Making a home more eco-friendly is easier than ever and there are many options that do not involve costly renovations. There are many benefits for both the planet and homeowners as far as offering comfort, durability, lower energy bills and an increase in value when it comes to reselling a home. Here are a few simple tips to make a home more eco-friendly:
Smart Home Technology
There are new smart home devices that will let you turn your lights, radio, or just about anything you plug into the wall on and off from anywhere in the world using your smartphone. There are smartphone-controlled wall outlets, slow cookers, humidifiers and more. Many home improvement stores have started to stock entire sections with smart phone products, making them even easier to find.
In contrast to LEED certification, which is based on how green the construction process was, a passive house is graded based on how energy-efficient it is expected to be when there are people living in the home. “A passive house minimizes heating and cooling needs because it is sealed air-tight, meaning temperature-controlled air doesn’t leak out,” explains Ewen Utting, a passive-house builder in San Francisco.
Converting an existing home into a fully passive home could likely require a complete renovation, but there are smaller ways to save energy by replacing outside door thresholds, replacing old windows with new double- or triple-pane windows, or covering existing panes with a reflective coating that will deflect heat in the summer months.
Volatile organic compounds are chemicals found in many paints and building materials that easily vaporize and represent health risks. There have been low-VOC or no-VOC paints on the market for some time, which have been the choice for those opting for a more eco-friendly route. Some say these labels have been too ambiguous and it’s better to choose paints that are no-VOC and don’t contain solvents, such as ethylene glycol, acetone, or formaldehyde.
The most eco-friendly backyard features plant and grass species that are native to the area where you live, because they thrive without chemical pesticides and fertilizers and need little water.
Deciding whether or not solar panels are a good option for a home depends on the surrounding climate, the layout of the roof on the home, and whether the state the home is in will offer a rebate for the solar panels. For a breakdown of costs and potential benefits, a homeowner should contact a local solar expert to discuss their home.
A certified energy auditor can assess a home and suggest upgrades that will lower the energy costs of the home. The Residential Energy Services Network has a searchable directory of certified energy auditors in each state across the United States. It is suggested that a homeowner looks for an auditor that is certified to give home a Home Energy Rating System index rating, which is essentially a score of the home’s energy efficiency. A lower HERS index score can increase the resale value of a home if a homeowner were to wish to sell at some point.