Home Help: 3 steps toward greener living
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Living a greener lifestyle isn’t just about conserving natural resources, it’s also about saving money. Whether you’re renovating your existing home, or building from the ground up, you can create a home that’s more efficient, cost effective and “green.”
1. Insulate against air: In terms of heating and cooling, a well insulated home conserves the most energy by creating an airtight seal, locking out any potential hot or cold air drafts. To properly insulate, replace old windows and doors with more energy efficient options, such as those made by Pella, including triple-pane glass, and add extra insulation to the walls, roof and basement.
2. Make energy-efficient choices: Inefficient appliances can cause a spike in your gas, water and electric usage. For a simple change, choose LED bulbs for all your light fixtures. To conserve even more energy, opt in for high-efficiency upgrades for your larger appliances, like refrigerators, dishwashers and clothes dryers, and install water conserving bathroom fixtures to help cut down your home’s overall water usage.
3. Design it to last: Trends come in and out of style quickly. For the larger architectural features of your home, choose design elements that will stand the test of time … reducing the likelihood of another renovation. Leave the trendy design choices to smaller decor pieces that can easily (and inexpensively) be switched out when it’s time for a change.
If you’re planning on putting your home on the market, you’ll want to make sure your home smells fresh and clean before you bring in potential buyers. Buyers are on alert for musty smells, which could indicate a mold or mildew problem, as well as strong food or pet smells that can linger for prolonged periods of time. Address any mold problems early on in the process, and keep pungent, spice-filled dishes off the menu while your home is on the market.
Maximize natural light: When you’re able to rely on natural light for most of the day, the cost of your electric bill decreases. If you’re renovating, think about ways you can incorporate new window openings to increase the amount of natural light your home is currently receiving. If you’re building, think about incorporating an open floor plan with lots of windows to maximize the flow of natural light from room to room.
Want to add visual elegance to your green spaces? Edging your garden provides a functional and fashionable border that sets your planting space apart from the rest of your lawn. It also protects the garden against erosion. Purchase some black plastic edging at your local True Value and dig a 4-inch edge around the perimeter of your garden. Then lay the edging, anchor it down and fill in the space with dirt. You’re guaranteed to instantly see the difference.