“Going green” is more than just a catchphrase. It’s a lifestyle more and more people are adopting to reduce landfill waste, clean the air, and preserve the natural landscape. Your home is where you spend a lot of your time, so why not start there? Being environmentally-friendly is good economics – in our home, for our budgets, and with the earth.
Let’s explore five ways to lessen your impact on the environment, reduce your utility bills, and achieve a more sustainable lifestyle by making a greener home.
This is a cheap and simple way to reduce your energy bill and your environmental footprint. Quality LED bulbs last longer (about 25 times longer than regular bulbs!), are more durable, and offer comparable or better light quality than regular bulbs. Unlike incandescent bulbs, which release 90% of their energy as heat, LEDs use energy far more efficiently with little wasted heat. Inject even more personality with the use of LED light strips. Everything from color and brightness can be changed to fit your needs – imagine going to bed under the light of a peaceful, deep cobalt blue or elevating your getting-ready routine by turning your bathroom mirror into a lit vanity.
Since heat rises and our roofs are known for absorbing the warmth from the sun, your attic tends to be significantly warmer (150° anyone?) than the rest of your home during the summer months. Installing an attic fan is an excellent way to reduce the amount of energy spent on heating and cooling your home. Attic fans push the stifling hot air out of your attic while bringing in the cooler outdoor air which prevents the heat from seeping into your home and driving up the temperature in the living space. This helps to keep your home cooler in the summer months and reduce your air-conditioning bill. Attic fan installation costs an average of around $600 but can increase or decrease based on the current state of your attic and where you decide to place it.
Solar energy is sustainable, renewable, and plentiful. Coupled with financial returns and lower monthly utility bills, there are some major incentives for making the switch. To start, solar panels are viewed as upgrades so investing in a solar energy system will likely increase your home’s value. On average, solar panels raise a home’s value by 4.1% across the U.S. according to a Zillow analysis of homes across the country.
The top benefit of solar panels is pretty straightforward – you generate your own electricity, become less reliant on your electric utility company, and reduce your overall energy consumption and bill. A solar panel system typically has a 25 – 35 year lifespan, which means you can cut your electricity costs for decades to come by going solar.
While the initial installation cost may seem intimidating, there are tax credits, rebates, and financing options you can take advantage of and the panels will pay for themselves over time. Solar renewable energy credits (SREC’s) and net metering are two key benefits of solar that allow you to earn bill credits (or even extra cash) as your system produces electricity. If you live in an area where these incentives apply, you can expect both immediate and long-term returns from your solar investment.
Installing a smart thermostat that you can adjust while you’re away from home is an easy way to go green. You can turn off the heating and cooling systems while you’re gone and schedule the system to run during off-hours. Different manufacturers tout different levels of savings, but the Nest smart thermostat reports you’ll save 15% on cooling costs and 10-12% on heating costs. How? Smart thermostats learn from you. In the first few days of use, the thermostat learns the temperatures you like and what time of day you like them. Then, it programs itself and creates a schedule for you. Based on typical energy costs, most smart thermostats pay for themselves in under two years.
You don’t have to radically overhaul your entire lifestyle or spend a lot of money to make a difference. There are plenty of small, easy swaps you can make that can have a big impact. Instead of paper towels use cloth towels and rags. Use a refillable water bottle instead of single-use plastic ones. Get a drip-coffee pot instead of the makers that utilize a single-use pod – those plastic capsules end up piling up in landfills every year. Request online bills instead of paper bills. When you’re decorating, take a peek at the local online marketplace or thrift shop – you may be surprised to find unique pieces in great condition at an even better price.
Make a list of the green things you think are manageable, choose three, and start by implementing those. Once those become a habit, add in more! Get the kids, friends, and other family members involved to help keep each other accountable and to share tips and tricks for success.
Brookfield Residential proudly builds our homes to be better for the environment. Sustainability is intrinsically tied to our core values of passion, integrity and community. We’re all about doing the right thing. From the use of dual glazed vinyl windows and doors and high-performance faucets and low-flow toilets to installing tankless water heaters and pre-plumbing for future electric vehicle charging stations in the garage, we’re always looking to incorporate the next cost-effective solution that any homeowner can appreciate.
Interested in learning more about energy-efficient homes by Brookfield Residential? Take a look at where we build and see if we can help you find the best place to call home.