Energy efficiency and environmental friendliness have become something of buzz words in recent years, and these principles are helping to guide many homeowners in their home improvement projects. Advancements in technology have made modern homes far more environmentally friendly, and many homeowners are seeking to take advantage of these advancements through renovations. Although there are a huge number of ways that you can reduce your environmental impact, the four following trends are taking over the world of home improvement and are definitely something that every homeowner should strongly consider.
Renewable Energy Systems
The price of solar energy has dropped dramatically over the past decade or two. Solar panels and solar systems are already at record low prices, and experts predict that the price will continue to decline in the future. This means that there is truly never been a better time to invest in solar energy. Similarly, the cost of other renewable energy sources like wind turbines is also continuing to decrease as the technology improves. These developments have led to more homeowners than ever before taking advantage of residential renewable energy systems in order to lower their energy bills and ensure their home is more environmentally friendly. No longer are solar and other renewable energy systems cost prohibitive, and in fact, most systems will generally pay for themselves in only a few years.
Smart Home Controls
Another growing home improvement trend is the use of smart home controls, which allows homeowners to control almost every aspect of their home remotely from their smartphone or computer. The most common type of smart home control is for HVAC systems. These smart thermostats provide many benefits and can reduce your energy usage by 10 to 30%. They not only allow you to monitor and adjust your home’s heating and cooling remotely, but they can also automatically make adjustments based on your activity to help further reduce your energy usage. In addition, you can also use smart controls to adjust your lighting, monitor your door locks, turn on and off your electricity, and even check to make sure you turned off the stove when you left. By installing these type of smart controls, you’ll be able to make your home safer and more secure while also reducing your energy usage.
Another environmentally friendly home improvement solution is greywater recycling, which involves reusing the water that flows down your sink and shower drains or out of your dishwasher and washing machine. Compared to the black water (sewage) that flows out of your toilet, greywater is generally free from bacterial contaminants and can be reused for a number of purposes. The most basic type of greywater recycling involves rerouting these pipes so that the greywater is collected and can be used to water the lawn and landscaping. However, you can also install greywater recycling systems that actually treat the water so that it can then be used for flushing toilets and other basic uses. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) notes that installing a greywater recycling system can cut back on water usage by as much as 60%, which makes it a great choice for anyone looking to make their home more environmentally friendly.
Other Energy-Efficiency Improvements
There are a huge number of ways that you can improve a home’s energy efficiency, from installing new windows and sealing up any cracks or potential air leaks to installing attic and roof vents, planting trees and shrubs to reduce sun exposure and using plastic to seal around your windows during winter. Many homeowners are now taking courses to learn more about energy efficiency and finding resources like Rules of Renovation that help develop some of the skills needed to make many of these improvements and renovations on their own. In this way, the DIY route may allow you to make your home more environmentally friendly and reduce your energy usage without having to hire professionals to handle all the tasks for you.
Short of building a new home, there will still be only so much you can do to reduce your environmental impact and make your home more environmentally friendly. Of course, the fact that pollution is one of the biggest problems currently facing the world means that it is imperative that everyone does their part. In this sense, making any of these changes to improve your home’s environmental friendliness can be one of the best decisions you can make—both for your own future and for future generations.