Improving your home and the quality of life in it doesn’t have to involve big and expensive projects. They can be smaller, simpler, less expensive, and on top of all of that – green. Green living is a conscientious way of living, it reduces the carbon footprint your leave behind and the harmful impact that some of our everyday practices leave on the environment. With these green home improvement you will not only live more comfortably and improve the quality of your house, but you will also conserve energy and have a less harmful impact on the environment.
1. Attic insulation and air leaks
The first and most important thing to do to prevent energy waste is to inspect your attic and its insulation, and to seal all the air leaks around your house.
Attics have proven to be the most vulnerable parts of the house in the sense that there is usually bad or no insulation there. A lot of people often forget about the attic, since it is probably the least used room in the house, or simply don’t think it is important to make any big improvements or renovations there. However, it usually turns out to be the biggest energy drain in the house, so it is important to pay special attention to it and insulate it properly.
Apart from the attic, you should carefully inspect your house for any air leaks. They can usually be found around chimneys, light fixtures, in the basements, around doors and windows etc. Make sure to seal them all by caulking the smaller, skinny gaps, squirting foam into some bigger ones, and weather-stripping your doors and windows to tighten them up.
2. Non-toxic carpet
It may not seem like a big or an important and efficient improvement, but having a proper carpet can go a long way towards improving your home. Many carpets, whether old or new, contain or are made with the help of adhesives which contain harmful compounds known as VOCs – volatile organic compounds. They are harmful to the environment, but more importantly, they are harmful for your health and affect the air quality inside your house and you need to beware of that soft cozy feeling beneath your feet called carpet.
When you are buying a new carpet make sure that they are as natural and as safe as possible by choosing those that are labeled “low VOC,” made of natural fibers such as jute, wool, sisal or seagrass, that are lightweight and preferably with no padding.
Apart from being eco-friendly, carpets have a lot of other benefits. Having them all around the house is a cheap, but also comfortable solution for your floors. They also serve as noise dampeners, so you will not hear every footstep and movement around the house. And, above all, they are also good insulators and keep your home warmer. They maintain the air temperature inside so you will not have to turn up your heat too much during cold days, which makes them energy-efficient and a great addition to your home.
3. Smart power strips
There are also some affordable solutions when it comes to green, smart technology. This is a piece of small smart technological gadget that is easily available to anyone, and that can help decrease your energy use.
Many of us have a house full of technological devices – TVs, computers, laptops, etc., and they all use a lot of energy, even when they are turned off, which many of us are not aware of. Smart power strips function through a control device that cuts power to all the systems that use energy even when they are turned off. What we are not aware of often is that they are not actually off, but only in stand-by mode. With power strips, you simply need to turn off the control device, and it cuts the power from all other devices on the strip. They will then be fully turned off and will not drain electricity.
4. Gardens, lawns and curb appeal
When thinking about green home improvements, don’t disregard the outside of your house as well. It is an important part and it significantly adds to the curb appeal and to the value of the house if you have a beautiful and well-maintained garden or front lawn.
Along with the curb appeal, you can also have an environmentally friendly garden, a sustainable garden, since there are many green solutions available for landscaping and advanced irrigation solutions as well. For example, through composting and mulching you can avoid using fertilizers and pesticides that are full of chemicals and harmful for the environment. Apart from that, there also many ways of sustainable watering that conserve water, such as rain barrels, or a drip irrigation system. And when it comes to the type of plants, always try to plant native and drought-resistant plants, since they will require less watering, less maintaining, and all in all you will waste less resources and energy on them.