Environmentally-conscious home builders and buyers across the country are spending time and money to make their homes use less resources, have a smaller environmental imprint, and save money. Read about these green remodels and add-ons below.
TOP GREEN REMODELS
Installing energy saving materials
Modern wall insulation and windows are designed to retain more heat than their decades-old counterparts. The energy you save from these insulating products will both keep more money in your pocket and reduce the amount of carbon emissions pumped into the Earth’s atmosphere.
You can virtually eliminate your daytime lighting needs by installing skylights into your roof. In addition to lower electricity bills, skylights improve the aesthetics of your home by allowing warm sunlight to permeate even its furthest recesses.
Switching to a bioethanol fireplace
Bioethanol fireplaces provide all the warmth and charm of conventional fireplaces but do not release as many harmful and noxious gasses. These fireplaces burn very cleanly, and can therefore be placed in any housing unit – regardless of whether or not it has a chimney. Bioethanol is also renewable, because it is made of agricultural byproducts, thereby infinitely ensuring our access to it.
TOP GREEN HOME ADD-ONS
One way to reduce a home’s impact on the environment is to power it with electricity generated from renewable sources, i.e. solar and wind power. While these forms of power can be temperamental – a cloudy or windless day is all that is required to disrupt their ability to generate electricity – they do little to harm the earth.
Homes located in perpetually sunny regions like Southern California, New Mexico and Arizona are constantly being barraged by particles emitted by the sun. Prudent homeowners can install solar panels to tap into an endless supply of renewable energy. Solar panels are cheap to maintain, but they cost thousands of dollars to buy and install.
Any consistently windy place can host an environmentally-friendly power plant thanks to the [relatively] small and inexpensive varieties of wind turbines that are available to homeowners. The U.S. is the world leader in producing small, consumer-oriented wind turbines; these can generate up to 100 kilowatts of power (around 20 times the average American household’s electricity need) and be operated for decades. Their steep installation price – around $40,000 or more – is fortunately mitigated by federal tax incentives, which can be as large as $10,000.
Installing greywater systems
Research conducted by the University of California, Davis found that the average American uses 80-100 gallons of water every day, and that only 26% of this water can be considered wastewater. The remaining 74% is “greywater” – water that has been used but does not necessarily require treatment before it can be used again. Greywater systems distribute this water outdoors, so as to irrigate plants, or indoors, where it is used for toilet flushing.
Greywater systems significantly reduce households’ demand for water, and thus tax their ecosystem’s natural water cycle much less.
WHY YOU SHOULD MAKE YOUR HOME MORE GREEN
Help the earth
Regardless of how you feel about nature and the environment, you have to admit that humanity’s ability to survive as a species is wholly dependent upon the welfare of the ecosystems we inhabit. Making your home more environmentally friendly won’t save the Earth but it will help you do your small part to keep our planet healthy.
Lower your bills
An added bonus of helping the earth by using less electricity and water in your home is that your utility bills will go down. Most green certified homes save 25% on every utility bill; while this might not equate to a lot of savings in the short run, you can save thousands of dollars over the years you live in your home.
Increase the value of your home
Making your home environmentally friendly won’t necessarily result in a net financial loss. In addition to lowering the cost of your utility bills, green homes can sell for significantly more than their non-green counterparts. USA Today found that green homes in California sell for a whopping 9% more than equivalent, but less environmentally friendly, domiciles. This means that California homes with coveted “green certifications” were sold for an average of $35,000 than their markets suggested they should have.
In this way, making several thousand dollars worth of improvements to your home now could put tens of thousands of additional dollars in your pocket when it is time to sell your house.
Visit the RealEstate.com blog to read more about the remodels and additions you can make to make your home in order to be more environmentally friendly.