While it can be tough to come up with a lifestyle that is completely “green,” there are several tangible steps you can take to make your home more eco-friendly. If you’re not interested in altruism but are interested in saving money, this article is still for you! Many of the following changes will lower your cost of living while saving the planet:
1. Plumb your house with low-flow toilets and showerheads. While low-flow toilets don’t necessarily have the same “power” as some of the high-volume flush toilets, they do still manage to get the job done while saving you an average of $110 per year on water bills. (If you’re worried about replacing your low-flow toilet over time, don’t worry—each one should last around 30 years!) Low-flow showerheads, in comparison, can decrease household water consumption by 40% or more! This simple step saves you money while conserving resources—not a bad deal.
2. Don’t skimp on insulation. In order to regulate the house temperature (we’re looking at you, power bill) it’s best to thoroughly insulate your house as it’s being built. Attics, ceilings, between studs in the walls, windows, floors, and foundations are all spaces that should be insulated. Want to pick out insulation that’s Earth-friendly? Fortunately, there are many viable options today including sheep’s wool, thermacork, cellulose, recycled denim, and more!
3. Use bamboo accents in your home. If you love wood floors or accents in your living space, consider using bamboo instead. This woody grass grows up to 3 feet a day and is considered a much more renewable resource; it also costs less! Hardwood floors can range in cost from $4-$10 or more per square foot, whereas bamboo tends to cost between $2-$5.
4. Use salvage and reclaimed materials. You don’t have to be looking for something chic to want to use a salvage wood table; in fact, this option can often be more economical than buying a brand new product! Using reclaimed materials or furniture not only keeps stuff out of the landfill, but it saves you a few bucks in the process. Plus, it just looks cool.
5. Try recycled glass. This environmentally-friendly alternative to brand new windows is available at home improvement stores across America and is a durable, non-porous solution to buying new glass. This scratch- and stain-resistant material often looks beautiful as well as being sustainable—a total win-win.
6. Install energy-efficient appliances and lightbulbs. Not only will installing solar power panels or an energy-saving dishwasher save you money annually on your energy bill, but you will also most likely receive a federal tax credit for these things as well. Noting this on your taxes may give you up to 30% of the cost back!