When the warm weather finally gets here, many people like to fix up their homes, making them more energy efficient and eco green. By making our homes more environmentally friendly, we are investing in our future. There are so many ways to invest money in your home, so I will list the 10 most popular. Please make sure that you recycle, reuse and renew where you can, so you are not contributing to our landfills needlessly.
- Installing a Low Flow Toilet, is one of the first things people start with, when making improvements to their home. Consider a dual flush, low flow toilet, so you are conserving more water with every flush. Low flow faucets are good for conserving water too, so try to do both at the same time.
- Rain Barrels are very inexpensive and great for conserving water for your garden. If you can find one with a copper lining, it will help cut down on the bacteria that can collect in rain barrels. Remember if you live in a cold climate, to drain it, and store it in the garage or garden shed.
- Painting your place is one of the fastest and easiest ways to liven up and change the feel of your home. Look for paints that are labelled No VOC’s or Low VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) so you are not polluting your indoor environment. Check with your local hardware store, and ask lots of questions to ensure you are getting an earth friendly product.
- Solatubes are installed on the roof of your home, and connected to any room in your home. They are lined with spectralight infinity which is a highly reflective material that bounces the daylight down the tube into the room. Many people install solatubes in kitchens, bathrooms, living rooms and even bedrooms, as it is a great way to add some natural day light and warmth to a room.
- Electricity consumption can be trimmed back with a Master Switch that turns the power off to all your home’s appliances with a flick. They have split receptacles that allow necessity appliances like an alarm clock to maintain the time, without cutting the power to it.
- Properly insulating a home will make you more comfortable in cold weather, and can easily save you money on your heating bills. Consider insulation made from recycled denim that is treated with benign borax to make it fire retardant. It can easily be cut with a sharp knife, which makes it a great handy man project.
- Heat loss through windows is another area that we should all be looking at. Consider windows with Low E insulating glass options to keep your home more comfortable. Low E is a thin, transparent metallic coating on the inside surface of the insulating glass, which permits visible light to pass through and reflects the ultraviolet rays, which usually fade the interior floor coverings, drapes and furnishings.
- Radiant Floor Heating is great for heating a home, and if a room is not in use, you can turn off the heat to that room. You have a choice of two types of radiant heat – electric or hydronic. Electric is the least efficient heating source, but is the choice for locations without gas. Electric radiant heat can be retro fit to existing homes with little effort. Hydronic is great if you are building a home as it takes more planning and can be more expensive.
- Eco green kitchen renovations usually bring in large profits when selling your home, so do your homework before you invest your money. There are many variables when it comes to products, so look for low or no VOC paint, environmentally friendly flooring, cupboards, and counter tops that fit your budget. Depending on where you live can determine what is available for eco green products. Here are a few that I found – recycled glass for counter tops, salvaged wood or bamboo for cupboards, and bamboo, rubber, cork for your flooring.
- Many people dream of getting of the electric grid, and putting their savings towards paying off their mortgages. Solar panels provide clean energy, and are classified as renewable energy. Your average Solar Panels are photovoltaic (PV) systems. They convert sunlight directly into electricity. Depending on where you live, and how much sun your part of the country receives, if there are extreme weather conditions, and how much energy your family requires, will determine how much solar panels will cost.
You need to install your solar panels on the most southern facing spot of your roof, unimpeded by shade, where the solar modules can be angled above the horizon. It is important to note that homes that have renewable energy, sell faster and for more money then homes that are completely on the grid.
There are several other things you can do to become more environmentally friendly, depending on where you live. If you don’t already have a recycling bin, then that is another really simple thing to set up and start using. Organic vegetable gardens are always popular, and if you live in an apartment, consider a container garden for tomatoes and herbs. I have a combination of both, and grow my lettuce in pots on my patio, with carrots in a flower bed, and my squash vegetables in the back yard, where they get lots of sunlight.
For more information on any of these topics, please purchase “Simply Going Green In 3 Years or Less”, which provides you with links to products and government grants available in your area, which you may qualify for.
Kaayla Canfield is the author of “Simply Going Green In 3 Year or Less”, which you can purchase at http://www.simplygoinggreen.ca This book is written in an easy to use format, which is presently being used by home owners, schools and businesses throughout North America.