For individuals who have recently acquired a home or are considering a house purchase in 2023, it’s evident that expenses are on the rise. However, so is the overall value associated with home ownership. Although owning a home entails significant costs, making wise investments can yield long-term benefits. Presently, many homeowners are specifically interested in reducing their expenses and enhancing the value of their homes by incorporating eco-friendly features.
We’ve consulted leading experts in real estate and home maintenance to provide their recommendations for creating a more environmentally friendly home. Continue reading to discover the essential eco-friendly features that are currently sought after in the housing market, as well as the wise investments homeowners should consider to maximize the benefits of eco-friendly home upgrades.
At its core, being “eco-friendly” means refraining from causing harm to the environment or people, although this concept can manifest in various ways. For instance, the production and transportation of goods often result in the emission of greenhouse gases. Nonetheless, companies can strive to minimize and even counteract these effects, a practice known as establishing a “negative carbon footprint,” through their policies and actions.
On an individual level, our actions inevitably impact the environment. Conversely, we can also take measures to preserve the environment, such as reducing plastic consumption, decreasing reliance on non-renewable energy sources, adopting a diet with less meat and more organic products, and so forth. When it comes to making eco-friendly improvements to our homes, the process is even more straightforward. By implementing simple changes and updates, we can contribute to the betterment of the environment for years to come.
According to a survey, the current competitive housing market and rising inflation have raised doubts among many first-time homebuyers about whether this is the right time to purchase a home. Despite the survey’s finding that 65 percent of respondents believe home prices are excessively high, experts do not foresee a slowdown in the housing market shortly. In this competitive environment with escalating expenses, homebuyers are increasingly looking at a property’s eco-friendly features as a means of saving money over time.
An expert remarks, “In today’s competitive market, buyers are evaluating homes not just based on their existing features but also on their potential.” He notes that there is a growing interest in energy-efficient homes, which is likely to continue due to rising living costs and the changing climate.
A licensed realtor expert indicates that her clients still prioritize factors like location, price, and size. However, she has observed an increasing interest in homes that can be equipped with solar panels and a desire to invest in eco-friendly properties.
Numerous sustainable home improvement changes can be accomplished in just a few minutes, such as replacing your lightbulbs. On the other hand, certain projects require greater expertise and an initial investment. Nonetheless, the advantages stemming from eco-friendly home improvements are immeasurable.
When you’re ready to embark on sustainable home improvements, initiating the transition to energy-efficient lighting is a straightforward and cost-effective starting point. Whenever a lightbulb needs replacement, opt for an LED bulb. It’s a clear and practical choice.
While LED bulbs may entail a slightly higher initial cost compared to traditional incandescent bulbs, they prove their value through their extended lifespan and energy efficiency. You can utilize LED bulbs throughout your residence, including for holiday and landscape lighting.
The heating and cooling of your home consume a significant amount of energy throughout the year, and outdated windows can substantially contribute to your energy consumption. According to the Department of Energy, approximately 25% of home energy is wasted through windows. The encouraging news is that one effective approach to reducing this wastage is by upgrading to properly sealed dual-paned windows. Although the acquisition of new windows can be an investment, it yields substantial returns and often qualifies for rebates or credits.
Conventional tank water heaters store and continuously heat water within the tank, whether or not it is needed. This results in substantial annual energy wastage if you do not require such a large volume of heated water. As an environmentally friendly alternative, tankless water heaters operate by heating water as it is used, passing through pipes. This method also ensures a constant supply of hot water, eliminating the inconvenience of cold showers.
While the initial cost of purchasing and installing tankless water heaters is higher compared to tank water heaters, the long-term energy savings and extended lifespan can offset the expense.
Modernize Your Plumbing Federal standards have mandated reduced water usage in plumbing fixtures since 1994. Therefore, if your toilet, bathtub, shower, or other plumbing fixtures date back to before the early 1990s, you are likely wasting a substantial amount of water (and money) annually.
For instance, by switching to a WaterSense labeled toilet model, you can reduce toilet water consumption by 20% to 60% each year, resulting in approximately Rs.40,000 in annual savings, which can readily contribute to covering the cost of the new toilet within a few years.
In recent decades, substantial progress has been made in the realm of energy-efficient appliances. These improvements translate to less heat loss from ovens and better retention of cold temperatures in freezers. When considering new appliances, prioritize those with Energy Star certification, signifying compliance with the stringent energy efficiency criteria set by the Department of Energy.
Even if you are not presently planning to upgrade your appliances, you can enhance your energy efficiency by covering cooking pans, opting for smaller appliances whenever possible (such as a toaster oven instead of a full-sized oven), and striving to run your dishwasher or washing machine only when they are full.
Fireplaces often serve as charming focal points in many homes, especially during colder seasons. However, they also present an opportunity for efficiency and environmental responsibility. By installing an energy-efficient fireplace that utilizes renewable energy sources for heating, you can reduce your heating expenses while contributing positively to the environment.
The most efficient and eco-friendly fireplace option is a natural gas fireplace. Alternatively, if you wish to retrofit an existing wood-burning fireplace, a wood stove insert represents a commendable choice for effectively heating the home.
As heatwaves become increasingly common, even in regions that previously had milder temperatures, the use of air conditioning units has surged. However, this trend is not without its environmental consequences. Roughly 20% of residential energy consumption is dedicated to powering air conditioning units.
Even if you find air conditioning essential, you can begin to reduce its usage by setting it to a higher temperature and incorporating more ceiling fans throughout your home. Energy Star-rated ceiling fans, boasting 60% greater efficiency than standard fans, can keep you comfortably cool while simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
When contemplating eco-friendly home improvements, solar panels often top the list for good reason. According to the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, solar power can decrease greenhouse gas emissions, conserve water resources, and mitigate air pollution.
Considering the ongoing decrease in the cost of solar panel installation and the improvement in panel quality, this sustainable home improvement is increasingly attractive. Although the average cost of residential solar panel installation is expensive, the savings in energy costs can enable them to pay for themselves within a decade.
Ultimately, consider the broader perspective, including how long you intend to reside in your home and which upgrades are most essential, while also taking your current financial situation into account. While substantial upgrades can significantly enhance your home’s value, it’s crucial to assess whether borrowing money for projects like solar panel installation is a financially sound decision, considering the associated interest payments.
Starting with smaller changes, such as upgrading your lightbulbs, is perfectly acceptable as a gradual approach toward transforming your home into a more energy-efficient and eco-friendly environment.