The Commonwealth Blog

Monday, July 8, 2019

Green Renovations

Green home improvement projects are all the rage. By adding eco-friendly updates to your home, you’ll increase its value, reduce your carbon footprint,  and lower your monthly energy bills. Consider making green renovations this summer to cut down on long-term costs while taking better care of the environment.

Where to Begin

There are many ways to design a green home, from installing green flooring to upgrading your HVAC system. Here are a few others:

Check Your Home’s Insulation

Replacing defective insulation is one of the most cost-effective home improvement projects—it’s even eligible for a tax credit. Loose-fill fiberglass insulation is one eco-friendly option that can lower your energy bill by 10 percent. 

ENERGY STAR Appliances

Use ENERGY STAR appliances to cut costs and reduce emissions. ENERGY STAR estimates that homeowners will save 10 to 50 percent more when using their eco-friendly products compared to traditional ones. LED light bulbs, for example, last 25 times longer than regular bulbs, are mercury-free, and cost 44 cents annually (traditional bulbs cost $19.70). 

Install a Smart Thermostat

Smart thermostats adjust your home’s temperature in relation to your behavior and daily routine. By monitoring your habits, this handy thermostat creates personalized cooling and heating schedules. Smart thermostats also save energy by using motion sensors to detect when the home is empty.

Use the Sun to Your Advantage

Solar panels reduce dependency on fossil fuels by harnessing energy from the sun instead. If your home is connected to your region’s electric grid, you can receive credit from your utility by transferring extra energy from your panels back to the communal power source. You can also add a solar water heater, which converts sunlight into heat for water—this renovation also comes with a 30 percent tax credit.

Reflective roofs also help homeowners save energy and money. By reflecting sunlight away from your roof, they help your home stay cool during the hot summer months, decreasing your dependency on cooling systems. With this upgrade, you’ll be more comfortable indoors and cut back energy bills, and you’ll increase your roof’s longevity in the process.

Source Responsibly

When you source household materials like flooring and countertops, look for opportunities to eliminate indoor pollutants and reuse recycled material. Poly fiber and bamboo, for example, are renewable materials that can be used to design beautiful and sustainable flooring throughout your home. Eco countertops are also made of sustainable building materials, including recycled glass, salvaged wood, bamboo, recycled paper, bio glass, stainless steel, and concrete.

Consult the Right People

No matter the size of your next green remodeling project, there are people who can point you in the right direction. Local utility companies provide energy saving information and offer incentives and rebates, and building supply stores can educate you on energy-saving appliances and household items. If you’re building your home from the ground up or making structural changes, find a builder or architect who’s accredited in Leadership and Environmental Design through the U.S. Green Building Council.

Incentives for Homeowners

Green renovations reduce your carbon footprint, decrease your monthly energy expenses, and save you money through tax incentives. Adding energy-efficient appliances to your home also increases its value. The sooner you start making green renovations, the sooner you can take advantage of your hard work.

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