Going Green, A Healthier More Efficient Home.
Homes built today are so much more energy efficient than even five or ten years ago with advances in technology, improvements in insulating and tougher environmental rules. There are now countless ways to improve your home and yard that allow you to save money on utility bills, reduce your dependence on fossil fuels and live in a healthier home. If you look at a new house under construction these days from the ground up to the roof it’s possible to find every nook and cranny sealed and every effort made to keep the heat and cold out or in depending on the season. Taking some steps to improve the energy efficiency of your home can save you money, increase the value of your home and make your home more comfortable. Ranging from simple changes that cost nothing to a nominal amount are easy to begin with while a major job such as replacing all the windows and doors or installing solar panels are costly. Some of these costly changes may not offer an immediate return on your investment in monetary terms but more likely in comfort and environmentally effects.
Downsize… Move To A Smaller Home.
Seems extreme but downsizing is the easiest and quickest way to start saving money on utility bills, mortgage payments and depending on where you downsize too you might be able to get rid of a car or two. The starter home gave families their foot in the door to homeownership and as families grew the need for more space made them move to their move up home. Fast forward and the family has shrunk again but the house is still the same size. Unused rooms that have to be heated and cooled, an upstairs that nobody goes up to or a basement no one goes down to. That 3000 square foot home that never had enough storage space now has bedrooms doubling as storage units. Downsizing can be a life changing experience or simple moving to a smaller home. One popular way people are downsizing is moving to a 55 Plus maintenance free community when they reach a certain age. Ranch style homes designed to be efficient and comfortable for two people often with amenities and shopping nearby. The exodus to the suburbs from the cities is being slightly reversed as couples decide to not only downsize but downsize to an urban environment. No more yard work or home maintenance, having shopping, dining and entertainment within walking distance, plus public transport and services like Uber and Lyft allow people to ditch their cars. I hear from clients all the time that they need to downsize and if they are buying new construction the homes available today are immeasurable more energy efficient and offer a healthier living environment than homes built previously. Tiny homes may not be for everyone but they are a sign of the growing sense that we can downsize and still have enough space.
Use The Latest Technology To Make Your Home Smart.
One only has to walk through a Lowe’s Home Improvement or a Home Depot store these days to see a vast array of home automation and smart devices designed to improve efficiency and comfort for the homeowner. This technology is advancing in leaps and bounds becoming more affordable and user friendly as it grows. Learning devices like Nest allow homeowners to sit back and let the device figure out the most efficient way to heat and cool the house. Many solutions are appearing on smartphones which allow the user to program lights, temperature, irrigation systems and appliances to maximize their efficiency and save energy and money for the homeowner. Elon Musk, a leader in the field of renewable energy is charging ahead with his goal to eliminate our dependence on fossil fuels with his car firm Tesla and many other projects. He recently unveiled solar panels that have the appearance of roofing tiles and come in a number of different styles that from a distance are indistinguishable from real tiles. Compared to the ugly roof solar panels available today these tiles are a huge improvement. This is just one of many new technologies being tested that could eventually allow homeowners to dramatically reduce their energy bills while going green at home. Over the next few years we will see this technology become more popular and more affordable.
Easy No Cost Solutions You Can Use To Save Money
There are easy little to no cost ways to save money in your home and improve it’s efficiency. They may however take some negotiating with family members and changes to the normal way of doing things. For example turning the thermostat down in winter and up in summer by even a couple of degrees can save money. Lowering the temperature at night and when you’re at work is something the nest technology is good at. When you install this device it takes some time to figure out your routine and for example will figure out what time you get up at and will gradually adjust the temperature for you. Upgrading the insulation in your house can be the most important thing to do to keep the cold out and heat in in winter and the opposite in winter. Take a walk around the house and feel for drafts, typically windows and doors are the culprits and the leaks can be fixed with caulking or weather stripping and there are window seals you can apply to reduce heat loss. The crawl space or basement and the attic are two places that need to be checked, the fact that they are often neglected is exactly why problems occur there. Insulation falling over time, extreme temperature change causing cracks and holes. There are many more places in your home that could be letting heat escape you would never think about. One way to find where the leaks are is to have an energy audit done to determine where they are. A blower door test is one of the tools auditors use to find leaks. You can also do an energy audit yourself. Little things like running the dishwasher and washing machine at night when rates are lower can save money. Opening the windows when it’s cool enough or warm enough saves energy and provides fresh air. Some neighborhoods have restrictions on putting clothes out to line dry and so that may be that but doing so saves money on that dryer use. The extra time needed puts a lot of people off but clothes that have dried outside smell great. Getting your heating and AC unit serviced every year and changing the filters every month is a must to reduce your energy use. Turning light off when nobody’s using them and replacing light bulbs with the latest energy saving bulbs is an easy one and with the lifespan of today’s bulbs something you’ll not have to do too often.
Major Upgrades To Save Money On Energy
Older appliances can suck the energy out of a house especially the refrigerator and water heater and while most families aren’t going to replace a fridge to save energy it is one place to consider. Compare an old dishwasher to one of the latest models and you will be surprised at how quiet and efficient they have become. Replacing a heating and air conditioner is also not something homeowners consider lightly often waiting until the unit croaks. The cost of a new unit is usually to great to be offset by the energy savings for at least a number of years but the comfort factor and reduced repair costs need to be factored in. Replacing windows and doors in an older home is expensive and is also unlikely to return your investment in energy savings, however in older homes it is common to have windows that are fogged up, cracked or simply don’t open any more. They may be starting to rot or becoming moldy even allowing rainwater to penetrate the home, in these cases it is usually time for new windows. Replacing old windows is one of the most popular improvements homeowners say they have made to their home. If you are in an older home and are thinking about selling in the near future, some of these expensive upgrades may have to be made in order to get your house sold. Depending on the real estate where you are you could find yourself buying new appliances and windows for someone else to enjoy…but at least they’ll be helping the environment!
Turn Your Yard Into A Garden.
So maybe you’re not downsizing but rather staying put and wish to improve the way your home and yard work. That lovely green lawn that uses hundreds of gallons of water and tens of pounds of fertilizer and pesticides every year can become a pain in the behind after so many years. Another common quote I hear from clients is that they don’t want to spend their weekends cutting grass anymore. More and more people are looking at their yards and questioning how they can do better. Warmer temperatures and longer periods of drought in parts of the country east and west have just been too much for many plants and grasses to survive…without constant watering which can often be restricted or banned completely by a municipality. The low maintenance environmentally friendly yard is becoming popular for these reasons and can be as simple as replacing plants and shrubs with drought resistant varieties. Using hardscape materials in place of shrubs and mulch is becoming popular as well. Rain barrels used to catch the rainwater from your roof and store it for later use is certainly a prudent recycling option. Rain barrels come in all shapes and designs from a simple trash can with a hole cut in the lid to elaborate systems of multiple storage units. For more interesting articles about real estate check out these topics from professional around the country and abroad. What You Need To Know About Buying Energy Efficient Windows by Houselogic. 10 Easy Ways To Lower Your Electric Bill by Get Rich Slowly How Has Smart Home Technology Impacted Real Estate by Kyle Hiscock Sell My House As Is The Home Buyers Perception by Kevin Vitali