As a responsible citizen of this planet we call earth—and a homeowner—you may have concerns about the environment. What does your carbon footprint look like? How can you go green at home?
This month, we celebrate Earth Day. This is a great time to look at ways to transform home sweet home into home green home. In fact, going green has never been easier or more affordable.
Did you hear the good news? Costs to go green are going down. Less-expensive green technology allows you to make environmentally friendly housing choices that won’t be such a hit on your budget. That means you can more easily increase your home’s value to make it more attractive to future homebuyers.
And it’s not just about selling some time down the road. You can save money now when you go green. By increasing energy efficiency in your home, you can reduce costs for energy and water usage. For example, replacing an old and outdated toilet with a modern low-flow version can save you $100 a year in water usage costs. Switch to an Energy Star-rated tankless water heater and save another $100 a year!
In some cases, you can qualify for grants and tax breaks that put even more money in your pocket.
Harness the Power of the Sun
The sun is a massive source of clean, low-cost energy! Take advantage of it with solar panels. If you’re building a new home, you have even more options to maximize solar energy. For instance, plan rooflines and lot position relative to sun exposure. And when you sell your excess energy back to SRP or APS, you’ll put just a little more green in your pocket.
Focus on Appliances and Fixtures
Every appliance and fixture you select—from thermostats and stoves to water heaters and toilets—will affect energy and/or water usage in your home. Before you buy, do a little sleuthing to find out how to go green with your choices. Look online for Energy Star ratings if you’re upgrading, and if building, ask your builder or contractor to make recommendations.
Even if you’re just updating a bathroom, you can go green by installing low-flow toilets, faucet aerators, and showerheads. To conserve water in the rest of your home, consider a tankless water heater and Energy Star-rated dishwasher and washing machine. For energy efficiency, investigate programmable thermostats, which can save you about 10% on heating and cooling costs every year.
Don’t forget about the heating and cooling system itself. If you’re remodeling, it’s a great time to talk to your contractor about upgrading your outdated HVAC system, which will lower your monthly energy bills. If you’re building, evaluate systems for efficiency and environmental impact—such as geothermal heating and cooling.
Use Recycled & Upcycled Materials
Recycled materials offer the opportunity to reduce your home’s environmental impact. Some recycled materials, such as insulation made from old blue jeans or countertops made from recycled glass, transform and give new life to old products that could otherwise end up in landfills. Other materials, including reclaimed wood floors, simply give old products a second chance. For more upcycling options, ask your builder about salvaged items—cabinets, doors, doorknobs, cabinet hardware, bannisters, sinks, fireplace mantels, and even countertops—removed from other homes and buildings that you can use in yours.
Recycled steel, wood, and plastic are additional options to reduce lumber usage when building a new home or addition or when remodeling your current home.
Whether your goals to go green are big or small, collaborating with your builder or general contractor is the best place to start. Share your goals, discuss your budget, and ask for recommendations to reduce your energy usage, energy costs, and impact on the environment.
MAK Construction specializes in custom homebuilding, and is experienced with incorporating green building concepts and materials. Contact MAK Construction today for your green homebuilding needs.