
The world is gravitating toward a greener environment. Efforts to use green energy, such as solar, and spruce up our space to make them eco-friendly are on top gear. In fact, efforts to create greener homes are part of the sustainable development goals. The good news is that the green home building market is growing and is expected to hit $523.7 billion by 2027, as per Global News Wire.
You can be part of the movement by investing in making your home greener. You’ll not only be contributing to environmental sustainability but also saving on costs in the process. The World Green Building Council estimates that green homes boast the potential to cut energy consumption by 50% by 2025. Before we explore how you can make your home greener, let’s look at the six more benefits of green homes.
1. Resource Efficiency
Energy prices and demand are on the rise. Remember, energy costs form the bulk of the home utility bill. The good news is that you can cut energy bills by installing energy-efficient systems. In fact, you can recoup the set-up costs from the savings you will make. Green homes are designed to allow maximum use of natural light and take advantage of solar energy while reducing reliance on home heating oil. It also significantly reduces the use of artificial lighting and energy bills.
Besides energy, green homes involve installing efficient water treatment, recycling, and purifying systems for efficient use of water sources, preventing exploitation, and water wastage. For instance, you can irrigate the home garden with recycled water from domestic use. You can also invest in a solar-powered borehole. A well inspection company can help you ensure proper use of borehole water.
2. Low Maintenance
The aim of building a greener home is to ensure it is long-lasting. Typically, the building uses durable materials that require less maintenance. It will therefore save you money while ensuring your home looks pristine for a long time. Thanks to the extensive lifespan and minimal need for upkeep, your home will have a minimal negative environmental impact.
In addition, green homes have low operating costs thanks to energy-saving features such as thermal mass, high-level insulation, and high-performance windows.
3. Increased Property Value
Besides the low maintenance cost, you will enjoy future-proof living. Many potential homeowners and real estate agents are seeking a green home. For this reason, eco-friendly homes have a higher demand, translating to a higher property value than non-green homes. If you invest in a green home, your investment guarantees great returns on investments in the future. On average, green building owners reap 19% returns on existing homes while new buildings rake in 9% ROI, as per the US Green Building Council.
4. Healthy Indoor Spaces
We all fancy a clean environment, especially in our indoor spaces. What better way to guarantee fresh air than investing in a green environment? Materials used to build the home are free from harmful chemicals that pollute the environment.
The building materials also determine the quality of the indoor environment and its effects on inhabitants. A suitable building should provide a quality indoor environment by safeguarding occupants’ health and enhancing their quality of life. Here is the good news. The materials used in green homes are friendly to humans and animals and allow natural light, providing excellent quality indoor space. In addition, these homes feature indoor and outdoor plants. Indoor plants enhance the air quality by getting rid of impurities, while outdoor plants enhance curb appeal.
5. High Durability
As mentioned, the green home components are highly durable and require low maintenance. This means that your home will stand for a long time. Below are some materials that enhance the durability of a green home.
- Recycled decks – recycled decks blend plastic and wood waste fabric. They boast over five times the longevity of conventional wood decking.
- Environmental-friendly pest controls – eco-friendly homes keep pests such as termites at bay using plastic or metal fasteners around exterior wood.
- High-quality roofing materials- roofing materials used in the green home have long warranties spanning up to five decades.With the benefits in mind, here are eight simple steps to a greener home. Let’s jump right in.
1. Install Solar Panel
Solar panels are a prominent feature in an eco home. They convert sunlight into electric energy, a great clean energy source, and a suitable alternative to home heating oils. In fact, you could produce excess energy to sell back to the main grid. While solar is a long-term investment that could take years to recoup the initial investment, it is a major step toward making your home eco-friendly. Besides slashing your utility bill, you’ll reduce your carbon footprint significantly. It’s estimated that switching to solar eliminates carbon emissions equal to burning 5000 lb of coal annually. Isn’t that some interesting news?
If you desire to go green, consider switching to photovoltaic solar panels – they’re more efficient and quite affordable. In fact, some states provide subsidies and tax credits that can significantly cut down your installation cost.
Besides the cost implication, abundant solar energy protects your family from health issues. For instance, it doesn’t emit harmful particles and chemicals, which could lead to asthma and heart attacks.
You’re probably wondering which solar panel is best. Essentially, you should consider installing a monocrystalline solar panel. Compared to rear cell and polycrystalline solar, it boasts up to 22% efficiency.
- Consideration when installing solar panels
- Choose a company with a solid reputation and pepper licensing
- Check the state law and regulations
- Consider installation incentives, net metering, and an energy buy program.
The World Economic Forum opines that investing in solar panels is cheaper than using fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas.
2. Fix Energy-Efficient Bulbs
One of the simple steps to a greener home is installing an efficient bulb. But which is the right bulb? To give you a clear idea, compact fluorescent lights(CFL) are more efficient than incandescent bulbs. Besides using less energy, these bulbs are long-lasting. This means that you will spend less on replacements and save more.
But perhaps the best type of green lighting is the light-emitting diode. Unlike power-sucking incandescent light bulbs, they offer numerous environmental and health benefits. In addition, they illuminate your space more effectively. In fact, LEDs lose less energy as heat and are 75% more efficient than incandescent bulbs. But that’s not all; they are also brighter. Here is the interesting bit. If you light the two bulb types for 10 hours a day, the incandescent will last 75 days, while the LED lasts 13.7 years. This fact beats any logical reason why anyone would not want to go green with LED lights.
