Implementing some “green” upgrades in a home you own is almost always a great idea first, because it can often save you money as the homeowner, and second, because more and more buyers are looking for homes that are energy-efficient and have other environmentally friendly attributes.
But with so many options available to homeowners today, it can be tough to know where to start greenifying your own house. Consider some of these suggestions and you’ll be sure to find one that will work for your budget and your lifestyle, and make your house look that much more appealing to potential buyers.
Get an energy audit
Get a free energy audit from MassSave. If you're interested in making minor to major improvements in your home's efficiency, an anergy audit can really help you pinpoint what upgrades will make the biggest difference in your expenditures every month. It can also help you understand what's already working well for your house so that you can augment those efforst, and it's a useful rreport to offer future buyers who might be curious about your home's energy efficiency.
A tankless water heater only heats up the amount of water you’re currently using, which can be much more efficient than heaters that hold several dozen gallons and keep the water constantly hot throughout the day. Tankless water heaters are ideal for households where you aren’t running a lot of hot water at once. They can become overwhelmed if you want to run a shower, a bath, and the dishwasher all at once.
Replace older toilets, showerheads, and faucets
Older toilets, showerheads, and faucets tend to use more water than is really necessary to get the job done, so if it’s been a while since you updated your water-flow options, then it might be time to look at what’s available. You’ll save water, which is great for both your environmental footprint and your wallet and the modern fixtures are so efficient that you likely won’t notice a difference at all — even in the shower!
Consider a composite deck
Instead of using wood for your deck, think about buying a composite material instead. Many composites last a lot longer than wood, too, so there are many benefits besides making your deck greener. You don’t need to repaint nearly as often, and repairs won’t be necessary for many years, so they can save you a lot of money in the long run in addition to helping the environment.
Research products or materials
There are so many green materials and products that it can be difficult for someone remodeling a home or upgrading an appliance to keep track. Fortunately, there are several organizations that certify materials and products as environmentally friendly, so when you’re doing your research, check your options against lists or certifications provided by The Greenguard Environmental Institute (Greenguard
), the Forest Stewardship Council (FSCUS
) or Cradle to Cradle (MBDC
Look for Energy Star certification when buying new appliances
When it’s time to upgrade your appliances, whether that’s a fridge or a washer and dryer, look for products that are certified by Energy Star. Many outlets post information about how much an appliance costs each year to run and how much water it uses. Keep these details in mind when shopping to ensure you’re getting a good deal. Remember, some energy efficient appliances may be more expensive upfront, but if you could be saving a significant amount of money over time.
Buy a water filter
Drinking water is really good for your body but plastic water bottles are not so great for the environment. Most plastics are not bio-degradable and manufacturing and shipping create additional pollution. You’re a lot better off buying a decent refillable, washable bottle and using that instead. Add a water filter to your home with little to no hassle so that you can refill your bottle before you leave the house. You’ll reduce pollution and save some money over the long-term.
Get a programmable thermostat
Even if you don’t use something as fancy as a smart home thermostat, there are lots of options these days that will let you program the heat and cooling systems. When you’re at work during the day, you can adjust the temperature accordingly, then make sure it’s nice and warm (or cool) by the time you arrive back home to enjoy your space. You can also set a programmable thermostat to adjust its temperatures overnight, when most people don’t mind if the house gets a little cooler than normal. Most thermostats are easy to install and, like many other items on this list, a programmable thermostat will save you money over time.
Replace your light bulbs
Compact fluorescent or LED light bulbs use considerably less energy to emit the same amount of light (or more) than a traditional light bulb. The more modern bulbs also last longer, so even though they might seem expensive, when you consider that you won’t have to replace them for years (as opposed to months), the price is an absolute steal. Changing light bulbs is a fairly effortless way to save energy.
Consider energy efficient new construction
While there are many ways to upgrade the energy efficiency of your current home, many buyers prefer the convenience of energy efficient new construction. Our team has represented several new construction projects that were designed to meet strict LEED environmental standards, like Jamaica Plain’s 45 On Burnett. These 1-3 bedroom units were designed with a fully-insulated shell and energy efficient Jeld-Wen windows and doors. Other green features include electric car charging stations and common green space. For details, visit 45onBurnett.com or reach out to us with questions.
There are plenty of energy-efficient ways you can upgrade your house without breaking the bank, and the best news is that most of them save you money over time, too. When you’re ready to make some investments in the future of your home, consider one or several of these green updates — you’ll be glad you did when your utility bills come in or when you’re getting ready to sell and can tout your house as environmentally friendly on top of its other many charms.