In today’s world, it literally pays to be eco-friendly; green is the new in color; and if you’re not bothered about the environment, you’re the villain who is hastening the destruction of our wonderful planet. If you’ve owned your home for more than a decade or so, you’re probably only now beginning to understand why there’s a loud clarion call for green building measures. Your energy costs are soaring and you know you’re not using scarce resources in an optimal manner. Even so, it’s not too late to adopt green measures when you renovate or improve your home. It may increase your budget by a small amount, but the rewards you gain in return in the future more than make up for any inconvenience you may face in the present.
Any sustainable home improvement measure should make less of an impact on the environment, make improvements that are lasting, and lower your energy consumption significantly. To that end, here are a few basic sustainable home improvement measures that are easy to implement:
- Those that save water: Fresh water is becoming an increasingly scarce commodity nowadays, and if each of us plays a role in its conservation, we are going green in a big way. The best way to save water in the home when you’re remodeling is to install dual flush toilets and low flow shower/water heads, adopt recycling techniques so that your waste water is cleaned and then diverted to your plants and garden, build facilities for rainwater collection, repair and replace leaky faucets immediately.
- Those that save energy: The easiest and cheapest way to cut down on your energy costs is to invest in CFL bulbs to replace your traditional light bulbs. Also, it’s best to replace your appliances with energy efficient alternatives that come with Energy Star ratings. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, homes that use Energy Star rated appliances and products emit 35 percent less carbon into the atmosphere and use 35 percent less energy. Another eco-friendly idea is to install ceiling fans in places where the climate is hot and use them to cool rooms instead of using air conditioners all the time.
- Those that use eco-friendly materials: And finally, use materials that are derived from sustainable and recycled sources and which are recyclable when remodeling your home. Wood, plastic, steel, aluminum, glass and other building materials are available in recycled forms; they’re also recyclable when you dispose of them during the next improvement or renovation. Use paints that are eco-friendly and are manufactured without volatile organic compounds. And adopt building methods that are energy efficient and eco-friendly.
Some people have the financial wherewithal to install solar panels and other expensive gadgetry to reduce their energy consumption, but in general, it’s best to find the right tradeoff between energy consumption and cost when you’re trying to achieve sustainable home improvement.