The home is the core of family. It’s where we spend the most time with each other, where memories are made and where meals are shared—it only makes sense that your home reflects your personal values and those you want to pass down to your children.
Nature moms know the importance of leading a green, sustainable lifestyle; it’s not only critical for the environment, but going eco-friendly has a number of personal benefits, too! Greener living saves money and promotes better health, which is why you should apply your natural eating, shopping, and living preferences to your entire home.
As socially conscious as we are about the importance of our individual decisions in day-to-day life, many of us are less-than aware of operations within our homes that drain precious resources. Fortunately, you can optimize a number of in-home processes in order to reduce your carbon footprint, save money on utility bills, and encourage stronger immunity.
Here are four renovation projects to consider taking up this year to grow a greener family!
I love natural and sustainable gardening more than the next homesteader, but it’s important for me to be mindful of my water consumption. If you find yourself going through gallons upon gallons to beautify your outdoor living space or grow produce, consider these easy xeriscaping projects that can help you cut back:
- Scale back your turf area only to where children and pets need it
- Improve and amend soil to encourage water retention
- Introduce a rain garden in runoff areas
- Plant native and drought-resistant plants in hot climates
- Irrigate and water responsibly
The backyard is a great springboard to harmonize yourself with nature by going greener, little by little. Most of these projects are expensive at all, meaning you can take on multiple renovations without breaking the bank.
The great thing about green home renovations is that many homeowners can access finance to help pay for larger, costlier projects. Funding is available at state and federal levels. Say, for, example you’re a resident of the Sunshine State who wants to stop watering a lawn that’s difficult and expensive to maintain; you might qualify for PACE financing in Florida to cover your turf installation or receive a generous tax credit on your federal return.
Complete an Energy Audit
Your HVAC system is one of the biggest energy burners in your home; are you making it work harder than it should? Before diving into any massive renovations, you’ll want to take a temperature check on how your home is currently performing by completing an energy audit.
- Check windows and doors for drafts
- Inspect ventilation systems
- Examine home insulation
- Use an electricity monitor
- Upgrade lightbulbs to LEDs
For assistance, you can get an energy home rating from a certified pro in your area. By identifying what and where your trouble areas are, you can make strategic adjustments and prioritize the largest problems before tackling the remaining touchups.
Upgrade Your Windows
An energy audit may reveal that your windows are draftier than the industry standard, which could cause you to run your heating and air more often than necessary. Call in a pro who can help you install energy-efficient windows, as they’ll have the advanced knowledge about which materials to use.
As it turns out, the production is equally as important as the substance. Take cellular PVC, a popular eco-friendly choice, for example—it’s energy-efficient, but produced using a process that releases toxins into the earth’s atmosphere, causing you to do equal parts harm and good.
When buying eco-friendly windows from local sources, keep these tips in mind:
- Vinyl (like PVC) is made using toxic, inefficient processes
- Aluminum and steel are recyclable but offer less insulation
- Double- and triple-panes provide better insulation, but cost more money
- Fiberglass windows are made from sand, a virtually limitless resource
Swap Out Appliances
Once you tackle your home’s infrastructure, take a look at how modern your appliances are. Everything from your washer/dryer unit to your dishwasher should be up to the industry energy standard.
It might cost you a bit to invest in greener living upfront, but at the end of the day, Mother Nature will thank you, your kids will thank you, and you’ll thank yourself for creating a space that’s more in touch with the natural world.