Not only is being ‘green’ good for the environment, but also your bank balance. By making simple changes to your home, you can save both the environment and minimize your monthly outgoings. It’s a win-win situation.
As property investors, we should be efficient at saving costs when it comes to our own properties, before trying to maximize profits on other properties. If you’re a landlord that pays for your tenant’s utility bills, you should apply some of these techniques to your investment- it’s the small changes that make the biggest impact.
Here is a list of ways you can make your home ‘green’:
1) Replace your old appliances
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommend that you dispose of any household appliance that is over 10years old, because the chances are they are the biggest energy hogs. Besides, products over 10year olds probably look outdated and smell funny- you don’t want to be apart of that, do you?
Appliance use compromises about 20% of a typical home’s total energy bill; the refrigerator being the biggest consumer. It is recommended that you replace your old appliance with energy-efficient models that bear their “Energy Star” logo.
2) Use water wisely
Water wastage has always been a huge problem in England, and that’s not down to the rare summer showers we have, it’s because we carelessly take our water supply for granted. There have been hosepipe bans on multiple occasions to help slowdown our water consumption. Here are a few actions you can take to save water around the home:- Plant during the spring or fall when the watering requirements are lower.
- Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway or sidewalk and save 80 gallons of water every time.
I got these examples from a ‘100 water-saving tips‘ guide I found a site called ‘water use it wisely’
3) Heating and cooling
Almost half of a home’s energy related to heating and cooling; so it’s important you get this right.- Air-conditioning is not cool. Try not to use your aircon, ceiling fans are a lot more environmentally friendly since they use a lot less enegery. Fans can save energy in both the summer and winter. In the summer, fan blades should revolve in a counterclockwise direction. Since moving air feels cooler, using ceiling fans in the summer allows you to raise the thermostat temperature, reducing the workload of your air conditioner.
- Install double glazing windows, they trap heat from escaping.
- Remove and replace damaged caulk and weather-stripping from your windows. Self-stick foam and rolled rubber weather-stripping are easy to install.
- To keep your home cool in warmer weather, delay heat-generating activities such as dishwashing until evening.
- If you do not use your fireplace, you may want to seal off and insulate the chimney. Be sure, however, to provide some ventilation for the flue. Make sure you remove the insulation when you decide to use the fireplace.
- If you’re a rabid user of the fireplace, consider adding a well-designed fireplace heater insert. These units come with blowers and thermostats. They are designed to significantly increase the heating efficiency of the fireplace while keeping the classic fireplace atmosphere.
4) Use Energy Saving Gadgets
Gadgets like Programmable thermostats can help reduce energy costs by lowering energy use during those times when you do not need it. In the winter, for example, your house does not need to be quite as warm when you are away at work, nor does it need to be as warm when you are asleep in bed. A programmable thermostat can tell your home’s heating system to gear up for your arrival after work, or to knock off a bit until an hour or so before you get up in the morning.
5) Light bulbs
This is by far the most simple and effective change you can make. Changing a light bulb is EASY, so why not change a standard incandescent bulb to a Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs)? They use over 50% less energy and they last significantly longer. You have no excuses.
6) Paint in style
The standard pot of paint contains toxic metals, solvents and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), all of which are bad for health and the environment. However, most paint manufacturers now have a zero- or low- VOC paint available. USE THEM INSTEAD!
7) Wooden floors
A lot of homeowners (especially in the UK) are embracing laminate floors, especially the wooden kind. Bamboo is environmentally friendly flooring material due to its high yield and the relatively fast rate at which it replenishes itself.
8.) Take advantage of the hot days
You can save a lot of engery during the summer days when it comes to drying your clothes after they have been washed. Simply hang your clothes on the washing line to dry when you can; give your tumble drier a rest.
9) Use appliances to their limit
When you use household appliances like dishwashers, drying machines, and washing machines, make sure you use them productively. For example, there is no point using the dishwasher if it only has a few plates in it. Make sure the appliances are pushed to their limit by using all the available space.
10) Don’t leave electrical appliances on standby mode
A lot of electic appliances around the house have the option of being left on “standby” mode- these features are usually designed for the lazy people that rely on remote controls to disable their appliances. Instead of lazing back on your lazy-boy chair, you should get up and switch things off properly e.g monitors, TV’s, VCR’s
11) Green your home office
The modern home usually has a office, and there are a tonne of ways you can make your office greener, or at least follow active steps while in the office to be a greener person.- Laptops use a lot less energy than the standard desktop computers- Flatscreen monitors, or LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) screens, use less than half the energy of traditional CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) monitors. LCD screens are lighter, more adjustable, and cause less eye strain as they don’t flicker plus their sharp display makes it easier to read text.
- Instead of throwing away thousands of sheets of paper a year, recycle, recycle and recycle. Obviously this doesn’t just apply in the office
- you can generally recycle any type of paper e.g newspapers, magazines..etc
12) Shower Vs Bath
I know a lot of people prefer their long, hot bubble bathes, but showers usually require less hot water than baths. And let’s face it; you’re only really stewing in your own filth when you have a bath. Be cleaner, be more water efficient- have a shower. Additional savings can be made by installing simple water-saving showerheads. This will reduce water consumption, which is good for everyone.
13) Keep your garden green in every sense possible.
- Consider using an old-fashioned push mower, especially if you have a small garden. The only energy expended is yours.
- Use compost instead of synthetic fertilizers. Compost provides a full complement of soil organisms and the balance of nutrients needed to maintain the soil’s well-being without the chemicals of synthetic fertilizers.
- Use native plants as much as possible. Native plants have adapted over time to the local environment and support native animals. They also use less water and require less of your attention.
- Stop using chemical pesticides. These toxic chemicals escape gardens and concentrate in the environment, posing threats to animals and people, especially children.