Going green has entered the mainstream as every day people are becoming more aware of the variety of environmental problems we face and our role in them.
There is a greater push to be more eco-friendly in the home, with suggestions ranging from using natural cleaning products to cutting back on energy use.
The good news is, many of these home improvements are relatively inexpensive; the even better news is, not only will these changes be friendlier to the earth; they will be friendlier to your wallet as well.
Here are some tips to create a greener living space that will also save you some money.
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Seal Those Leaks
Since between 50 and 70 percent of energy use goes to heating and cooling homes, taking steps to conserve it is a top priority when making green home improvements. This first tip is one of the least expensive, and yet, most effective, for reducing energy use. All of those seemingly tiny air leaks around your doors and windows can lead to big-time heating loss and an inflated energy bill. Your first green home improvement should be sealing up these leaks with inexpensive weather stripping from your local hardware store. Sealing the ducts in your heating and cooling system is also important; the EPA estimates that 20 percent of the air flowing through the system escapes through leaks.
Insulate Your Home Properly
Proper insulation of the attic and other key areas of your house are also right up there on the list of improvements you should be making in your home. It is estimated that around 50 percent of the homes in the United States are under-insulated—this adds up to a lot of wasted energy and energy bills that are much higher than they need to be. Insulation is rated by something called an ‘’R’’ factor and the best type for your home will depend on various factors, such as your location; you can find out more information about that here.
Use the Sun to Your Advantage
The sun is a powerful source of energy that we can harness as a source of heat and light, cutting down on energy use. Consider getting a solar water heater or a solar attic vent fan. Skylights or sun tunnels are a great way to let more natural light into the home, which helps reduce lighting and heating use as well as provide a boost to your mood; certain types of glazing can also help keep rooms cooler, which will cut down on air-conditioning use. Installing certain types of overhangs on windows that get a lot of sun can also maximize the heating benefits.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat is one of the simplest ways to use energy more efficiently and put a dent in your heating and cooling bills. If you are one of those people who leave the heating or air on all day to ensure a comfortable temperature when you walk in the door, a programmable thermostat will allow you that same luxury without wasting tons of energy. You can program your settings for different days of the week and different times of day. You will save at least 10 percent on your energy bills and the planet will thank you.