By Alexia Jones (guest blogger)
Want to save money, lower your carbon footprint, and improve your home’s resale value? Who doesn’t! Homeowners around the world are taking a closer look at eco-friendly design. While some updates and retrofits can be pricey, a majority of green home improvements are wallet-friendly. Here are a few simple ways to lower your carbon footprint and save a few dollars in the process.
3 Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
You can’t go far down the environmentally conscious rabbit hole without running into the three Rs. For the uninitiated, those are Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Homeowners looking to get eco-friendly without spending a lot of green should focus primarily on R No. 2. Reusing is more effective than recycling when it comes to reducing waste.
One of the greenest things you can do is find another purpose for something you planned to throw out. So, before you throw away that old clawfoot tub or busted hot water tank, consider other ways you can put them to use.
“R” No. 1 also gets an honorable mention when it comes to making your home more energy-efficient. During a cold Ohio winter, lowering your thermostat just a few degrees when you’re asleep or when the house is empty will save money and fuel. Automatic thermostats can be programmed to lower and raise your home’s temperature on a schedule. Sprinkler timers do the same for your irrigation system. Both offer you an easy way to reduce the amount of water, electricity, and gas you use.
Save Energy, Go Tankless
Installing a tankless water heater can save you as much as 50% on your energy bill. Traditional water heaters have to keep many gallons of water hot at all times. Tankless models heat only the water being used at the time. This means serious energy savings. And since there’s no possibility of a tank running empty, tankless water heaters offer a steady supply of hot water no matter how long you’re in the shower.
Light for Less
Get rid of those traditional incandescent light bulbs and install LED (light-emitting diodes) or CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps).The U.S. Department of Energy estimates you’ll save up to 50 dollars a year on electricity.
Eye-catching landscaping adds beauty to a property and is important when staging a home to sell. Landscaping is also an area where you’ll find plenty of opportunities to go green. Adding a shade tree or a trellis with crawling vines can look great and lower your summer cooling costs. Opting for native plants already primed to thrive in Ohio’s growing conditions fights erosion and means less upkeep and watering.
Adding mulch to flower beds, walkways, and gardens can reduce the amount of water those areas require. It can also reduce the amount of time you spend pulling weeds.
Upgrade Old Appliances
Today’s energy-efficient appliances use far fewer resources than models made just a couple of decades ago. This doesn’t mean that running out and buying all new appliances is necessarily an eco-friendly move. The amount of energy and resources that go into manufacturing a refrigerator or a clothes dryer are significant. So, the fewer times you buy a new fridge, the better.
Solar is the cleanest, most sustainable energy option on the market today. And since many companies such as the electric automaker Tesla are pouring lots of money into research and development, it’s likely to get more affordable and efficient. So you can expect to see more ways for Buckeye State homeowners to take advantage of solar energy in their homes.
Alexia Jones owns a landscaping company whose services include repairing and winterizing sprinkler systems. She is an expert in sustainable lawns and landscapes and energy-efficient irrigation systems.