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Tips For Lowering Your Home’s Energy and Water Usage

Your home’s energy bill continues to rise to the degree of you exploring green living options. How can you make your home more energy-efficient without paying thousands for upgrades? Consider these tips for lowering your home’s energy and water usage.

Get Regular HVAC Maintenance

Your home’s efficiency begins with proper maintenance, which is critical to improving airflow throughout the home. Simply replacing your air filters every three to six months can reduce the air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5% to 15%.

It is also a good idea to have your HVAC system evaluated by a professional at least once per year. A certified specialist can give you a complete health report that tells you which components need to be changed. A report will also tell you how long you have until you need to replace the system entirely.

Make Improvements Outdoors

An energy-efficient roof is a great way to promote green living in your home. A green roof absorbs the heat from the sun to keep the residence warm during the winter months. Green roofs also help deflect excess sunlight that could lead to hotter days indoors during the summer months.

You may also consider using solar lighting outdoors. This option is affordable and can be controlled with motion sensors, which extend the lifetime of the system.

Solar panels are a great way to reduce energy costs as well. Many who choose solar paneling find themselves saving hundreds, or even thousands, on electric bills. It is even estimated that consumers and businesses can save as much as $20,000 per year on utility bills by going with solar panels.

Consider A Low Flow Toilet

Did you know that flushing the toilet is responsible for about 38% of your home’s water usage? Your water bill rises to even higher amounts if, like many families in the United States, you have more than one bathroom in the home.

Converting existing toilets to low-flow lavatories can save anywhere from two to five gallons per flush. You may also consider replacing your shower head while also fixing leaking faucets to further reduce your water bill.

Adjust Your Furniture

Placing your sofa underneath the vent is a good idea when you plan to watch television for hours. You may find yourself in a dilemma, however, when you move about your home while enjoying air conditioning or heat.

Rearranging your furniture is a good way to improve airflow and help lower your electric bill. You are more inclined to change the temperature on your thermostat when you feel like the home is not getting enough circulation. The reality, however, is that your sofa is probably consuming more energy by being in the direct path of the air.

Consider moving your big furniture items away from the vents. It may even be a good idea to leave the area in the path of vents open completely, so the air has full reign to flow through the home.

Consider Renovations With Good ROIs

The majority of Americans, about 61%, will choose to renovate a home instead of moving out entirely. Choosing improvements that contribute to better energy efficiency is a great way to tackle the problem of high electric bills.

Consider replacing single-pane windows with double or triple-pane windows. This improvement keeps the air flowing from the HVAC system inside the home.

Also, make certain to insulate your living space and the home’s attic with durable weather stripping. Sealing openings with caulk is also a great way to insulate for better energy efficiency.

Green living works to save the planet and money on your utility bills. Use these tips to make your home more efficient.

How to Become More Eco-Friendly in Construction Projects

The United States has a market share of 10% of the global construction industry and this makes it the second-largest construction market in the world. Yet, it doesn’t stop there, because this market is continuously showing new growth.

In 2017, the solar market advanced by 29.3%. Additionally, worldwide nations were installing 98.9% of new capacity gigawatt power for solar purposes. Whether you want to invest in solar or rely on recycled goods for your construction project, there are plenty of ways to make it eco-friendly. Let’s take a look at a few strategies that will help make your construction project a bit greener.

Advancing Our Health and Safety

Green living and sustainability in construction implicate the manipulation of building materials that are friends to the environment. These materials include the use of paints and solvents that are non-toxic. This eco-friendliness is how recreational areas, offices, and homes are designed.

When a construction company uses toxic solvents or paint during conventional construction, it may result in many health complications. These include, respiratory, migraines, skin disorders and many other issues. The use of eco-friendly materials has proven to be beneficial over extended periods for everyone involved.

Enhancing Techniques for Demolition

Eco-friendly practices also affect how construction companies discard the old materials they are replacing such as structural steel and concrete. These materials are no longer dumped into a landfill to pollute the earth; instead they are recycled. Facilities designed to recycle non-usable materials will crush everything up at an industrial crushing site.

