In 2018, we can’t ignore the environmental issues around us anymore. Non-renewable resources are depleting at an alarming rate while we immensely under-utilize renewable, practically free ones. The sun that shines above, the wind that blows and the rain that falls are all there waiting for us and all we have to do is make the most of them. Turning to green solutions brings numerous benefits, both to our planet and to us.
People opt for home improvements all the time, be it DIY or a larger remodel. These are always a great way to upgrade your living space; however, to make it even better and make a change in your immediate environment, think about implementing a few eco-friendly features in your home. They will save you a ton of energy and money! Read on to learn how.
Switching to solar energy
One of the best energy-efficient improvements you could implement is definitely introducing solar energy into your home. While it is also one of the bigger investments on this front, in the long run, these solar panels pay for themselves. They provide you with clean energy that will reduce your reliance on the grid (perhaps even eliminate it completely), and you will soon notice your energy bills shrinking.
Making the most of natural light
Another way in which you can utilize sunlight is by making it the primary way of lighting in your home. There are several ways to achieve this. You can start by replacing some of your windows with large models and double or triple glazed glass – they will ensure maximum illumination while keeping the space well-insulated. If you’re not afraid to go for bigger remodels, consider an open floor plan to let the light flow naturally, without obstacles throughout the space. However, to take it a step further, you can even think about skylights and sun pipes or solar tubes. While skylights have a couple of limitations due to their placement, sun pipes or solar tubes are designed in a way to “transport” light to even the darkest corners of your house.
Reducing your cooling bills by introducing some shade
On the other end of the spectrum, sunshine is not always welcome, at least not everywhere. When you want to enjoy the beautiful summer weather in the comfort of your own garden, there is nothing worse than a lack of shade. However, you’d be surprised just how much money a couple of awnings can save you besides protecting you from the harmful UV rays! The sun glaring through your windows is responsible for a large portion of your cooling bills, especially if you live in a warm climate such as Australia! In addition, it can very well ruin your outdoor furniture on your deck or patio. Brands such as Oztech offer retractable awnings for your outdoor seating areas as well as window awnings to keep your indoors cool and your electricity bills low – you can choose according to your needs.
Cutting back on water consumption with low-flow fixtures
Water is another precious resource we should be more careful with. This can be easily achieved by switching to low-flow fixtures, including faucets, shower heads and toilets. Don’t worry, this won’t diminish their performance at all; however, they can help you use as little as half the amount of water than before. While low-flow fixtures can be slightly more expensive than their regular counterparts, it’s worth extending your bathroom renovation budget slightly. A low-flow toilet, for example, can pay itself off in as fast as three years, by saving about 20,000 gallons of water a year for a family of four.
Keeping your lawn fresh and green while not wasting water
Especially during summer months, those with a green thumb and a lovely garden tend to use a substantial amount of water on irrigation, which is only understandable if you want to grow vegetables and herbs such as lemon mint, for instance. A single garden improvement – namely, a rainwater harvesting irrigation system – can improve your efficiency in this department. The best thing about this improvement is that, if you have a knack for DIY, you can set it up yourself. Using as much of the rainwater for these purposes as possible will cut down your water bills considerably.
Upping the insulation
Insulation has already been mentioned earlier, however, its importance cannot be emphasized enough. This home improvement endeavour can be as small as a DIY project or you can completely re-assess the current insulation of your home. An area that you should pay special attention to is the attic – this is where a lot of the generated heat is lost if it’s not insulated properly, which can wreak havoc on your heating bills in the winter. Insulating your water heater can also reduce your energy expenditure. Finally, find leaks and seal them – you can easily do this yourself.
There are numerous ways in which even simple home and garden improvement projects can reduce your expenses and ecological footprint. From reducing your energy expenditures by making use of solar energy, sunlight, insulation and awnings all the way to consuming less water by being more conscious of our habits, every single household has the opportunity to make a change – a much-needed one.