Green changes aren’t about decor colour, but real ways for you to save money and live more comfortably. You’ll also feel better about your environmental footprint, without making wholesale changes to your lifestyle. Interested?
Concerns about the environment have never been more relevant, but how can you do your part to help the planet? The next time you start planning a few upgrades to your home, you should definitely consider making a few green changes.
Don’t be put off by the up front costs; once you go green, you’ll never go back because you’re making a killing in savings. Okay, maybe not a killing, but you’re certainly saving enough money to make your dream holiday a reality.
Whether you begin with a few minor green changes or jump straight into the big improvements, you can start your journey towards an environmentally-friendly home.
Green Changes: Improve Your Insulation
During winter, you expect your energy bills to go up because you’re turning up the thermostat to keep you home warm. Unfortunately, if your insulation is poor, you might as well be paying to heat the air outside your house. Effective insulation will slow the rate that heat escapes from your house in winter, and will also slow the rate that heat gets into your house during the summer.
Around 25% of heat lost from an uninsulated home goes through the roof, so it’s a good idea to hire a professional roof repair company to help you properly insulate your loft.
The last thing you want is to turn a money-saving project into an expensive repair if you do something wrong. Remember to cover your pipes with insulation, as this could prevent them from bursting in the middle of winter and causing you even more grief.
You should also add new insulation along your walls and ceiling for maximum efficiency. Use caulking or weather stripping to make sure doors and windows are properly sealed.
Once you have effectively insulated your home, you may also find that you don’t need to turn up your thermostat as much to compensate for the escaped heat.
Green Changes: Upgrade Your Windows
Windows are another culprit behind escaped heat. If your windows are old, leaky, and obviously made of wood then you might as well be paying to heat your front lawn. Research has proven that up to 18 percent of heat is lost through the windows, which means 18 percent of your money is going to waste.
Double-glazed glass with vinyl frames is more effective at keeping the heat trapped inside your house, which has the added benefit of keeping your thermostat fairly low, even in the middle of winter when you’d expect your heating bills to go up.
You could even make your double-glazing more effective by investing in tinted glass from Premier Tint or another window tinting company in your area; Residential window and glass tinting blocks solar heat out and prevents cool air from escaping, so your home stays cooler for longer, so your bills are manageable even in the summer.
Double-glazing not only helps with insulation but can help reduce damp and condensation in your home.
Green Changes: Maintain or Update Your Hot Water Service
Keeping your home well maintained will go a long way towards helping you retain its value over the years. One of the things you should definitely get serviced on a regular basis is your hot water service.
Older hot water systems are one of the worst offenders for wasting energy. They waste about 35 percent of the fuel it uses, it’s often unreliable, and it’s most likely reaching the end of its life. Once winter comes around, your family and your bills will thank you for investing in a newer, more energy efficient, boiler.
The main advantage of a modern hot water service is that they are all condensing systems, which means they have a larger heat exchanger, so they recover more heat, send cooler gases up the flue, and are more efficient.
Most modern systems allow you to set the temperature in each room separately, and shut off their radiator from the heating when the air around the valve reaches the desired temperature.
In the long run, you will save money on your heat and water bill, so the price won’t seem too steep if you think of it in those terms.
Green Changes: Invest in New Appliances
Big appliances like refrigerators don’t often get updated until they break down, perhaps because it always looks like it’s working just fine so it’s deemed an unnecessary expense.
But refrigerator technology has made dramatic strides since the 1970s. Modern appliances are more energy efficient than their predecessors, so you’re wasting more money by not buying a new fridge.
Any other eco-friendly appliances, such as dishwashers and washing machines, may seem expensive initially, but it is estimated that you will use a significantly less amount of energy with a green appliance than you will with its counterpart.
Over the course of time, you will save far more than what you invested in the new appliance.
Green Changes: Set the Correct Temperatures
Your refrigerator and freezer are probably the biggest electrical energy consumers in your house. Take steps to make sure they’re not working harder than necessary. Fridges do their job at around 37 Fahrenheit and freezers set at -3 Fahrenheit keep things nice and frosty.
Be sure to close the fridge and freezer doors as leaving them open for just a few extra seconds wastes a lot of energy.
You can save even more money by getting your internal heating under control. Get an electronic thermostat so your furnace heats your home to a lower temperature while the family sleeps and returns it to a toastier temperature before you get out of bed.
Green Changes: Install Solar Panels
Solar panels can save you a lot of money in the long run because they help your house generate its own electricity. Even if you don’t live in an area with high levels of sun, solar panels can still significantly cut your energy bills.
Not only will they save you money on heat and electricity, but they earn you a discount on your property tax. Ideally, you should hire professionals to fit them for you, but you can also save a bit of extra money by doing them yourself.