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Have you started working towards new goals of creating an eco-friendly home? Not only is it trendy, but it can also benefit your wallet and daily habits. For families, following rules towards sustainability can help create better habits in young children to take care of the earth.
If you’re new to home sustainability, you might not know where to start, especially since there are so many different ways you can reduce your carbon footprint. See a few rules to follow as you create a more sustainable home.
Did you know that a broken HVAC system can actually hurt your sustainability efforts? Get it fixed ASAP. Contact an HVAC pro for quotes from contractors in your area, for free.
What Is Sustainability?
You may have noticed that recently, more people have an increased focus on what they can do to make earth a better place. Sustainability in your home refers to decreasing the amount of waste you create in your home. This includes everything from trash to letting temperature-controlled air escape. Megan Wild,
“One reason is the rising cost of heating and cooling your home,” Wild said. “People are also now seeing the effects of more-severe weather due to climate change. It also helps that due to the Internet, information on sustainability and the reasoning for being sustainable is more available than ever.”
As you can see, not only does sustainable homes provide benefits to the owner but to neighbors as well. If you’re looking to create a more sustainable home, these rules are a good place to start:
- Make Recycling A Habit
- Make Needed Repairs
- Invest In A Smart Thermostat
- Insulation Is Key
- Upcycle When Possible
- Turn Off The Lights
- Reduce Water Usage
Rule #1: Make Recycling A Habit
One of the easiest ways to start creating a greener household is by recycling and reusing. “The 3 R's of Recycling is a good place to start for most homeowners,” Wild said. “Reducing your energy usage, reusing storage containers, and recycling cans/bottles are all relatively simple ways to start living more sustainably!”
Most towns have a recycling program available, but for larger items that don’t fit in the container, you may have to contact your recycling center. You can always think of other ways you can use containers, jars and more. A great way to use old plastic containers is for food storage. Old newspapers can be turned into wrapping paper very easily. You’ll have to get creative, but it's easy to reduce, reuse and recycle in your own home!
Rule #2: Make Needed Repairs
Often, we lose energy due to long-overdue repairs that need to be made. One of the biggest culprits of energy waste is your HVAC system. “Update your heating and cooling system, as that is where a lot of energy usage comes from in your home,” Wild said. “For example, a high-efficiency gas furnace will save 1.5 tons of carbon emissions per year when compared to an old, inefficient system.”
The average cost to repair a furnace is $279, while the average cost to repair an air conditioner is $310. Large appliances, such as refrigerators, can also cause your energy bills to go up if not working properly. If you suspect you need something fixed, it’s better to make the investment and reduce your energy waste.
Rule #3: Invest In A Smart Thermostat
Gone are the days when you had to manually control your thermostat. You now can have a smart thermostat that learns your habits and turns down the heat or air automatically when you’re not home or don’t need it. You can save a lot of money by installing a smart thermostat system. It's certainly one of the newer rules to follow when it comes to sustainability.
Rule #4: Insulation Is Key
You can have a fully-functional HVAC system, but if you are lacking in insulation, you can be letting out valuable energy, forcing your heat or air to work even harder. The attic and exterior walls are where new insulation is most needed. The average cost to install insulation is $1,325, with most homeowners spending between $1,003 and $1,397.
Of course, there are other steps you should be taking to insulate your home. Windows can help you to save money if used properly. “Well-insulated windows are a must. Use energy-saving blackout curtains during the colder months and open them in the warmer months to let both the light and heat into your home,” Wild said.
Rule #5: Upcycle When Possible
Not only is it sustainable, but upcycling is trendy! If you’re looking for new home décor, take a look at old furniture and other items you can repurpose into something else. Take old jars and paint them to turn them into storage or table décor. An old dresser drawer can become a pet bed with a little DIY effort! Read 6 Unique Upcycling Ideas For Your Home and get inspired.
Rule #6: Turn Off The Lights
This is a simple habit that can help reduce your energy usage. When you leave a room, turn off the lights. Try to use natural light when possible. Dimmer switches can also help you to cut energy costs by reducing the amount of light. You can easily replace your current switches with dimmer switches. The average cost to install a dimmer switch is between $13.50 and $40.50 per unit.
Rule #7: Reduce Water Usage
You’d be surprised how often you use and waste gallons of water. From washing dishes to flushing toilets, this is water that can be wasted. Showers can use gallons and gallons of water without you even knowing it. You can, of course, cut down the time you spend in the shower but, another easy way is to install a water-saving shower head. This is a budget-friendly upgrade that you can do yourself!
Taking steps towards sustainability is simple. Sometimes, it will require larger investments for long-term savings. Other improvements can be made by changing habits or making small upgrades. Whatever you try first, know that you’re doing your part in making the earth a better place.
Looking for more sustainability ideas? Read Eco-Friendly Home Remodeling Ideas.