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September 28, 2020
Going green is important in all areas of life, and the biggest changes often start at home. Environmentally friendly improvements can often impact your carbon footprint in several ways, but that doesn't mean the upfront cost isn't something to consider. Money sometimes needs to be just as much a priority. Not everyone can afford to make all the big changes right away.
You can assess the costs and benefits when it comes to your home so you can start with one change and eventually branch out or go full speed ahead if your budget allows for it. Green homes can increase your property value and often save you money on your monthly bills.
Therefore, it's a good idea to consider at least one eco-friendly change in your house, even if it functions as a goal you work toward. Everyone is different, and it takes many people to build a greener planet.
1. Green Construction
If you're building your house or engaging in large renovations, the method makes a difference. Green construction offers an array of options, many of which can save you money upfront. Solutions like using locally sourced and recycled materials can be an eco-friendly way to cut down on waste, transportation emissions and new material production.
Other alternative supplies, like bamboo floors, cork and fly ash, are all inexpensive alternatives to building staples that cut costs and environmental impact. Work with contractors to accommodate these into your budget from the start, and green materials can be both affordable and effective.
Other tips for environmentally friendly construction are to build vertically rather than horizontally so you can save on land space. You can also formulate your home to catch as much daylight as possible so you can cut back on power use. These little things are often afterthoughts, but when you consider them first, they can make a big impact.
2. Solar Panels
Solar panels may be the first thing that comes to mind when considering eco-friendly options. This makes sense — using solar is one of the best ways to save a lot of energy in one single home. When it comes to all the dollars and cents, they do save you money, but how much depends on a number of factors.
The average American family spends around $1,450 a year on electricity alone. A full solar panel system can cover the majority of energy needs for the average household, but they are often upwards of $10,000 to install. It's all about whether you have space in your budget for the upfront investment. Otherwise, make other green changes while you save toward it.
3. Energy-Efficient Windows
If you're not looking to go the route of solar paneling, you could always use windows to make your home a bit more eco-friendly. Not only do energy-efficient windows save energy and reduce your carbon footprint, but they also save you anywhere from $126 to $465 a year if you're replacing single-pane windows. They could save $27 to $111 if you're going from regular double-pane windows.
Energy-efficient windows are still an upfront investment, but they're a little more affordable than solar paneling. They clock in at anywhere from $120 to $600 per window, so your cost will depend on your house and the specific windows you choose.
4. Water-Saving Switches
If you're looking for quick fixes that can run the gamut in terms of price, effort and longevity, there is so much you can do with the water in your home. Try replacing filters, taps and showerheads to more energy-efficient, water-saving ones to start.
You can work with an expert to get deep into your house's plumbing — which can be especially helpful during the build. You can also go to your local hardware store and find some water-saving fixtures to put throughout your home to go a little further. You don't have to break the bank to make positive changes.
Green Home Improvements Can Be Affordable
No matter which solutions you choose for your home, being conscious of doing your part and giving back to the Earth is important. There's a spectrum — you can't do everything but assessing where your budget sits so you can put the time and effort in is exactly what the planet needs. Plus, you might end up saving yourself a little green in the long run.