It’s often thought that in order to live in an “eco-friendly” home that you have to make extreme sacrifices in comfort or have an extraordinarily large budget. The truth is: making your home green has never been easier, and it is by far more convenient than taking on a total renovation.
The benefits of these efforts in going green will be noticed in both your wallet and your carbon footprint. Greening your house will also increase its value, should you decide to sell.
Here are the latest trends in slashing energy bills while taking steps for a healthier earth:
Passive-house, Green Home
A passive-house is tightly sealed to minimize the energy needed to provide sufficient cooling and heating.
Making your home into a truly passive house would require a major renovation, but you can reap some of those same energy-efficient benefits by replacing outside door thresholds, changing old windows for new double or triple pane windows, or covering the panes with a reflective coating that will greatly reduce heat in the summer.
Also, remember to lock all of your windows when they are closed! It creates a much tighter seal than when they are left unlocked.
Hi-tech to Lower Energy
Something as seemingly tiny as a light on here or there causes significant increases in the size of your carbon footprint and your energy bill. Luckily for us, there is new technology that can stop those little expenditures.
There are new smart home devices available (such as Google Home or Alexa from Amazon) that allow you to turn off your connected devices and appliances with the sound of your voice. There are also smartphone apps that allow you to control your devices with the touch of a finger. Smart thermostats from companies such as Nest and Honeywell learn your heating and cooling preferences and can be manipulated through a smart phone or tablet.
It’s never been easier to fill your home with these smart products, available from a wide range of retailers.
Green Paint (and I don’t mean the color!)
Volatile organic compounds are chemicals found in many paints and building materials that easily vaporize and may be health hazardous. Until recently, it was believed that the eco-friendly should choose low- or no-VOC paint, but those labels are vague and misleading. Because of the way VOCs are defined by the government, there are a lot of chemicals that aren’t covered. It is best to look fora no-VOC paint that does not contain ethylene glycol, acetone, formaldehyde, or solvents.
An Energy Audit
Making your home more green won’t be the same process for everyone. It is important to cater to the needs of your home for best energy efficiency. Homeadvisor.com reports the average cost to hire a home energy auditor is $373. Search for an auditor certified to give your home a Home Energy Rating System index rating, a score of your home’s energy efficiency. Lowering your home’s HERS index score will raise the value of your home, should you wish to sell in the future.