Other energy-saving simple steps to a greener home;
- Automaton; – the smart home system has a lighting routine and is compatible with smart systems such as Google home
- Embracing natural light during the day and relying less on electric lighting by hanging mirrors and painting a light color
- Turn off the light after leaving the room. The rule of thumb is to turn off the lights if you will be out for more than 15 minutes.
3. Insulate Your Home
- One of the simple steps to a greener home is using the least energy possible. This is where insulation comes in handy. It conserves the heating, meaning you don’t have to heat your home all the time. Some places you should insulate are the walls and the roofs. For instance, you should cover all hardwood floors and roof metal decking. Besides making your space warm, insulating your home can significantly reduce your heating bills.
Below are several green home-friendly materials you can use to insulate your home.
Cotton repels insects and absorbs moisture. It is also formaldehyde free, and you can make it flame resistance by treating it with boric acid. It is one of the suitable insulation materials. Disposing of old jeans and denim should be the least of your worries. Make use of them for insulation.
Sheep wool is a natural insulation material with moisture and heat retention qualities thanks to its breathability feature. Perhaps, the best selling point is its up to four R-values ( thermal resistance units).
Another simple step to a greener home is insulating your home with cellulose. Cellulose is an excellent material consisting of 15% borate and 85% recycled paper. You are probably thinking, isn’t borate a harmful chemical? The direct answer is no. Borate is an environmentally friendly mineral compound that boasts fire retardant, mold, and pest prevention attributes.
Others materials include;
- Wood foam
4. Invest in Sustainable Furniture
Investing in sustainable furniture is top of the simple steps to a greener home. Essentially, you will conserve the environment and save significantly because they are long-lasting. To put this into perspective, you can make your furniture from eco-friendly, locally available materials. Picture a dining table made from recyclable and renewable sources that are non-toxic.
To give you a clear picture of sustainable furniture, here is what its manufacturing process involves.
- Minimal chemicals that adversely affect the environment
- Using local material to manufacture the pieces locally, hence avoiding transportation(fuel pollution)
- Using renewable materials such as woodMinimal chemical amounts mean less environmental pollution from volatile organic compounds (VOC) and other pollutants that can cause migraine and trigger asthma. For instance, paint can release these compounds in your indoor space.
You should ask yourself the following questions.
- What material did we use to make the furniture? Ideally, you should prioritize porcelain, tone, and bamboo over exotic wood.
- How long did it travel?
- Did the manufacturer use any chemicals, for example, for stain resistance?
- Is the furniture durable? Materials that don’t last are typically cheap and end up in landfills sooner or later.
5. Start a Compost and Build a Septic Tank
Another way to make your home greener is by turning leftovers and waste into compost. Yes, this food shouldn’t go to waste. Simply create compost in your home garden to recycle waste and turn it into compost. Compost creates a perfect soil for growing flowers and making your vegetables greener (see what we did there?). The compost enriches the soil, retaining moisture and suppressing pests and diseases. This means you will use fewer chemicals or fertilizers.
In addition, you should have a reputable septic tank pumping service to build and maintain a septic tank for holding wastewater. Channeling the waste into the surroundings can pollute the envelopment. Remember, you should avoid chemicals when treating your septic systems and use natural and eco-friendly alternatives.
6. Add Native Plants
Another simple step to a greener home planting plant in your home yard. But not every plant will get the job done. You should specifically go for native plants. Why? Native trees require less irrigation, which helps conserve water and prevent wastage. In addition, they don’t require pesticides and fertilizers, which is a good step toward going organic and greener.
Consider hiring a tree service to plant some trees in your backyard. Trees lower air pollution and enhance water quality. They absorb carbon monoxide and release oxygen. Additionally, they provide shade, making your home cooler. Shading is more complex than it seems. If your space is cooler, you won’t overwork the AC, meaning your energy bill won’t go through the roof. Trees and herbs are also natural barriers against environmental elements such as wind and rain. They prevent erosion by stabilizing the soil.
7. Invest in Smart Appliances
- Investing in a smart appliance is one of the best and simple steps to a greener home. Here are some top appliances to consider.
- Thermostat – the goal of a greener home is to conserve energy and make the environment eco-friendly. A smart thermostat conserves energy by heating the house when temperatures fall below a set threshold and turns on when the ideal temperature is attained.
- Smart AC – if you are using an old AC, it’s time to replace it with a smart AC. A star energy-rated model can cut cooling costs by 50%, making your home greener.
- High-speed horizontal axis washing machine saves water and cuts utility bills.
Ideally, choose a dishwasher, oven, and refrigerator with a star rating. In fact, you should consider cooling drinks with ice cubes rather than using energy-consuming refrigerators.
Going green has myriad benefits. First, your property value appreciates. You also guarantee your family safe and quality air, making your space free from air-related diseases and conditions like asthma. Also, you save costs thanks to low energy consumption. This means your utility bill will go down. Isn’t that a good thing? Lastly, and perhaps more importantly, you will make a contribution towards conserving the environment. Now, we have provided you with simple steps to a greener home. Put them into action to ensure we leave the planet better for future generatio