Tips for Investing in a Green Home Makeover

January 22, 2015 Updated: April 23, 2016

Are you ready for a green home makeover? Many people are starting to make the switch to a more natural and energy-efficient lifestyle. And it all starts at home, from adding green elements to your home’s design to using energy-efficient products and cleaning solutions. When you spend such as much time as you do at home, it’s important to lower your environmental impact and to provide a healthy atmosphere for your family. From cleaning with natural products to insulating your home better, here is a look at the ways to build and use technology to make your home greener and energy-efficient.

Lighting

One way to create a greener home is to change out your light bulbs with energy efficient ones. Trading just one incandescent bulb for a compact fluorescent bulb prevents over 400 pounds in emissions of greenhouse gases. If you don’t like the look of the energy-efficient bulbs, you can at least incorporate them into areas of the house that you don’t frequently spend time in like the attic or basement.

Cleaning

Rather than waste paper towels, consider switching to microfiber towels for cleaning. They last for a long time and are lint-free. And rather than using harmful chemicals like bleach, try using natural products like vinegar, salt, lemon juice and baking soda. I use vinegar in a spray bottle mixed with some peppermint or lavender essential oil and it works fabulously (smells good too!). You can make your own cleaning products with these ingredients or purchase store-bought products that are natural and non-toxic.

Technology

You can incorporate technological advances into your home to make it more energy-efficient, too. The most popular way to do this is by installing efficient heating and cooling systems. The most common equipment is ENERGY STAR. You’ll be replacing your old heating and cooling equipment with new, energy-efficient models. You can also invest in a programmable thermostat which will regulate your home’s temperature in the summer and winter while you are away from home or sleeping.

Another way to make your home greener is to update your plumbing to include low-flow plumbing fixtures. You’ll cut down on your water bill by conserving water on faucets, shower heads and toilets with the low-flow technology. Eco toilets can be more expensive at first but it will save you money over time, plus you can get last year’s model at a discount.

Insulation

You can have your home built with the right type of insulation from the start to make it easier. It is possible to change it out, but it’ll be more work. Using the right insulation will help reduce the amount of heat or air escaping through the walls, which means that you’ll lower utility costs. Once you do this be sure to upgrade your weather stripping and sealant around windows and doors.

Choose an ENERGY STAR HVAC system to save as much as $1000 a year on energy costs and make sure to place your heating and cooling systems into multiples zones throughout the home. It’s also useful to have energy-efficient windows installed when building your house to save on energy costs.

For your kitchen and laundry room, consider installing energy-efficient appliances like your washer and dryer, dishwasher and refrigerator. You can replace faucets with one that has a motion detection sensor to save on water costs and install water filters to improve the taste and quality of your water.

Install cabinetry and counter tops using recycled-content materials and use low-VOC sealants to protect the air quality in your home. Flooring can be made with recycled materials as well like bamboo.

Upgrading your home to be more energy efficient is well worth the investment. There are lots of programs out there to help cover some of the cost, too. In the U.S. You can look at Energy Loan. In the UK, you can look into Green Deal. In Australia, there’s the Go Green Home Loan. Pretty much anywhere you might live, chances are good there’s something available to help.

Your home can be greener and more energy-efficient by following these tips on natural cleaning ideas, lighting changes, energy-efficient technology and smart ways to build your next home that promotes a green lifestyle.