Go Green with Simple Home Changes

Most homeowners are on the lookout for simple ways to save a bit of money here and there, because even a few cost-cutting measures can really add up over the course of a year. Meanwhile, many Americans also want to reduce their environmental impact for both financial as well as for more altruistic reasons.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to accomplish both of these goals around the home, and they don’t take a lot of expertise. The best part is that most of these investments pay for themselves quickly.

One of the simplest moves homeowners can implement to make their properties more ‘green’ and efficient is to simply replace their outdoor electrical lighting with solar-powered lamps that can dramatically reduce consumption, according to Staged For More. These lights typically have a modest price tag and can therefore pay for themselves quickly, especially during the summer when people tend to spend more time outside at night anyway.

And while addressing this issue, it’s also a good idea to install energy-efficient light bulbs throughout a home as well. These bulbs use far less energy and last significantly longer.

Other simple installation jobs
Along similar lines, homeowners who install water-saving shower heads can not only cut costs, but depending on the size of their family, they can also save thousands of gallons of water each year, likely without noticing much difference in their day-to-day showering habits. Moreover, saving water also saves on a home’s gas bills, because they don’t need to heat nearly as much water over the course of the year.

Another great way to cut heating and energy costs is to install a programmable “smart” thermostat, which can be adjusted from a smartphone. Doing so puts the power to control temperature right at a homeowner’s fingertips, no matter where they are in the world. If no one’s home – for example, during the work day, when parents and kids alike are at work or school – they won’t have to run the heat or air conditioning at full steam, and the savings from several hours per day of modifying the climate-control in their home can really pile up quickly.

Bigger investments to make
Of course, if homeowners want to be a little more aggressive in this regard, and were already thinking about upgrading their appliances, it might also be wise to do so with energy savings in mind, according to Feldco Factory Direct. Most of today’s appliances are far more efficient than they were even a decade ago, but those that bear the familiar Energy Star logo can provide even more savings over the course of the appliance’s useful life.

For owners who were thinking of redoing their siding, or replacing their home’s doors or windows, there are also energy-friendly options they should investigate here as well. While these are obviously larger investments, they too can pay for themselves over time – and then some.

The good news is that there are so many options out there to help homeowners both cut their costs and potentially increase the real estate sales values of their homes overall, and simply doing a little research can go a long way here.

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click www.hmsnational.com.

Is Your Home Green?

Hand hold house
How green is your home? Take a look at this list and see how your home stacks up:

Do you have Energy-Star appliances? Refrigerators are known to use a lot of energy and a new refrigerator can save you up to $150 per year according to the Environmental Protection Agency. (Energy-star appliances use 10-50% less energy and water than older models.)

Temperature in Your Home
Keeping the thermostat down in colder weather and higher during warm months affects your energy use and bill. Each degree below 68 degree F in colder months saves 3-5% of heating energy. A thermostat at 78 degrees F in warmer times will also save money and energy. (Use a programmable thermostat to help regulate temperatures.)

Additional insulation in your home will help to prevent leaks from ducts, walls, windows and doors and thus improve your home’s energy use.

Water Usage

  • An aerator on faucets can help cut water consumption by 50%
  • Low-flow commodes use 1.6 gallons per flush (versus 3.5 gallons in pre-1994 models)
  • Turn off the water when brushing your teeth and save 4.5 gallons each time

See more water-saving products here.

Compact Fluorescent light bulbs use 66% less energy than a standard incandescent bulb and they last a lot longer.

Installing New Flooring
Think bamboo if you are planning on installing new floors. Bamboo is fast-paced in replenishing its resource with 4-6 years for bamboo to mature versus 50-100 years for hardwood trees.

Use zero or low-VOC paint (made by most major paint manufacturers today) instead of paints with toxic metals and solvents.

Use “green” cleaners to reduce air pollution.

Interested in learning more? Go to the US Environmental Agency’s Green Building webpages here for more tips.