As a homeowner, you have a lot of control over your environmental footprint. Unlike renters, you don’t have to put up with energy-hogging appliances or drafty windows. You can upgrade your appliances, choose sustainable building materials, compost in the backyard, grow your own vegetables, and even generate your own energy with the help of the sun.
There are so many ways to make your home more sustainable—and healthier for your family, too! Here are some tips to make your home more environmentally friendly.
Upgrades to Increase Your Home Value
While making eco-friendly home upgrades may cost some money upfront, there’s a good chance your improvements will save you money in the long run. For example, replacing old appliances with eco-friendly models can reduce your energy bills significantly.
Certain eco-friendly home renovations will also increase your home value! Installing energy-efficient appliances, updating your windows and doors, choosing non-toxic flooring, and insulating your attic will pay off when it comes time to sell. Just be sure to keep track of your improvements so you can quantify your home’s increase in value. Pictures and receipts will do.
House-Hunt with Sustainability in Mind
Are you thinking about buying a new eco-friendly home? Keep an eye out for features that will help you reduce your energy and water consumption. Look for Energy Star-rated appliances, programmable thermostats, radiant floor heating, and low-flow toilets. Bonus points if the home already has solar panels!
Homes that are heated with geothermal systems tend to be far more efficient than those with HVAC systems, but these systems can be expensive to install. If you find a home with geothermal heating, snap it up! You’ll save between 40% and 75% on your heating and cooling costs with a geothermal system.
Make Upgrades with Eco-Friendly Material
If moving doesn’t make sense right now, look for ways to retrofit your home with eco-friendly upgrades. Be sure to choose sustainable building materials when making your construction decisions. For example, MYMOVE suggests buying reclaimed wood to use in your renovation projects. If you plan on knocking down walls, try to save and reuse materials instead of completely demolishing everything.
You can also find pre-owned materials in local buy-and-sell marketplaces. For example, Facebook Marketplace is a great place to find cabinets, windows, appliances, and light fixtures.
Divert Your Waste from Landfills
Every year, the average American sends 1,000 pounds of household waste to landfills. That’s a lot of garbage! Sadly, this waste emits hazardous toxins and greenhouse gasses that contribute to global warming and destroy wildlife habitats. Not to mention the fact that throwing stuff away is a waste of the natural resources used to produce the discarded items in the first place.
Do your part to divert as much material from the landfill as possible. Reducing food waste is a good place to start. Stick to a list when you go grocery shopping, get in the habit of using up your leftovers, and learn how to store food properly.
There are many other ways to reduce the amount of waste your household produces:
- Compost your food scraps instead of throwing them in the trash.
- Shop with reusable bags.
- Carry a reusable water bottle around with you.
- Use reusable rags and cloths instead of paper towels.
- Buy fresh fruits and vegetables with little to no packaging materials.
- Store your food in reusable containers instead of using plastic baggies, cling wrap, or aluminum foil.
- Know how to recycle your waste responsibly.
Live Better with Less Stuff
The best way to keep waste out of the landfill is to reduce your consumption. Break up with consumerism and learn how to live a simpler life with less stuff. Buying fewer things will help you save money, reduce clutter, and protect the planet. It’s a win-win!
Chances are, you don’t need to keep buying many of the consumables you’ve always kept around the house. Dryer sheets, for example, are terrible for the environment—and they’re not good for your clothes or your dryer, either. Wool dryer balls are a great alternative! They’re biodegradable, antimicrobial, and can last for years.
Shop Secondhand When Possible
Buying second-hand items is a great way to save money while rescuing products from the landfill. Reader’s Digest explains that gently-used items can still have a long lifespan. For example, many people sell exercise equipment in very good condition after falling off an intended exercise regimen. You can also find high-quality hand tools, tech gadgets, kitchen appliances, sports gear, furniture, clothing, bikes, and musical instruments for sale on used marketplaces.
Replace Your Lawn with Eco-Friendly Alternatives
If you have a large lawn, you know just how much water and maintenance is required to keep your grass looking good. Unfortunately, traditional grass lawns aren’t very sustainable. Beyond the heavy water usage and reliance on gas-powered mowing tools, many people also use chemical pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers on their lawns.
Are all that time, money, and environmental damage worth it to have a perfectly groomed patch of grass that offers very little in return? Instead, try turning your lawn into an eco-friendly landscape! Replace grass with low-maintenance creeping plants that are native to your region or plant a large garden and grow fresh vegetables for your family.
You can also plant shrubs and trees to support your soil and offer a habitat for local wildlife. As an added bonus, trees will offer shade in the summer and wind protection in the winter, reducing your home’s heating and cooling needs. Planting trees around your property will also reduce the rate of water evaporation on your lawn, so you won’t have to water as often.
There are so many ways to live a greener life as a homeowner. Whether you’re looking for budget-friendly solutions or you’re ready to break ground on some major home renovations, your home upgrades and lifestyle changes will have a positive impact on the planet!