It can be hard to look at the bills every month and see the numbers get higher and higher. If you’ve got a home, you know how expensive it can be to maintain it on a regular basis. From light bulbs to air filters to the lawn, there are lots of ways to keep your home in great shape. But, with all the products out there that claim to be eco-friendly, it might be hard to know which ones are actually worth your time and money.

The average American household spends about $2,500 per year on energy costs. That’s a lot of green that could be going into your wallet—and making you greener in the process! Retrofitting your home with environmentally-friendly upgrades will not only help you save money but also reduce your carbon footprint, meaning you’re doing your part to help save the environment. Some of the easiest fixes and upgrades include replacing your light bulbs, checking your power outlets for energy leaks, and sealing your windows and doors.

We’ve all looked at our energy bills and thought to ourselves, “This is outrageous! I’m never going to pay this.” Well, what if you did something about it. Not only would you be doing the planet a favor, you could save yourself a lot of money in the long run. Here are some easy “green” home repair projects that your average person can do.

To turn a home into a green structure, you don’t necessarily need to install an elaborate rooftop solar system or add space-age building materials – although expensive projects can have a greater environmental impact and result in significant energy savings over time. In many cases, small improvements and a few behavioral changes can help a homeowner go green and save money in their home. Landlords in the single-family rental market must take steps to attract the young people who are their target market. Surveys show that younger generations are more likely (very likely or often) to be ashamed of having an unhealthy and unsustainable lifestyle than their older counterparts. Renting a property with, for example, a compost bin in the garden or a washing line next to the house gives potential tenants visual clues that the landlord is thinking about the carbon footprint and taking steps to reduce it. Whether you own, rent or lease, the following tips can help you save money and make your home more environmentally friendly.

 

Photo credit: DepositPhotos.com.

Non-hermetic mixers

word-image-14133 Save water by fixing all leaky faucets – a leaky faucet wastes about three gallons of water a day. Photo credit: SeventyFour/istockphoto.

Installing energy-saving light bulbs

word-image-14134 Led lamps use less electricity and last longer than comparable incandescent lamps, in some cases up to 20 years. Photo credit: DepositPhotos.com.

Install a compost bin in the garden for food scraps and grass clippings

word-image-14135 According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, kitchen and yard waste accounts for 30 percent of the waste that ends up in landfills. Photo credit: DepositPhotos.com.

Recycling of paper, metal and glass

word-image-14136 If there is no such program in the city where you live, there are usually other ways to donate recyclables. Photo credit: DepositPhotos.com.

Smart meter setting

word-image-5158 For example, these thermostats can be programmed to turn on only at certain times of the day. B. start the heater just before you get home and turn it off about an hour before you leave. Photo credit: Output.

Insert a clothes peg

word-image-14137 Drying clothes on a clothesline uses much less energy than an electric dryer. Photo credit: BrianAJackson/istockphoto.

Conducting an energy audit of a home

word-image-14138 When you are done, seal any leaks around doors, windows or the foundation of the house. Photo credit: Jun / istockphoto.

Install window coverings, curtains or drapes to keep the room warm and cool

word-image-14139 When the sun rises in the winter, draw the curtains to warm the house. Photo credit: Alexander Golubev / istockphoto.

Planting native species in the garden instead of grass

word-image-14140 Homes that grow plants adapted to the local climate save on water and landscaping costs. Photo credit: istockphoto.

Do you own a home? Set up online payments for tenants

word-image-14141 If you set up an online payment system for tenants, you save on paper and postage costs. Photo credit: DepositPhotos.com.

Clean radiator coils

word-image-14142 Clean the coils of your refrigerator regularly so that it works more efficiently and uses less energy. Photo credit: leezsnow/istockphoto.

Laying of epoxy resin floor in garage

word-image-14143 It repels stains and makes cleaning easier. They are also very durable. Photo credit: Image source/istockphoto.

If you are a landlord, encourage your tenants to use environmentally friendly cleaning products

word-image-14144 One way to do this is to leave them in the house on moving day. Of course, you can do the same if you are a renter or homeowner. Photo credit: DepositPhotos.com.

