When you are ready to renovate your home, going green can help you save some green. Over the life of your updates, many energy-saving upgrades will pay for themselves. Eco-friendly investments will also pay off when it comes time to resell your home. Explore these options when undertaking a home renovation to save money and lessen your home’s environmental impact.
Add curb appeal with xeriscaping
Xeriscaping is just a fancy name for landscaping with native plants to save water. Mimicking the natural landscape saves you money on maintenance costs and seasonal replanting. If you live in a drier climate, choose rocks for ground cover and hardy native plans as landscape accents. Native plants survived for centuries in the region without intervention from people. You’ll save money on watering, fertilizer and time traditional landscaping requires.
Generate your own electricity
If you can afford to put up a large initial investment, adding solar panels or residential wind turbines to your home are a great way to save money in the long run. Through net metering programs, you may even be able to profit from your contributions to the grid. Look for tax incentives and special financing programs to offset the cost of adding on-site electricity generation.
Help your HVAC work smarter not harder
Simple weather-stripping is an easy and affordable way to improve your energy efficiency, especially if you live in an older home and have not upgraded your windows and doors to more efficient models. Insulation is also key to regulating temperatures and helping your HVAC run efficiently. Choose insulation with the highest R-rating for the application. You can also invest in a smart thermostat to help manage your HVAC system to better respond to your heating and cooling needs.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are chemicals used in household paints, primers, lacquers and even some types of carpeting and upholstery. Over time, these compounds break down and release toxic gases into your home. Opt for low or no VOC products to keep the inside air (and your lungs) clean.
Choose Energy Star appliances
Look for Energy Star appliances when upgrading your kitchen, laundry room, water heater and HVAC systems. The Department of Energy and the EPA partnered under the Energy Star program to give special ratings to appliances that meet energy-efficiency guidelines. You’ll save money on annual operating costs when you choose Energy Star-rated appliances.
Conserve water with efficient fixtures
You don’t have to sacrifice comfort and convenience to save water. Many modern low-flow fixtures use aeration to reduce water flow without affecting water pressure. When upgrading toilets, look for dual-flush models that only use as much water as necessary to get the job done.
Watch the savings grow
Although energy-efficient options may cost 2-4 percent more than their conventional counterparts, you’ll be reaping the benefits of your investment in no time. Over the life of the investment, your energy-efficient upgrades can save you 5-50 percent on home energy costs.
Not to mention that energy-efficient upgrades can seriously boost your resale value. Picking up an endorsement from the DOE for an Energy Star home or a LEED certification can add as much as 9% to your sale price, according to a University of California study.