Our homes are more than just a canvas for decoration; they are our biggest expense. The average household can spend $5,575 on utility expenses in just five short years. Investing in sustainable features will save you money, shrink your carbon footprint, and stretch the life of your home. Here are the top ten sustainable features to consider for your abode.
1. From the top down
Did you know that our roofs have the potential to save this nation up to 39% of our total energy costs? For example, solar panels have been shown to save their owners an average of $44 to $187 per month, depending on geographical location, roof shape, and other factors.
2. Framing it right
If you are there from the birth of the home onward, then opt for sustainable framing. Building a home using optimal value engineering techniques will construct the home using fewer materials, which requires less insulation and produces less waste.
3. Let the light shine
LED light bulbs are one of the most energy-efficient options out there for those looking for sustainable lighting options. In 2012, the U.S. racked up a whopping $675 million in energy savings after swapping to LED.
4. Smart technology
Upgrading to smart technology has the potential to prolong the life of many household items. Consider including features such as programmable thermostats, smart outlets, and controlled lighting. These are all maintained with the touch of a button on a smart phone or hub.
5. Greenery goes green
Choosing sustainable ways to keep up the landscape of your home not only saves cash, but also boasts higher efficiency. Using plants that are native to your area will keep greenery lush without the added effort.
Save on water by recycling rainwater using specialized systems.
6. Exterior doors
Installing the appropriate exterior doors can mean less work for your air conditioner in the summer, and a lighter load for the furnace in the winter. Newer doors are also fitted with insulation and other features to achieve maximum efficiency.
7. All-star appliances
Outfit your sustainable home with ENERGY STAR® labeled appliances. The star states that the appliance uses less water and energy than the older versions. For instance, an old dishwasher uses 10 gallons of water per cycle compared to the energy star version, which uses 4.25 gallons of water or less.
8. Low flow water
Beyond appliances, bathroom and kitchen fixtures can be low flow, which means they use less water per use than their traditional cousins. Dual flow toilets, low flow shower heads, and efficient sink fixtures are all great options as well.
9. Seal the deal
Consider doing a home energy audit to find out where air is leaking out of the home, and then seal the cracks using caulking or weather stripping. Leaks may need to be sealed around windows, doors, plumbing, or ductwork.
Energy efficient skylights can provide lighting and ventilation from natural sources. These aesthetically satisfying features can also save in cooling and heating costs.
Choosing sufficient technology and innovative features will propel you onward to a more sustainable home!
Sources: Houselogic.com, thenottingham.com, bankrate.com
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