9 Sustainable Changes to Make to Your Home

A sustainable home minimizes your environmental impact while improving your health and well-being. It also lowers the cost of running your home, including energy, water, and maintenance. And you don’t need a complete lifestyle overhaul or a complex renovation to make your home eco-friendly. Instead, you only need simple and budget-friendly home improvement ideas. Here are nine sustainable changes to make to your home to help create a safer and healthier environment.

1. Switch to Renewable Energy (Solar)

Renewable energy is obtained from natural resources such as wind, water, or the sun. Solar energy is the most abundant power source that can significantly benefit the environment and your home. The energy collected by solar panels is stored in a solar power generator and later converted into alternative current (AC) before being released for use in home appliances. This type of renewable energy minimizes greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, which can harm our planet.

Solar energy helps mitigate climate change, improve air quality, and preserve natural resources. Therefore, consider switching to solar energy or other renewable energy sources to minimize your carbon footprint. And there’s nothing complicated about solar energy. You just need to purchase and install solar panels on your roof. The panels will harness the energy from the sun to power up your home without harming the environment.

Although installing solar is expensive, the long-term benefits are substantial. For instance, solar energy systems have more than 25 years of life. Plus, they require minimal maintenance. Over the decade, the cost of installing solar has dropped significantly by more than 50%, encouraging more homeowners to adopt this renewable energy.

Moreover, if your home has solar panels, you’ll save more money in the long run. This, in turn, increases your home’s value and appeal. According to Zillow, homes with solar panels sell for 4.1% higher than those without them. Therefore, if you’re considering selling your home soon, you might want to install solar panels to raise its value.

2. Install Energy-Efficient Lighting

Do you know that lighting accounts for around 15% of your home’s electricity use? And the quality and quantity of light impact our health, comfort, productivity, safety, and the economy. Incandescent light bulbs require too much energy to light up your home. If you still use them, it might be the reason for your soaring electricity bills.

Remember, most of the electricity we use comes from fossil fuels. This means if your home uses too much energy, it releases more CO2 emissions, affecting our planet. Additionally, incandescent light bulbs emit extreme heat when on, making your home uncomfortable. It’s also possible that the bulb could burst when switched on for an extended period.

Therefore, switching to energy-efficient light bulbs is one of the most efficient and affordable sustainable changes to make to your home. And you have two options for energy-efficient lighting: Light emitting diodes (LEDs) and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). However, LEDs are more energy-efficient compared to CFLs.

With energy-efficient lighting, you can light your home with less energy and money. LED lighting saves the average home about $225 in energy costs yearly. Therefore, switching to LEDs or other energy-efficient lighting options can reduce electricity costs. LEDs use about 90% less energy compared to traditional incandescent bulbs.

3. Repair or Replace Faulty Appliances

Faulty appliances could waste electricity leading to higher energy bills. This includes dishwashers, refrigerators, and tumble dryers. Mostly, these appliances degrade performance, meaning they need more energy to operate at the same level of functionality. For instance, a refrigerator with a faulty compressor may struggle to maintain the desired temperature, causing it to run longer and consume more energy to compensate for the inefficiency.

Additionally, faulty appliances may experience issues with their power management systems. As a result, they may draw more standby energy than intended. The continuous energy drain adds up over time and increases your electricity usage. Standby or vampire power is the energy appliances consume even when they aren’t actively in use. An appliance repair might minimize energy consumption and the overall energy costs in your home.

For instance, if your washer develops leaks or heating inefficiencies, you should consider a washer repair to address the issue and minimize energy consumption. Remember, a faulty appliance is also a safety concern. Therefore, you should learn to identify, repair or replace faulty appliances before they cause damage.

4. Upgrade Your HVAC System

Upgrading your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system is among the most effective and sustainable changes to make to your home. According to a report by ENERGY STAR, consumers spend about 42% of their annual energy costs on heating and cooling. This makes your HVAC a top contributor to your rising energy bills. So what’s the remedy?

Generally, you should replace your HVAC system after ten years. This is because the units lose efficiency and effectiveness as they age. This can impact your energy bills and the environment. New HVAC systems are more energy efficient and safer for the environment. They generally use less energy compared to older models.

If you have an older HVAC unit, you should contact an HVAC contractor to replace it. It is one of the most essential yet overlooked sustainable changes to make to your home. Newer units help your home minimize carbon footprint while improving indoor air quality.

5. Install Energy-Efficient Windows

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, approximately 25%-30% of home energy is lost through windows. This occurs due to radiation through glazing, convection, and conducted through the window frame. Consider energy-efficient windows if your energy bills are soaring, especially during hot and cold months. This is one of the sustainable changes to make to your home this year.

Energy-efficient windows are designed to stop cooled or heated air from leaving your home. Recently, window companies have developed cutting-edge technologies to increase energy efficiency. They include nonconductive framing materials, special coatings, double glazing, and higher-quality, air-tight construction.

Upgrading your windows makes your home more energy-efficient and minimizes your electricity costs. It also protects your belongings from fading. If you’re not ready to replace your old windows, you can still make them energy-efficient by re-sealing them with caulk, weather stripping, glaze, or window treatments.