Almost any construction materials can be recycled. This includes materials used for flooring, ceilings, and even carpet. Every time a contractor uses recycled material it offers them the opportunity for considerable savings on a project.

In addition, the use of recycled materials enables the construction company to deter additional expenditures related to dumping toxic materials. If you’re working with a project manager, who oversees all steps of the construction process, ask them about how they can recycle their materials. It can help their bottom line as well as the environment.

Using Materials Sourced Locally

A lot goes into the transporting aspect of shipping materials along long spaces. With an emphasis on green living in construction, materials that are being locally sourced are emphasized. This means that the construction process becomes more efficient as its carbon footprint is reduced. These companies are able to support local business by using materials that are near the area of the job site.

Recycling Water Whenever Possible

Another imperative part to viable construction is the conservation of water. Whether it is commercial, residential or industrial construction, when water can be conserved it proves beneficial. This means implementing such strategies as setting up a system for collecting rainwater. Recycled rain water is able to be useful for irrigating landscapes. HVAC water condensation may be gathered and also recycled. When we recycle valuable water sources we are taken advantage of a valuable resource that would otherwise go wasted.

Using the Wind and Sun

As technology advances, so does our knowledge of what the wind and sun can do in providing a solution to sustainability. Solar energy isn’t just a cheaper method of power, it also lowers our reliance on electricity and the grid. Homes and other buildings become a natural source for generating energy with the use of solar power.

Another green living option is the use of wind to create clean, renewable energy. Turbine farms have been created for the production of giving natural energy to any building. An advantage to using wind turbines for energy is that it needs little upkeep to keep it operating. Air quality is maintained indoors, as well as decreasing investments in utilities is an added asset to the use of wind turbines.

As we have just explained throughout this article, there are many advantages to using the planet’s resources. Green living allows us to improve our living conditions and not destroy the planet in the process.

How to Increase Your Home’s Resale Value While Staying Eco-Friendly

When you want to improve the value of your home, making eco-friendly upgrades will increase the value and provide you with a healthier environment for family and friends. Below are some ideas to consider to help improve the resale value of your home.

Figure What Is In Your Budget

Figure out what is in your budget before you begin to remodel. Homeowners often spend between 5,000 to 10,000 dollars to make changes to their homes. This was the standard amount spent in 2018 by consumers. Even if you do not have thousands to spend you can make small improvements that will improve the sustainability of your home. Try to decide what you want to improve before tackling the project Do you want to install energy-efficient appliances, add a tank-less water heater, paint the inside walls with eco-friendly paint made from natural materials, landscaping, and energy-efficient exterior doors. For major upgrades, you should contact local contractors that specialize in eco-friendly remodeling and installation.

Install Energy-Efficient Exterior Doors

Replacing outdated exterior doors on the house will save you money on your energy bills. The doors that you enter or exit the house should be energy efficient. This can save you 10% on your heating and cooling bills. Energy-efficient outer doors made from fiberglass save the most energy. Fiberglass looks like real wood and is designed for cold climates and humidity. Steel doors are stronger and wear well in dry climates. Unless you are handy, it is better to hire a contractor to install them. Steel doors can be insulated to retain heat and stay cooler in the warm weather. Double glass panes are often installed to reduce heat flow and magnetic strips reduce leakage of air in the house.

Make Your Landscaping Eco-friendly

Investing in hiring a landscaper improves the value of your home. If you are an experienced gardener, you can do the work yourself. Native plants from a local garden center grow better and use less water. Invest in planting native flowers, herbs, and vegetables in a small rain garden. A rain garden collects runoff water from your yard. Rain gardens attract butterflies and reduce soil erosion. Planting native trees and shrubs can help with cooling your home in the summer. Installing a drip irrigation system to water plants in the yard and lawn will cut the water bill by 50 percent.

Permeable pavers instead of concrete driveways and walkways allow water to go into the ground. Reusing stones and bricks for borders and wall counts are considered eco-friendly landscaping too. You should reduce the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Test the soil it may just need organic compost that you can buy and the organic pesticide that uses natural substances and have a lower level of chemicals. Over 60% of potential home buyers say a well-landscaped property is one of the things they look for in a home.

