6 Easy Eco Friendly Upgrades to Your Home

How to make your home eco friendly, Eco friendly home improvements, Eco friendly home design, How to turn your house green

Every day we find ways to be just a little bit more clever with our efforts to improve our sustainability. Once upon a time, a totally “green” house was one in which the family recycled and turned off the water while they were brushing their teeth. Today, things are much different. Recycling and turning off the water is the least you can do. If one of your goals is to get your home up-to-date in terms of its sustainability and carbon footprint reduction, here are some of the things you can do.

1. Rain Barrels

With all of that perfectly good water falling right out of the sky, why are you relying so much on the water supplied to you through your municipal connection? Collecting rain water (both in free standing barrels and in containers you hook up to your home’s gutter system) is a fantastic way to reduce your reliance on the municipal water supply as well as protecting the land surrounding your home from excessive flooding and erosion. You can’t (well, you shouldn’t–at least not without a filter) drink it, but you can use it to water plants, wash windows and cars, clean off your driveway, etc. If you want to take everything to the next level, consider installing a water filter and you can even drink it.

2. Update Your Lighting

A few years ago CFL bulbs were the “up to the minute” technology in green lighting. While CFLs do last longer than fluorescent or incandescent lights, they also contain mercury which can be very dangerous. A better and more up-to-date option is to use LED lighting. LED light bulbs come in all shapes and sizes. You can even get LED energy saving products from AM Conservation Group for your garage and any commercial spaces you own–and they last longer while using less energy than CFLs. Plus, in addition to being mercury-free, they are also bright right away. No more waiting for the bulb to “warm up” to its advertised wattage!

3. Install Solar Panels

Solar panels are no longer the giant and unsightly monsters you remember. Newer solar panels use less silicon, are lighter weight and are more flexible. They are also easier to afford. Solar roof panels (or those stand up panels you could install out in the yard) aren’t the only way to harvest solar energy anymore but they are still really efficient and the backbone of a truly eco-friendly home.

We should also add that there are window panes that harvest solar energy while also protecting the inhabitants of your house from the heat and UV rays of the sun. These windows are great for temperature regulation and a reduction in energy consumption.

4. Security Systems

Most people use security systems to protect their homes against burglars and vandals. It’s also possible to use a security system to monitor your home’s energy consumption. Newer security systems can “sense” when someone is in a room or not. They can “learn” your family’s habits and then apply those habits to your home’s energy supply. For example, during the day when everyone is typically at work or school, the security system will cut off power to all of the parts that don’t absolutely need it (so, basically, only your fridge and the system continue to consume energy). This eliminates “ghost energy” that drives up your power bill. They can also be programmed to adjust temperatures at certain times and to turn off lights and heat in rooms that aren’t being used (which helps if you have kids who forget to turn off the lights when they leave a room). At the end of the year you end up with more money in your pocket and you do help the environment.

5. Energy Efficient Appliances

It is not at all difficult to find appliances that meet Energy Star requirements and that automatically bring down electricity bills. What you need to do is research the models that are available on the market based on the manufacturer. You can find great deals on refrigerators or dishwashers on the internet.

Since we are talking about energy efficiency, look out for various modifications that can be done and that can bring in the power bill. There are more options available than what was just mentioned above. If possible, see if there are alternatives to the AC unit that you would want to install. Sometimes a ceiling fan is all you need.

6. Recirculating Water Pumps

You cannot have an eco-friendly home without being aware of how much water is wasted every single day. A recirculating water pump is a great addition to any house. It is installed right under the sink and will deliver your hot water instantly. You do not need to wait for it to get hot and can save around 3 to 5 gallons on each use. This is something that does add up a lot as the year passes. At the same time, consider installing a low-flow toilet that only uses up to 1.6 gallons on every single flush. Add an aerating showerhead that can save thousands of gallons per year and you can save a lot of water as the year goes buy.

Conclusions

These are just some of the adjustments you can make to your home to improve your sustainability and bring your home into the new millenium with regards to energy savings and consumption tools. They don’t however, negate the need for the “old fashioned” stuff. So! Keep recycling. Keep composting. Strip old paint and up up a new, low VOC paint. Use energy efficient appliances. Only wash full loads and dry your clothes on a line. You know the drill!

It is our responsibility to protect nature as much as we can. All the upgrades mentioned above can end up costing a lot at first but nobody says that you should add them all at once. Just take it one step at a time and turn your house into a completely eco-friendly home. It is a lot easier than you may believe and new helpful products appear every single month.

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About the Author: Vijay

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