We all wish we had green homes, right? Right! Who wouldn’t want an efficient home that saves energy and dollars? The sad fact of the matter is that it’s not possible for everyone. For current homeowners, the market is down and they may not want to sell their existing home and lose money on their investment. The problem is that energy costs are still going up, regardless of how poorly (or well) the market is doing. Even for current green homeowners, it is possible that something was overlooked in their efficiency design. So what can one do to work with what they already have, and make it more efficient? Here are a few low-cost green renovations that you can do, which will yield a great return on investment. Not only will you be saving money, but you’ll be saving resources like energy and water as well.
- Switch out your light bulbs – If you’ve still got your standard, run-of-the mill old school light bulbs, it’s time to switch them out. Switch to either LED or CFL (compact fluorescent) light bulbs. Be aware, however, that CFL light bulbs contain mercury. You’ll want to get bulbs that are advertised as having low mercury, and you will need to dispose of old CFL bulbs properly (i.e. take them to a CFL recycling center).
- Switch to WaterSense plumbing – for example, you can switch to high-efficiency toilets or low-flow showerheads and faucets.
- Switch to EnergyStar appliances – Most, if not all, of your most basic home appliances can be found today with EnergyStar certifications. You can upgrade everything from your refrigerator, your ceiling fans, your dishwasher, your washer and dryer, and so on.
- Insulate Yourself – Poor insulation is the number one culprit of energy waste. Make sure your water heater is insulated as well as your pipes. Check for insulation leaks in your windows, doors, and attics, and insulate those as well.
- Get A Home Energy Audit – A home energy audit can find things you can’t. There are now hundreds of companies that offer these services. Ask for an audit today, and see if there are some things you need to fix to become more efficient. If so, you should have a licensed contractor (preferably one who is familiar with green home building and standards) remedy any issues that may have been found during the audit.