Two years of on and off quarantine have really shown people the importance of living in a home that you love. In fact, one survey reported that 76% of respondents made at least one home improvement since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the same time, we want to ensure that our upgrades improve our quality of life and are eco-friendly. As a homeowner, you’ve probably also asked yourself, “What adds value to a home?”
Luckily, eco-friendly home upgrades make your home more comfortable and become major assets in adding value to your home. In this guide, we’ll discuss some eco-friendly upgrades for any budget so that you can start benefiting from your sustainable home.
By the team at Angi
What home improvements could make a house more eco-friendly?
The simplest upgrades take the home features that you already have and make them more efficient. Begin your home renovation with simple switches and additions that can significantly reduce your home’s energy, gas, and water use.
Improve Your Insulation
No matter the climate, better insulation saves you money on your cooling and heating costs. Replacing the insulation in your walls can be costly but you can make some easy adjustments around your doors and windows to significantly reduce energy use.
Depending on your home, you might be due for a window upgrade. In this case, shop around and consider energy-efficient windows that are designed to be more insulating.
If you’re not ready for that investment, easy upgrades on your existing windows can be done yourself and still offer extra insulation.
Upgrade the weather stripping around your doors and windows to make sure that there are no gaps for drafts. You can also reglaze your wooden windows and re-seal the edges if you’re noticing any cracking.
Looking for an even easier upgrade? Try switching out your blinds and drapes. Layering your drapery and blinds improves your home’s insulation and gives you some more design options.
Look to Your Lighting
Energy-efficient lighting is a super easy switch that decreases your energy bills. Not only do LED light bulbs last a lot longer than traditional bulbs, but they also use a lot less energy.
This is truly a “set it and forget it” upgrade to make your life easier and your home more sustainable.
What is the most environmentally friendly house style?
If you’re really looking to commit to eco-friendly home design, homes known as Earthships are considered top of the line. But, there are a lot of innovative home construction trends that keep the environment in mind.
Earthship homes are built with alternative recycled materials, use renewable energy, recycle water, and offer other benefits to their occupants and the environment.
However, they’re very rare and you won’t be able to turn your existing home into an Earthship. If you’re considering more mainstream options, tiny homes and prefabricated homes are your best bet for an eco-friendly build.
What features make a house eco-friendly?
Renewable energy sources, rain collection systems, and mindful home design make your home eco-friendly. These are upgrades that can be worked into an existing home and are especially important to keep in mind with any new builds.
Solar panels are a popular choice for homeowners looking to make the switch to renewable energy. There can be significant costs upfront, but solar panels add a lot of value to your home while slashing your energy bills.
In some places, you can even sell your excess solar power back to the grid for tax benefits. Contrary to popular belief, solar panels don’t perform best in arid and hot climates. They’re ideal for moderate climates where you get a good amount of sun but some rainy days — they wash your panels!
If your climate isn’t ideal for solar power, you can also install a wind turbine on your property. This wind turbine can also be connected back to the grid for tax benefits.
It’s not safe to drink rainwater but there are many other water sources in your home that you don’t drink from. Collected rainwater can be used to water your plants, wash your clothes, and flush your toilets.
If you experience winters, you’ll need a system that’s weather-proofed or can be removed when it gets cold.
Mindful home design and layout use your surrounding environment to your advantage. For example, if you’d prefer a specific room to be warmer, you can install larger windows and place that room in an area that receives more sun.
Working with your environment instead of against it gives you more interior design inspiration while making your home more sustainable.
How do I plan an eco-friendly renovation?
The two questions you should ask yourself before embarking on an eco-friendly renovation are:
- What type of materials are you using?
- Are you wasting your resources?
Evaluate what materials you need for your renovation and research if there are any eco-friendly alternatives.
Some eco-friendly alternatives have more sustainable sourcing, such as reclaimed wood, while others offer new tech that saves you money later, like aerogel insulation.
Consider the hidden impacts of your materials too. Construction materials are often very heavy, so shipping them over long distances has a large carbon footprint. Explore your local options first to reduce material transportation.
Now, think about your construction practices. You want to reduce your leftover materials and make sure that they get used as efficiently as possible.
Another way is instead of throwing away old furniture that no longer matches your current aesthetic, upgrade them. You can revamp old furniture by replacing hardware like table legs or cabinet knobs. Not only will you give a fresh new look to an outdated piece, but you’ve also reduced your own carbon footprint.
Consider donating any extra materials and repurposing as much as possible to keep your building materials out of landfills.
What can I put in my eco-friendly house?
Don’t have the bandwidth to take up a home renovation? There are tons of products out there that make your home a bit more sustainable without starting a construction project.
Smart Home Products
Smart plugs and thermostats make it super easy to control your home’s environment from anywhere.
After installing smart plugs, you never have to worry about leaving the lights on again. These plugs can be controlled from your phone, so you can make sure that your empty home’s not wasting any energy while you run errands.
A smart thermostat works similarly to the plugs, so you can control your heating and cooling from anywhere. An added bonus is that smart thermostats can be programmed to adjust automatically to the weather and to lower costs when you’re on vacation.
Energy Efficient Appliances
If you’ve had the same appliances for a while, it might be time for an upgrade. Energy-efficient fridges, dishwashers, and laundry machines save you water and electricity.
A properly-working fridge cuts down on spoiled foods and food waste with reduced electricity use. Updated dishwashers and laundry machines use less detergent, so you save money in multiple areas while reducing the resources used for your chores.
Looking for more ways to increase your home’s value while making your lifestyle more sustainable? Check out this infographic from Angi to learn about how much value sustainable upgrades can add to your home.