12 Green Home Improvements

Metro Editorial
Posted

Making home improvements doesn't have to mean compromising environmental ideals in the process. There are numerous jobs that a person can do that fit with a green lifestyle. While these improvements help protect the planet, they'll also help keep a few extra dollars in your wallet.

1. Conserve water: Turn off the tap between brushing teeth or rinsing off dishes. Better yet, install low-flow faucets, showerheads and toilets that reduce the consumption of water in the household.

2. Motion detection: Motion-detector lights can be installed in different rooms of the home and outdoors. Lights will automatically turn on and off depending on the activity in the area, reducing the chances of a light being left on inadvertently and wasting money and energy.

3. Solar panels: You may have been toying with the idea of solar panels for years. They can be installed on the roof or in the yard to power various components of the household, like lights during a traditional power outage or the swimming pool filter. Today it is possible to buy used solar panels, many of which still have a lot of life left to them and are considerably cheaper than new ones.

4. Aluminum-clad storm door: Insulate the entryway of your home with a storm door that will buffer against harsh weather conditions. While you're creating a more air-tight space, caulk around windows and doors.

5. Replace air filters: Your HVAC system likely has filters inside that trap dirt and contaminants. Replacing the filters leads to cleaner indoor air and helps the unit run more efficiently.

6. Power strips: Stock up on power strips and plug all of your peripherals and computer equipment into these strips. This way when you want to power down everything completely, you simply turn off the power button on the strip. This ensures no devices are drawing power even in the off position, which many do.

7. Install fans: Fans aren't just useful in the summer. In the winter, the blades can be set to rotate in the opposite direction and help draw warm air into the room, heating more efficiently.

8. Rainwater barrels: Set up rainwater barrels at the downspouts of your home's gutter system. These barrels collect water that can be used to water indoor and outdoor plants, or even wash the car. Some feature a spigot to which you can directly connect a garden hose.

9. Plant trees: Trees are good for the environment in many ways, producing necessary oxygen for life and offering food and living areas for wildlife. Trees can also shade a home during the warm weather, helping reduce energy consumption.

10. Glass fireplace doors: Install glass fireplace doors, which are safer than fireplace screens. They'll also help protect against heat loss up the chimney when there isn't a fire lit.

11. Buy a solar cover: Warm up your spa all season long with a solar cover, which helps keep debris out of the water, too. Solar covers reduce the need to fire up the heater to warm the water.

12. Dog waste composter: Create a method to safely dispose of dog waste without having to toss it in plastic bags in the trash. There are devices that can be buried into the ground to serve as a dog waste receptacle. Or you can make one of your own by placing a container with a lid that seals on top but has an open bottom. Sprinkle a natural bacteria septic tank product, such as Rid-X(R), down the hole routinely and it will break down the waste and turn it into soil fertilizer.

There are a variety of ways to go green with home improvements, whether extensive projects or small fixes.

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