More expensive improvements and better investments

word-image-14145 Drastic changes to a home to make it a truly green home can be expensive and disruptive. This is especially true when it comes to renovating an old house. For new buildings, consideration of environmental aspects can be part of the planning process. For example, it is easier and cheaper to add as much insulation as possible when building a house than to fully insulate the old structure. This decision depends on what the owner can afford, and calculations on how long it will take to recoup the investment for large projects. In this context, consider the following questions:

  • Is it time to switch to solar power? Installing solar panels and systems can cost between $15,000 and $25,000, depending on the size of the home. When considering a solar installation, you should consider the amount of your electric bill, the location of your home, and the tax benefits associated with the installation. States like California, Arizona, Texas and Nevada, with more hours of sunlight per day, are generally the best candidates for solar installations. There is an online calculator you can use to estimate the efficiency of panels in your area. There are also federal tax credits for solar energy systems. For photovoltaic systems installed this year and in 2022, there is a tax credit or deduction of 26% of the total cost. In 2023, the tax credit is reduced to 22%.
  • Is a geothermal system cost effective? A geothermal system provides significant energy savings through long, liquid-filled underground pipes connected to a heat pump that acts as a boiler and air conditioner. It is cleaner and much more efficient than conventional systems because no fuel is burned to produce heat, but simply heat is transferred from the ground to the house. However, the initial cost of drilling and installation is very high, ranging from $30,000 to $50,000 for an average home. Geothermal systems are also eligible for the 26% tax credit in 2021 and 2022.
  • Are reconditioned materials as good as new? Recycled materials for wall, floor or countertop repair are more environmentally friendly and are also becoming increasingly popular. Cabinets are one of the most expensive elements of a kitchen renovation. So try to find second hand stores where they might still be in good condition. Before you take the sledgehammer to knock down walls or cabinets, determine what can be reused in the renovation. This means less waste going to landfill, less money spent on new materials and less energy used to produce these new materials.

Photo credit: anatoliy_gleb/istockphoto.

Moderate spending leads to significant water and energy savings

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In some cases, such as when renting out or getting a new property ready to let, it is possible to carry out low-cost renovations that improve energy efficiency and enhance the landlord’s reputation with potential tenants. Spending a few hundred or a few thousand dollars on a project can have a significant impact and pay off in the long run. For example, showerheads installed before 1992 had a flow rate of 5 to 8 gallons per minute; today the industry standard is 2.5 gallons per minute.  (California has the strictest standard with a limit of 1.8 gallons per minute). Modern low-flow showerheads that use 2.0 gallons or less per minute cost between $30 and $300 for the most advanced and energy-efficient models and reduce water consumption by up to 40 percent per year. (You can find several guides on the internet with the best low-flow showerheads). If the home is located in a state or city with high water rates, and California is one of the leaders in this category, the cost of purchasing new plumbing can be quickly amortized. In addition, homes with energy and water saving features can be presented as environmentally friendly, which attracts young tenants. Here are some inexpensive investments that will make your home more environmentally friendly:

  • Install low-flow showerheads and energy-efficient toilets. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends looking for the WaterSense label on showerheads, faucets, fixtures and toilets to identify models that use less water and work well.
  • If your home needs new appliances, look for brands with the Energy Star label. (The new refrigerator should have a built-in water filter so residents don’t have to use bottled water).
  • Install a tankless water heater. These appliances, also called on-demand water heaters or instantaneous water heaters, only consume energy when there is hot water. (Hot water tanks depend on a continuous flow of energy). They cost more to install – $3,000 versus $900 per tank – but are a greener option because they last twice as long as traditional water heaters, use less energy and take up less space.
  • Insulate, insulate, insulate. The EPA estimates that homeowners can save an average of 15% on heating and cooling costs (or 11% on total energy costs) by sealing their homes and insulating attics, floors above basements, and accessible floor joists in basements.
  • Invest in double glazed windows. According to the Department of Energy, window-related energy losses account for nearly 25 percent of the annual heating and cooling costs of the average American home.
  • Forget the floor. Concerns about deforestation are leading some homeowners to consider other options when replacing flooring. Eco-friendly options include bamboo, polished concrete and cork, a relatively new product in the flooring world.
  • Hire a sustainability consultant. These professionals can advise homeowners on all types of projects, from water conservation to energy efficiency to green improvements.

This article was originally published on Mynd.com and syndicated by MediaFeed.org. Photo credit: ben-bryant / istockphoto. AlertMe

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