Install A Tankless Water Heater

The benefit of installing a tankless water heater is it only will use water when you need it. It can save you 30 to 50 percent on fuel costs. This device works when you turn on the tap and sensors detect water coming into the heater that has to be heated. They range in price from about $200 to $2,000 depending on the size and are gas-fired or electric. They should be installed by a professional. The benefits are they produce instant hot water, some are Wi-Fi compatible, and in time save money on water and fuels. They are compact about the size of a suitcase and hang on the wall.

Upgrade to Green Appliances

Consider buying energy-efficient appliances when you replace older models. They are refrigerators, dishwashers, air conditioners, stoves, washers, and dryers. These Energy Star appliances will save you on water and electricity. They reduce pollution and create sustainability in the home. When you buy an energy-efficient dishwasher it uses less water and reduces your water bill by 25%. An Energy Star refrigerator will decrease your electric bill. Refrigerators are an appliance that uses more electricity than others appliances. Energy Star is a label that appliances get when they meet government regulations for energy efficiency and reducing the use of water and electricity. They can reduce utilities by about 30% in the home. A minor kitchen remodel will have an 82.7% return on your investment.

These are some ways to make the eco-friendly upgrade to your home for a healthier home environment.

Tips For Building an Eco-Friendly Home

Creating a residential place for your family does not necessarily aim so much at perfection but authenticity. With the current transformation and changes that have taken place in the global climate, individuals who wish to build a home should ensure the houses constructed do not make our environment worse. Moreover, embracing a natural lifestyle is very beneficial to the human body, spirit, and mind.

What is an Eco-Friendly Home?

Eco-friendly homes are those built using materials and technologies that do not harm the environment further. For instance, a home that relies on wind and solar energy falls into this category. The current trend is taking a positive turn, where we have seen many people going for environmentally-friendly houses. However, some lack the knowledge to create such buildings. This detailed article will inform you about the best ways to build an eco-friendly home, whether you are constructing from scratch or renovating an old one.

Choose Timeless Finishes

vYou don’t have to feel limited when it comes to the finish you apply to your home. You can use outstanding finishes without sacrificing the house’s aesthetics. Years back, people looked forward to warm and welcoming spaces. However, today, to achieve environmentally-friendly abodes, it is recommendable to yearn for safe spaces conscious of our lives on earth.

When it comes to the interior d├ęcor, choosing colors, styles, and designs that do not require regular changing is a wise idea. The finishes should have permanence for you. For instance, using a matte black tapware finish on your kitchen cabinets can help them last up to 50 years. Therefore, do not look at how classic the finish is as long as it is timeless to you and it will serve you for years to come.

Make Sure Everything is Built to Last

Choosing sustainable materials for your construction is not an option if you want to achieve an environmentally-responsible home. Besides the aesthetic appeal, cost and life cycle are the other considerations to make when choosing the materials. Additionally, consider how easy it is to reuse or recycle the material. If you cannot reuse it, then disposing of that material in the future should not negatively affect the environment.

Many factors dictate the durability of a particular material. If you plan on having an underground tank, for instance, you should know that its construction, installation, soil conditions, and maintenance affect its lifespan. However, it can typically last for 20 years or more. Besides sustainability and cost reduction, having suitable construction materials reduces your exposure to life-threatening organic compounds and pollutants significantly. Some wall coverings, paints, and carpeting release toxic compounds that tamper with the air quality inside a house.

Considering the many hours you will be spending at home, it is advisable to minimize toxins’ exposure by getting healthier material alternatives. Using construction materials sustainably means their present use will not interfere with future use by affecting the environment or running out. Very few materials meet this requirement, and they are the ones you should get if you want an eco-friendly home.