You can also add storm windows or panels, solar control film, or exterior shadings such as overhangs or blinds to make your windows more energy-efficient. When buying new windows, consider ENERGY STAR-certified windows. Also, choose windows with low U-factors and solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) to maximize energy savings in both cold and hot seasons.

Remember, you must install your windows correctly to ensure energy efficiency. Therefore, you should let a trained professional install your energy-efficient windows for maximum benefits. The installation will vary based on the window type, house construction, and exterior cladding. Ensure your windows are installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

6. Water Conservation Measures

Do you know that an Average American family uses more than 300 gallons of water per day? However, around 30% of the water is wasted flushing toilets. And the toilet isn’t the only place where water is lost at home. Other culprits include dripping faucets, leaks, and showers. Therefore, one of the best sustainable changes to make to your home is to adopt effective water conservation measures.

So how do we conserve water at home? There are various strategies to save water at home. For instance, check your toilet for leaks. You could be wasting more gallons a day from toilet leaks. Also, do not use your toilet as a trash can. Remember, every item you flush away takes about seven gallons of water.

Additionally, consider installing water-saving flow restrictors or shower heads to cut your shower flow and minimize water wastage. You should also turn off the water while not in use. Also, inspect your home plumbing system for leaks and other damage that could lead to water wastage. If you have a blocked drain, you should consider a drain cleaning service to address the issue. This eliminates the risk of viruses and contamination in your home.

Another water conservation trick to use in your home is harvesting rainwater. This offers a sustainable water source for gardening and other outdoor uses. You should consider installing a rainwater harvesting system with downspouts, gutters, and storage tanks. A water filter installation can help you clean the rainwater, making it safe for domestic use.

7. Consider Sustainable Roofing

If you’re looking for sustainable changes to make to your home, consider making your roof eco-friendly. Sustainable roofing offers numerous benefits in terms of durability, energy efficiency, and environmental impact. But remember, re-roofing your home is a costly renovation project—so you should be prepared financially.

The question of sustainability in roofing is more about the roofing materials you use on your house. There are various sustainable roofing materials to consider for your home. However, your choice will depend on your specific circumstances.

Sustainable roofing materials are designed to reflect sunlight and minimize heat absorption. This leads to lower cooling costs during hot seasons. This is especially true for cool roofing materials that use reflective coatings or materials to reduce heat transfer into the building. Sustainable roofs help conserve energy and reduce carbon emissions by minimizing the need for air conditioning.

Additionally, sustainable roofing materials are often durable and have an extended lifespan. They can withstand harsh weather conditions, resist damage from UV rays and offer superior protection against leaks and water damage. This reduces the need for frequent repairs and replacements, saving money and cutting waste in the long—this counts as sustainability.

Sustainable roofing systems often incorporate features to manage water efficiently. They include green roofs, rainwater harvesting systems, and rainwater management systems like gutters. These features minimize stormwater runoff, prevent soil erosion, and offer a sustainable water source for irrigation and non-potable use.

In short, sustainable roofing systems contribute to water conservation and reduce the strain on local water resources. Therefore, you should hire experienced roofers to help you install a sustainable roofing system in your home.

8. Maintain Healthy Trees on Your Property

Besides offering shade and enhancing your home’s beauty, trees contribute to sustainability. Therefore, if you’re thinking of sustainable changes to make to your home, consider planting some trees in your yard. Climate change is one of the most significant challenges the world is facing, and it stems from harmful CO2. Fortunately, trees can help minimize, if not eliminate, climate change.

Trees absorb CO2 eliminating it from the air while releasing oxygen. Additionally, trees purify the air we breathe. A home with trees breathes cleaner air because the trees absorb pollutant gasses like ammonia, nitrogen oxide, and sulfur dioxide.

If planted correctly, trees can save you money on utilities as well. Deciduous trees shade homes during summer but allow sunlight to reach your home after leaves drop in the fall. According to findings from a paper published in the Energy and Buildings journal, just two trees can conserve approximately 40% of heating energy and provide up to 18% cooling energy conservation during heat waves.

But all doesn’t end with planting trees alone. You must still take care of and maintain the tree to enjoy maximum benefits. Trees that are well cared for add considerable value to a home. And this is what arborists do. These professionals are trained, certified, and qualified in all aspects of tree care and maintenance aspects.

9. Optimize Insulation

Optimizing your insulation at home is also one of the best sustainable changes to make to your home. A well-insulated home prevents heat transfer, minimizing the need for excessive heating or cooling. You should ensure your home is insulated from the roof down to its foundation for optimal energy efficiency.

Insulating the right places in your home is crucial to enjoying the maximum benefit. For instance, the attic, walls, and floors are common places that allow for heat transfer from your home. Proper home insulation saves energy while helping prevent drafts and improving overall comfort.

Thinking of sustainable changes to make to your home to improve energy efficiency and save money? We hope you now have some options. Although you don’t have to implement all the above changes, you should try some and see the benefits. As always, ensure you have the right knowledge and skills to make these changes or hire professionals to complete the job.

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