There are quite a few awesome projects that can help people make their homes more eco-friendly. In this article, we discuss a range of projects from DIY to major construction. These options can help people live a greener lifestyle.
1. Switch to CFL Bulbs or Go LED
Switching from conventional incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) is an easy project. This simple eco-fix has big rewards. CFLs tend to use about 75 percent less energy, so they pay for themselves over time and still help homeowners reduce their electrical usage.
LED bulbs are even more energy efficient than CFLs. Some have ratings for ten-year usage. So in addition to saving energy, you also save resources because you don’t have to replace the LED bulbs as often.
2. Replace Your Lawn with a Garden
A lawn is a huge sink of resources, including water, time, and money. Sure, lawns look nice, but they affect your monthly budget in a negative way. A garden, however, is a positive investment because it pays for itself by decreasing water usage, and if you go organic, there is a decrease in chemicals too. If you plant vegetables, you can decrease your food costs as well.
3. Slay the Vampires
Vampire appliances are sneaky. They suck energy in unsuspecting ways. That blinking clock on the VCR — sucking up energy. That laptop power cord that is warm — sucking up energy. Computers that are turned off — sucking up energy. A good tip: Put them all on a power strip and then shut off the power strip. No power, no vampire appliances.
4. Plant a Shade Tree
If your house gets hot in summer, plant a shade tree. Trees help block the sun and shade your home. Over time, this will help decrease the use of your HVAC system. Some species of trees grow much faster than others, but if you are going the eco route, try to plant a native tree. Trees also increase property value.
5. Invest in Insulation and HVAC Duct Sealing
A big energy consumer is your HVAC system. You can reduce the energy usage of your home’s HVAC system by making sure that your home has enough insulation. Since insulation helps keep the hot summer air out as well as keeping warm air in during the winter, having proper insulation can save money and energy and help the environment.
Making sure that your HVAC system’s ductwork is well-sealed is also cost-effective. The air that bleeds off from the ducts due to poor fit or holes in the duct work represents wasted energy. A simple test by your HVAC maintenance company can help identify duct issues.
6. Go Solar
There are many benefits for homeowners in switching from electricity produced by burning coal or gas to electricity produced by a solar collector. Some states offer incentives to make the switch, and government incentives include solar certificates that you can sell.
It is worth the time to investigate the pros and cons of solar energy for your area. Going solar is not only good for most homes, but also for your community and the environment.
7. Invest in Energy Efficient Windows
Windows are a huge source of heat infiltration during the summer months and heat loss during the winter months. Replacing the windows in your home with energy-efficient units saves energy, and reducing energy usage is an awesome way to decrease your carbon footprint. If your windows are old, check for incentives and tax credits for replacing them. There are even Energy Star windows with ratings for efficiency.
8. Change the Color of Your Roof
Next time the roof on your home needs replacing, consider a specialized energy tile instead of a traditional roofing tile. These are colored units that work with the position of the sun. In summer, the brighter colors reflect incoming solar radiation away from your home and help to keep it cool. In winter, the darker colors absorb incoming solar radiation, helping to warm your home naturally.
If you are ready to take the green plunge and make your home more eco-friendly, then these eight projects offer some amazingly cost-effective ways to do it.