Focus on Smaller Projects to Be Green and On-Budget

Small houses are not only eco-friendly but also cost-effective. Besides occupying a small footprint, a smaller home can save you a lot on the materials required and the energy consumed to warm or cool it down. In 2018, a report showed that the average monthly housing cost was $1,566. That shows the more extensive the home, the more money you spend on it. Statistics show that the average number [of people in an American home has gone down from 3.8 to 2.6, yet the home sizes have ballooned over time.

People need to understand that these improper size-to-occupant ratios are bringing additional issues to our environment. If we desire to achieve green projects, we should be ready to adhere to a more solid square-footage-per-individual code. However, we also need to shift our focus from total house size to proper usage of resources and quality green projects.

How to Reduce Your Household Waste and Be More Eco-Friendly in 2021

Although the complications associated with the COVID-19 pandemic may have held you back from achieving your resolutions for the past year, there’s no reason why you can’t set some new goals for 2021.

That’s especially true if your resolutions are home-related, since we’ll probably be sheltering in place for some time to come. While the home improvement industry grew by 5.5% in 2019, the need for Americans to stay home to stop the spread of the coronavirus has many of us fixating on how to make a number of property improvements.

But keep in mind that renovations aren’t the only way to get more out of what you have. If you’re determined to lead a greener lifestyle in the new year, you might want to start by reducing your household waste. With climate change continuing to worsen, it’s up to each individual to make positive changes to help the planet. Fortunately, these adjustments may have a relatively minor impact on your everyday life — but they can be significant for our environment. Here are just a few ways you can reduce your household waste and become more eco-friendly in 2021.

Install (or Overhaul) a Septic System

Homeowners need a reliable way to process their wastewater. Typically, you’ll have one of two options: connecting to a public sewer or utilizing a private septic system. More than 21 million U.S. households use septic systems, which are inherently more eco-friendly than sewer systems because they treat wastewater in a natural way. They also recycle water and can replenish water tables while benefitting local plant and wildlife. They’re typically pretty durable, as well, which means less material needs to be wasted on repairs or replacement.

However, proper installation and maintenance are key. Whether you’re making the switch to septic or you’re trying to make your current system more eco-friendly in the coming year, you should opt for trenchless repairs (which causes less harm to the environment) and follow all recommendations for proper use to avoid backups. You should also have routine maintenance performed and pump your tank regularly to ensure your septic system continues to run smoothly. While this won’t necessarily reduce how much wastewater needs to be cleaned, it can ensure that cleaning is more efficient and that you won’t have to waste resources in unnecessary ways.

Always Opt For Reusable Options

This might go without saying, but single-use items — like plastic bags, paper towels, cellophane, and plastic water bottles — represent a lot of waste. Eliminating or drastically reducing your use of these items in 2021 can help you keep a lot of garbage out of local landfills. There are plenty of reusable alternatives out there, like beeswax food wrap or reusable grocery bags and towels, that will give you more for your money and help you reduce the amount of garbage you produce. Don’t forget to snag some reusable insulated water bottles to start your new year out right!

Shop in Bulk When Possible

Packaging is a huge source of waste, but it feels inescapable when you shop online or at conventional grocery stores. Consider buying foods and personal care products in bulk whenever you can and supply your own containers or reusable bags. Buying in larger quantities can allow you to save money and stock up while creating a zero-waste experience. That said, don’t be tempted to buy things you don’t need (especially if they expire quickly!). Buy in bulk only when you know you’ll use the items and that they won’t be thrown away.

Start a Compost Pile or Bin

Food scraps and spoiled food represent a large percentage of household waste. But there’s a lot you could be put to better use in your garden. Make a resolution to start a compost bin or pile in the new year, as this will allow you to reuse unused produce, coffee, eggshells, and many other kinds of waste as fertilizer. Although most lawns require one inch of water each week, composting can really make your yard look its best. Plus, it’ll allow you to grow food right at home, which can often be less wasteful than buying items at the grocery store. Just make sure to research the items that can be safely composted before you begin.

While you might not be eager to set any goals for the new year, leading a less wasteful life can be its own reward — even in the midst of a pandemic. With these tips in mind, you can eliminate wasteful habits and reduce your environmental impact — all without disrupting your routine.