What are green renovations, and how do they impact the quality of life in my home? Green renovation is modifying an existing space or structure that utilizes sustainably sourced materials to ensure a “green” energy-efficient and environmentally friendly home.
As a homeowner, there are many benefits of going green in your home. Below are some green renovation projects you can implement to upgrade your existing home. If you are building a new home, you can still ask for some of these if they aren’t standard equipment.
1. Adopt Solar Technology
Solar energy is one of the most common green renovations that homeowners are rushing to accomplish. You can purchase and install (or have professionally installed by a contractor) solar panels on your roof, which will then take advantage of the natural sunlight to power your home. Consequently, solar panels and solar energy reduce your reliance on electricity from your local utility company, saving you money. In some cases, you may even generate enough electricity to sell power back to the power company.
You can also purchase solar-powered products in your homes, such as solar lights or solar shades, to minimize carbon emissions and utility bills.
Fortunately, many countries, for example, Canada, the US, and the UK offer incentives such as tax credits, rebates, among others, for homeowners who install solar panels and products in their homes.
Apart from solar power, other renewable energy systems include wind electric, geothermal, micro-hydropower and hybrid electric (wind and solar), which can help you achieve independence and help the environment.
2. Use Energy-efficient Appliances
You don’t have to spend a lot to build an eco-friendly home. A simple way to make your house greener is to replace your old appliances with new efficient ones as the old ones break down. Look for Energy Star certified appliances. Home appliances account for an estimated 15% of a home’s energy use. New, more efficient appliances will reduce your energy consumption.
Green renovations don’t actually have involve a contractor and tearing your house apart. You can simply upgrade some products in your home and start enjoying the savings.
3. Replace Older Lighting
This is an easy way to reduce energy usage. While this isn’t necessarily a home renovation, it’s a simple, affordable and quick way to make your home more efficient with an investment of time and a small investment of money.
If you still have older incandescent or even compact fluorescent (CFL) light bulbs in use, switch them out with much more efficient LED bulbs. The price for LED bulbs has dropped considerably in the last few years, making them an easy choice. LED bulbs also last longer and emit much less heat.
You may have some lighting fixtures that don’t accept standard bulbs. In those cases, swapping them out with new efficient fixtures would be a great use of your remodeling expenditures.
4. Upgrade Your Basic House Insulation
Poor house insulation and air leaks through the doors and windows are some primary reasons for your high energy bills. If you intend to sell your house in the future, keep in mind that prospective buyers will take your insulation into consideration if a home inspection finds it lacking.
If you plan to start a complete house renovation project, consider making some changes to your insulation. For instance, add extra insulation to your attic or seal cracks around your windows. New types of insulation are available including foam and cellulose and these be worth investigating as viable upgrades to fiberglass insulation.
Radiant barriers are another type of insulating material you can install in your home. It reduces the amount of radiant heat entering your home and “can reduce cooling costs 5% to 10% when used in a warm, sunny climate,” according to Energy.gov. Other types of insulation reduce conductive and convective heat, rather than radiant heat.
By upgrading your insulation, you can save potentially hundreds of dollars yearly on energy costs. It can also help maintain cozy indoor temperatures and make your home appealing to prospective buyers. Green home improvements like this make good financial sense.
5. Switch your Decoration to Plant-based Décor
Photos and paintings are a good idea when decorating a house. However, a better idea is decorating using flower pots and other potted plants. Flowers are beautiful and will add color to your decoration. You can also plant a few refreshing herbs in pots and hang them in different parts of the house or on the patio.
Plants give out plenty of oxygen to increase indoor air quality, especially where you have poor ventilation. Plant are also a good idea for a food source. You can switch some junk or processed foods with some healthy vegetables from your own plants. You’ll improve your health in the process!
6. Renovate your Windows, Doors, and Skylights
With the different features available for skylights, doors, and windows today, you can increase the energy efficiency and performance of these components by replacing old with new. You can also introduce more natural light to your home. By using the proper window selection and installation techniques, you can minimize heating, lighting, and cooling costs and improve comfort.
Replace leaky windows or single pane windows with double or even triple pane windows to reduce energy loss in your home. Also, consider installing Low-E or low-emissivity windows. Low-E windows have a coating that allows them to reduce both ultraviolet and infrared light that penetrate the glass, thereby reducing heating from the sun. Light still enters the windows, but reduces heating. It’s like sunglasses for your home!
The front door is often ignored by homeowners when deciding on sustainable renovation ideas. Compared with wood doors, steel doors provide better insulation and are energy-efficient. Also, the bottom seal on doors can become compromised over time, allowing excessive air to pass through. Check this regularly and replace when necessary.
Upgrading your old patio doors to thicker and better-insulated models, or by adding a storm door, is another way you can regulate your home temperature and provide a reduction of energy bills.
Green renovations like window upgrades do two things: One, they save you money and two, they give you a more comfortable home.
7. Replace Your Tank Water Heater with a Tankless Water Heater
That giant water heater in your basement or other part of your home is constantly heating water, even when you aren’t at home using water. Why waste all that money? A tankless water heater only heats the water when you actually use hot water.
Tankless water heaters are more expensive to install, but they will save you money each year on heating costs. Also, they take up less room and won’t cause a catastrophic leak like so many tank heaters.
A green and energy-efficient home benefits your health, quality of life around the home, and the environment. It also impacts your home resale value since most prospective buyers opt for sustainable homes. If you are planning on home improvements, consider green renovations as a means of saving costs, increasing home energy-efficiency, and making your home a better place to live in.
Want to make your home greener?
Contact Halcyon Remodeling for a free estimate on any of the ideas listed above. We can help you make your home more efficient. Whether you want new windows, better insulation or want to remodel a kitchen or bathroom, we are here to help.