With the rise of environmental issues such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution, it is no surprise that people are looking for ways to minimize their environmental footprint. While there are well-known ways to do this, like driving less and reducing meat consumption, making green home improvements might not be as obvious.
Below are five easy and affordable ways that you can transform your home into a more sustainable space.
Seal with Caulk
Windows, walls, doors, and ceilings are all important elements of your home that help it to retain energy. When heat or air conditioning leaks from your home, your space requires more energy (and money) to maintain it at the desired temperature.
The first thing that you should do is pull out your caulk gun. It doesn’t get simpler than this, but energy efficiency starts here. For non-porous substances such as ceramic tile, metal, and glass, use a silicone caulk as the sealant. Masonry caulk is preferable for those outdoor materials such as mortar or concrete.
Wondering about the cost? If you complete this project yourself, you won’t have to pay more than a few dollars for a tube of caulk. If you hire a painter or local handyman to complete the job, be prepared to factor their expertise into your budget.
Invest in a Thermostat
Buying a programmable thermostat will be an upfront cost, usually a couple hundred dollars, but it is well worth the investment. By installing a programmable thermostat, your heating and cooling needs will be controlled automatically. You can program the device to turn on when you wake up, and turn off when you leave your home. This allows you to reduce your footprint while simultaneously saving on utility bills at the same time — it’s a win-win situation!
Create a Garden
This is more of an investment of your time rather than your money. Not only does this project have obvious eco-friendly benefits, but it also can help to boost the curb appeal and attractiveness of your yard.
When building your garden, don’t limit yourself to flowers. Consider adding fruits, vegetables, and herbs. In doing this you are creating a local food source that helps to cut greenhouse gases. When you’d like some strawberries, for instance, they’ll have travelled 20 metres to get to your plate, rather than thousands of kilometers from southern destinations. What’s more, having a garden helps to support local wildlife, such as honeybees, as they pass through your neighbourhood.
Improve Your Lighting
Everybody knows that LED lights are more eco-friendly for your home, so install these if they’re not used already. Efficient lighting goes beyond this, though. Use dimmer switches in your home to promote control over your lighting. This option lets you limit lighting when it’s not required, and if it comes with occupancy sensors, these lights will turn off after you exit the room.
If you have the budget, consider installing skylights within your home. Not only are they eye-catching and trendy, but they often remove the need to turn on lights in the first place.
This goes hand-in-hand with the point about adding caulk to your home. Energy waste tends to be quite prevalent in homes, so consider adding more insulation to your attic. Since hot air gravitates upwards, this can do wonders in containing heat during the colder months.
However, don’t just purchase the first kind of insulation that you see. There are many sustainable materials that can be used for insulation purposes. Some good options include cellulose insulation, spray foam made from soy or vegetable oil, or sheep’s wool.
Cellulose insulation is considered one of the most sustainable insulation materials because it’s composed of 80%-85% recycled newsprint. Spray foam made of soy or vegetable oil is another efficient insulative material. A little goes a long way with this substance and it is more natural than many alternatives. Finally, sheep’s wool is also an attractive option. This unique material continues to insulate even if it gets damp. Sheep produce wool throughout their entire lifetime too, making it a natural and renewable option.
Many scoff at the idea of making their home “greener”. They imagine time consuming and expensive upgrades like solar powered installations, new water heaters, and expensive home appliances. The tips above prove that sustainability doesn’t have to break the bank, in fact, it can often provide an attractive ROI with significant savings in the long-run.
What’s more, young people are becoming more conscious about environmental issues and often consider sustainability when they purchase houses for sale. If you’re putting Toronto or Vancouver homes for sale, you’ll definitely want to ensure that you keep this in mind so you can appeal to all buyers.
As the final months of summer approach, consider trying some of these green home improvements. The planet and your wallet will thank you.