8 Easy Ways to Green Your House From Real Estate Expert Justin Singletary
Going green in your house has a multitude of benefits, said Justin Singletary, a realtor who has helped many homeowners increase the value of their homes with green upgrades. If you’re planning to sell soon, new environmentally friendly elements can make your home more attractive to potential buyers — in fact, homebuyers are willing to pay up to 9% more for green homes according to ABC News. And if you’ve just bought or are planning to stay in your current home for a while, green changes can help you make your home more environmentally friendly while saving you money.
Even better, making your house environmentally friendly doesn’t mean you have to make big, expensive changes like adding solar panels or changing your insulation — these eight things are relatively inexpensive and easy to install.
Justin Singletary's Tips For Greening Your Home
Not only do all of these changes make your home greener, says Justin Singletary, but also they all offer an excellent return on investment.
1. Seal Drafts
Sealing drafty windows and doors might not seem as green as something like adding solar panels, but it’s one of the most important eco-friendly changes you can make, says Justin Singletary. According to the US Department of Energy, sealing drafts can save you up to 30% off your heating bills.
Some air leaks you should be able to find yourself simply by looking closely at your doors and windows. But if you want to be sure you’ve found all the leaks, try the building pressurization test detailed on the US Department of Energy’s website. Then caulk any window leaks, and consider adding or replacing weather stripping on entry doors. If you have leaks on internal doors, you can purchase a draft guard that easily slides onto your door to block drafts.
2. Add a Garden...
This change isn’t to your house exactly (unless you have a home where you can add rooftop greenery), but adding a garden is a great eco-friendly change. Gardens look gorgeous, and not only does growing your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs help you save money, but buying less food that’s been shipped from far away is great for the environment. If you’re planning to sell soon, just make sure to keep your garden in good shape, Justin Singletary said.
3. ... And a Compost Pile
Want to get some excellent food for your garden soil? Create it yourself with a compost pile! Not only will you reduce the amount of trash you send to the landfill, but you’ll also be able to create a nutrient-rich food for your dirt.
4. Install a Low-Flow Shower Head
The phrase “low flow shower head” sounds like kind of a shower-ruining bummer. But modern low-flow shower heads do a great job at aerating the water so, even though you’re using less H2O, the water pressure still feels great. And they’re serious water savers: purchasing a low- flow shower head with the WaterSense label could save you up to 2900 gallons of water a year, according to the US Department of Energy.
5. Get a Programmable Thermostat
Programmable thermostats allow you to automatically change the temperature in your house based on the time of day. For example, when all of your family members are out at work or school, you can set your thermostat to a cooler temperature, and then have it automatically heat the house back up before everyone gets home.
Also, a general eco-friendly note about heating — adjusting your thermostat by just a couple of degrees can make a big difference in your costs. It’s estimated that you can save 3% on your heating bill for every degree you lower your heat.
6. Use the Right Window Coverings
Insulated curtains, also known as thermal drapes, might not sound very elegant. But not only do they come in several attractive colors and designs, these thick curtains also help keep heat out in the summer and in in the winter. An extra bonus? If you have trouble sleeping, these curtains are excellent at blocking both light and sound.
Another great way to keep your windows shaded is to plant the right trees outside.
According to energy expert Albert Cantu, “When you have the right tree in the right place, you can save up to 25 percent on your heating and cooling costs.”
7. Install Energy Star Appliances
The Energy Star label denotes a product that is energy efficient and can save you hundreds in energy costs over the life of your appliances. And the Energy Star label isn’t just on the big appliances you might immediately think of, says Justin Singletary — Energy Star also certifies lighting fixtures, fans, water heaters, and even vacuums and power tools.
8. Replace Disposable Household Products
Many of us have come to rely on disposable products for little jobs in our homes — paper napkins, paper towels, plastic bags, and so on. Replacing these disposable items with reusable ones can save you money and help eliminate waste. Cloth napkins are much more elegant than paper ones, and they can be used again and again. Old T-shirts can find new life as cleaning rags. And instead of storing food wrapped in foil or in disposable zipper bags try tucking it into Tupperware.
All these small changes can add up to big savings. Not sure how to get started? A great first step is to talk to your realtor and utility companies.
“They often offer free resources and reward green homeowners with discounts,” Justin Singletary said. “Taking advantage of these freebies is a win-win for Mother Earth and the homeowner.”