Sustainable changes to your home can yield meaningful results on both your carbon footprint and your utility bill. If you are looking for eco friendly updates for your home and garden, the following are an excellent place to start. With sustainability being a top housing trend for 2022, many of these changes will also have the added bonus of increasing the overall resale value of your home.
Top Sustainable Home Upgrades in 2022
1. Seal or Upgrade Windows
If you find that your energy bills skyrocket during the summer and winter months, your windows may be to blame. In fact, the US Department of Energy reports that up to 25-30% of energy is lost through windows. There are two options for solving this issue: seal your windows, or replace them.
If your windows are newer or in otherwise good condition, resealing them may be all that is necessary to significantly reduce your energy costs. Inspect the windows for air leaks. Feel around to see if you can feel any air flowing through (often easier done when the weather is cool). Look for any obvious cracks or holes where the siding and window meet.
If you are fairly certain you have a leak but are having difficulty detecting it using these methods, try the candle test. Light a candle near the window and move it around the frame until the flame begins to pull in one direction.
You can also have someone stand on the other side of the window with a fan or hair dryer and blow air in while you observe the candle. When it begins to flicker, you have found the leak.
Once you have found the leak, seal it with window caulk, weather stripping, a window snake, or other appropriate material. If you are unsure of which material to use, hiring a contractor is a good idea.
If your windows could do with an upgrade, there are some excellent energy-efficient options available that are well worth the investment. These windows utilize various technologies to insulate the home and reduce energy costs.
If you’re unsure if the energy savings alone is worth the cost of new windows, consider the fact that they can also add considerable value to the home. In fact, some estimates report new windows can add as much as $12,000 to the final selling price of a house.
2. Go Solar
Going solar doesn’t have to mean taking the plunge with panels on your roof just yet. There are plenty of other ways to take advantage of solar power that won’t entail such a steep up-front cost:
Solar Water Heaters
Solar water heaters store and heat your water using energy reserves from solar cells. This can reduce waste and energy savings by a significant amount when compared to traditional gas-fueled water or electric heaters.
Outdoor lighting, in particular, lends itself to solar energy. Floodlights, path lights, garden lanterns, garage sconces, and more all have solar options available. In some cases, you may be able to extend your solar lighting indoors, provided you get enough natural light in the area during the day.
If you have an attic, a solar fan is a great option to keep your upstairs rooms cooler during the summer. Hot air can get trapped in a poorly ventilated attic, resulting in stuffy temperatures for the rest of the upstairs. A solar fan helps pull the trapped air out of the attic and bring cooler air inside. This, in turn, reduces the amount of work your air conditioner has to do to keep the house comfortable.
3. Use Recycled Materials
Waste from home upgrades, such as flooring, roofing, and painting, accounts for a significant percentage in our landfills. Luckily, the availability of reclaimed and recycled materials is increasing, and you can find lots of supplies suited to a variety of projects.
If your project is smaller, you can often find quality materials through online marketplaces, such as Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. You can also check local retailers, like ReStore and Planet ReUse. In addition to your project being more unique and sustainable, you can also save a significant amount of money.
4. Buy Energy Efficient Appliances
When it comes time to replace your appliances, look for ones that are Energy Star Certified. Almost any home appliance you can think of has an energy-efficient option, and you will notice the difference on your utility bill immediately. The following appliances can be an especially good investment when you are looking to reduce your energy usage:
- Washers and Dryers
- Air conditioners
- Water heaters
This is not to say that replacing smaller appliances and fixtures won’t have any impact. In fact, some smaller appliances, like hair dryers, coffee makers, and toasters, actually use more wattage than a refrigerator! While they are not in constant use, simply replacing these and other small fixtures (and light bulbs) with energy efficient alternatives can have a meaningful effect on both the environment and your utility bill.
Food and yard waste accounts for 30% of all landfill refuse in the United States (about 90 million tons annually). A simple and effective way we can reduce this number is by starting a compost bin. Composting turns vegetable peels, old mulch, egg shells, dog waste, and much more into healthy, organic soil that can be used in the garden and elsewhere.
Good soil is not only important for a healthy garden, it is also crucial in the fight against climate change. Soil is what is known as a “carbon sink.” Carbon sinks absorb more carbon than they emit, which makes them a significant weapon in reducing greenhouse gasses.
Upgrade Your Home for a Bigger Sale
Updating your home with sustainability in mind is a great idea when it comes time to sell. But there are many, many other factors to consider, especially if you want to sell quickly and at top dollar. If you are getting ready to sell your home in Colorado, contact Brenda Kellogg Meyer. Brenda has years of experience and an entire team to get your home perfectly ready to go on the market. Call or go online today to get started.