Green Home Improvements That Pay

Here are some green remodeling projects that will actually put money back into your wallet while making your life a little easier at the same time.

Installing High Efficiency Windows

The new generation of energy efficient windows can cut your energy costs by as much as a whopping 50% annually, which means they will literally pay for themselves in a few short years.

If you are in the market for new windows you need to be looking for multiple paned windows, low e coatings, insulated frames and gas fills.

You should also keep in mind that good installation is every bit as important when it comes to achieving the highest possible levels of energy efficiency so make sure you are dealing with a reputable window installation company you can trust.

Installing A High Efficiency Heating System

This is another green improvement that can save you a small fortune on energy bills as well as help the environment by cutting down on fuel consumption. Look for a heating system that has AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) ratings of 90 or better and, again, remember that a poor installation job will sabotage all your efforts and investment.

Get New Kitchen Appliances

Just because that ten year old refrigerator can still do its job does not mean that it should. The new breed of Energy Star rated dishwashers, refrigerators, washing machines and clothes dryers can help you score up to $500 in extra energy savings for every year that they are on the job.

Go Low Flow

Wasting water is as bad as wasting energy and the average home still wastes a lot of it. Low flow toilets and showers will help to reduce your water usage a lot and the newest models are every bit as efficient as their water guzzling older counterparts. How much water can you save? A lot. For example, just the simple act of installing a low flow shower head can cut your water bill by a third.

Insulate, Insulate and Insulate Some More

All the high efficiency windows, heating systems and appliances in the world are not much good if your home is not properly insulated. Leaky windows and doors, and poorly insulated attic spaces are some of the most common causes of energy inefficient homes, so those are good places to start.

To be truly sure that your home is up to speed consider calling in a professional to conduct a full energy audit and help you determine where and how you should be adding extra insulation.

All of these are great measures and many of them come with an extra added bonus – tax rebates and allowances. Make sure you ask about all of them when you are making your purchases and then actually remember to file for them when tax time comes around!

Quick and Easy Green Home Improvements

Many homeowners are looking for quick and easy green home improvements. Whether you want to make these improvements for the sake of going green or you want to do some things before placing a home on the market that will make it more competitive with new homes, there are plenty of options.

Joining the green revolution will make your home more comfortable, less costly to heat and cool, and some changes will reduce your water and/or sewer bill. Many of these improvements will also make your home more comparable to newer homes on the market. This might or might not justify an increase in selling price. While these quick and easy green home improvements might appeal to home buyers who have a strong interest in a green home, it might not matter to other prospective buyers when they make an offer. If, however, you make available a record of your utility bills for the last year, showing a decrease in heating, cooling and water costs could be attractive to a buyer.

The top seven quick and easy green home improvements that are also economical are:

1. Switch to energy efficient light bulbs. Compact fluorescent bulbs cost a bit more when you buy them, but they will last years longer and use only a fraction of the energy. Start with the lights you tend to use for the longest period of time – like the kitchen light that is never turned off or the bathroom light the kids just can’t remember to turn off. If you are planning to put your home on the market, you might want to start with bulbs in permanent light fixtures.

2. Install insulating/reflective window coverings. Film window coverings are available in several levels of light and UV ray blockage and colors. You can choose different textures and colors depending on the amount of direct sunlight on various windows. The window film is available in most hardware and home improvement stores, and it is easy to install.

3. Install weather stripping on doors and window frames. Weather stripping is relatively inexpensive and it is easy to install on window frames and door frames. It will reduce the amount of heat exchange by sealing up cracks or openings. This will make your home more comfortable, more energy efficient, and more environmentally friendly.

4. Install low flow shower heads and faucets. Most homeowners can install new shower heads and faucets or affordably hire a handyman to do it. These faucets and shower heads use less water without blocking adequate water flow. They will save water and reduce your water and sewer bills.

5. Adjust the float in the toilet tank to use less water. This is a fairly simple adjustment that can be accomplished by most homeowners or a handyman. If you can’t adjust it, try putting something in the bottom of the tank that will displace some of the water. Just be sure that what you use won’t rust and won’t get in the way of the working of the flushing mechanism.

6. Insulate the hot water distribution pipes in your home. This is also a relatively inexpensive and easy job of wrapping the pipes that go from the hot water heater to the various plumbing fixtures (kitchen, bathrooms). Keeping the water warmer as it moves through the pipes will provide warmer water and it will reduce the amount of water you have to run from a faucet while you wait for the hot water to get there.

7. Install insulating or reflective window treatments. Install reflective blinds or shades at your windows. Then be sure to close them at times when the sun shines on them directly or during the warmest part of the day. This will reduce your heating/cooling bills.

Try these seven steps to make some quick and easy green home improvements. The money you will save on utility bills will probably pay for the improvements very quickly.