Residential homes consume 40% of all the energy usage in the U.S., and most of this usage comes from fossil fuels. A family of four can use up to 400 gallons of water and can pollute the environment with trash and hazardous chemicals. All this waste ends up flowing into rivers and oceans, severely harming the health of the planet. Making homes more eco-friendly can significantly reduce this excess waste and save you thousands of dollars. Here are eight ways you can make your home more eco-friendly.
Approximately 75% of houses feature roof shingles, which don’t offer much in the way to improve the health of the planet. If you’re looking for a durable roofing material that’s environmentally friendly and affordable, there are several options you can choose from. Your roofing choice will highly depend on your home’s design, personal preference, and cost of the material type you choose. White roofs keep your house cooler by reflecting the sun’s rays, which helps you reduce your summer energy bills by not having to run the air conditioner during the day.
Standing seam metal roofs are made completely from recycled materials and will last up to 50 years. They’re also fire resistant and ideal for those who like to collect rainwater for their garden. Reclaimed slate or clay roofs are considered the most eco-friendly option and can last up to 100 years. Rubber roofing is resistant to storms and can hold up for around 50 years. Corrugated roofing and wood shakes are also strong green alternatives for environmental health.
Eco Friendly Water Options
The average family uses over 300 gallons of water every single day. If you have a leaky faucet, you could be wasting over 3,000 gallons of water every year, which equates to a loss of 180 showers worth of water. Look for faucets, showerheads, and toilets that have a WaterSense label to cut down the amount of water use in your house. Fix any leaks as soon as you notice them. Inspect your plumbing on a regular basis.
You can also do your part for improving the health of the planet by changing up your daily habits. Just by shortening your shower time by one minute, you can save about 150 gallons each month. When brushing your teeth, turn the water off. It can save you about $70 per year. Washing dishes by hand consumes less water and electricity than relying on the dishwasher.
Upgrade Your Lighting
Upgrading to LED lighting can save you up to 75% in energy use and it lasts 25% longer than incandescent lighting. You can even use lighted mirrors to help you save energy. Besides making rooms twice as deep, lighted mirrors can save you up to 60% in energy usage and pay for themselves within five years. Install dimmer switches to control how much lighting you use. Always turn off the lights whenever you leave a room.
Purchase Energy Efficient Appliances
Large appliances can be major sources of energy waste. Purchase appliances that have an ENERGY STAR label, which can save you up to 25% in energy use. Keep your refrigerator and freezer full and make sure the seals aren’t damaged. Use the cold water setting when using the washing machine and only run full loads. Consider using a dryer that has a moisture sensor that will automatically turn the dryer off when clothes are at a certain level of dryness.
Consider Rooftop Solar Panels
Photovoltaic solar panels are relatively inexpensive and can heat or cool your home for free. The energy you produce during the day from the panels can be exchanged with your energy provider during the day and you can get the energy back at night when you’re not producing it. Solar thermal panels store accumulated energy during the day and are mainly used to heat up water for heating. If you have a large family or house, this can be an ideal energy-saving and environmentally friendly option.
Reduce Electronic Device Usage
Energy waste from electronics costs consumers around $8 billion every year. These devices can still use 85% of their power in standby or sleep mode. You can reduce energy usage by switching from desktop computers to laptops and making sure they are shut off completely when you go to bed. Plug electronics into smart power strips that will automatically turn the power off when they’re not in use.
Install High Performance Windows
About half of your home’s energy loss is through your windows. High-performance windows can make a significant difference with their newer technologies to combat energy loss. These technologies include things such as special coatings, nonconductive framing materials, and double glazing. Replacing your windows can boost environmental health with better energy efficiency and noise reduction. You can also improve energy efficiency by making sure windows are properly sealed.
If you live in a warmer climate, look for windows that facilitate ventilation and have low solar gain. This will drastically reduce the amount of heat that is conducted through your windows into the interior of your home. For those who live in colder climates, make sure you get well-insulated frames which have the lowest U-value, which measures the rate of heat flow through a part of a building. You can also look for triple glazed windows with a tight fit to minimize heat loss and eliminate drafts.
Use A Programmable Thermostat
One of the most popular eco-friendly options is a programmable thermostat. This will allow you to automatically regulate your home’s temperature based on predetermined settings for certain times during the day. It will lower the temperature for you when everyone is sleeping or away during the day. This will save you money and reduce your energy usage.
The interest in environmentally friendly homes are continuing to rise as more resources are being introduced every day. By making your home more eco-friendly, you can protect the health of the planet and save money at the same time. Reduce your carbon footprint by following these tips and you’ll make a huge impact far into the future.