Does your home need a reboot? Remodeling projects don't have to be major to make a major difference in your home. If you're considering an update, you're already on the right track because most permanent updates offer a return on your investment eventually. But some investments actually pay off two-fold. These upgrades increase the value of your home while decreasing your carbon footprint, and some decrease the ongoing cost of utilities too. From energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs to more eco-friendly floors and windows, green renovation choices are red hot right now, and for good reason.
Whether you care about the environment or you're worried about rising utility costs, start with making greener choices around the house. When it comes to home improvement, it's hard to beat a green remodel, but here are some of the smartest planet-saving upgrades to date.
- Retrofit Your Bathrooms with Low Flow Plumbing
Water is necessary for your everyday routine, but how much water? If your toilets and faucets haven't been updated in the past few years, you're probably wasting — and paying for — more water than you actually need. Consider replacing or modifying your plumbing fixtures with newer units that are designed to reduce water waste. For example, low-flow toilets often come with tax credits because they save so much water, while flow reducers are available for your existing sink faucets and showerheads. You'll notice the difference next time you get a water bill, and your bathroom updates will also add value for potential buyers who always look for modern fixtures in bathrooms.
- Reseal or Replace Your Windows
Inefficient or improperly sealed windows are bad news for your energy bill. If you have outdated windows, broken seals, or both, these openings could be your biggest sources of summertime heat gain and wintertime heat loss. Low-E window tints can seriously reduce the glares, UV rays, and temperature changes that make it indoors, while a new application of caulking and window stripping is essential for every single window to prevent drafts and keep your house insulated. If there's room in the home improvement budget for new panes, look for double or triple pane windows that contain multiple panes and moisture-absorbing spacers between them.
- Opt for Sustainable Surfaces
Are you planning a renovation that includes a new living room floor? Do your home improvement goals include replacing your kitchen cabinets or countertops? If you want to replace any surfaces in your home, make sure you choose materials that are sustainable, recycled, or both. Bamboo flooring is a fantastic alternative to hardwood or carpet because it's durable, waterproof, soft, and made from carefully harvested bark. It also happens to be on-trend right now, thanks to its distinctive patterns and textured child-friendly surfaces. Your countertops are another great place to go green. Today, you can get beautiful countertop slabs composed entirely of recycled glass, paper, or wood.
- Upgrade to Energy Star Appliances
Sometimes, the smartest home improvement decisions are appliance purchases. If your fridge, washer, dryer, dishwasher, oven, furnace, AC unit, or other major appliances are more than a decade old, replacing them will improve your home's value and bring your indoor aesthetic into the 21st century. It will also save you money on a daily basis by seriously reducing the amount of energy you need to cook, clean, and store your food. Any new appliance is probably more energy-efficient than the older models in your home right now, but make sure you look for Energy Star appliances for extra savings and sustainability. These appliances are certified to conserve resources and make your home greener.
With these tips, you'll be on track to having a greener, more energy-efficient home.