Whether you want an aesthetic spruce-up or want to cut back on energy bills and your carbon footprint at the same time, adding some green upgrades in your home is the perfect answer. And best of all, you can do it no matter what your budget. Here are some of the top trending green home upgrades of 2017 to kick-start your inspiration.
Trend 1: Save Some Water
Low-flow faucets are easy to purchase and install, and they decrease water usage by up to 40% compared to older faucet aerators, according to Conserve H2O. Low flush toilets and low flow showerheads decrease water usage, too. As far as your backyard is concerned, use rainwater storage instead of hoses when watering plants and completing other outdoor tasks to maximize your savings.
Trend 2: Reclaimed Materials
Dreaming of a hardwood floor? You don’t have to expand your carbon footprint to install luxury. Reclaimed wood is surging in popularity as more homeowners aspire to live a green lifestyle. This wood is recycled, rather than acquired from living trees. You can reclaim wood on your own by upcycling a piece of furniture you no longer need, or you can purchase reclaimed wood from various vendors — just be on the lookout for the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) logo which certifies that the product is sustainable and doesn’t cause a negative effect on the environment.
If you can’t find reclaimed wood that suits your style, opt for a renewable resource for your hardwood floors. Bamboo is a safe solution with natural beauty and elegance. Bamboo plants reach maturity in under five years, which makes the resource significantly more renewable than traditional oak or cedar.
Trend 3: Upgrade to Solar Energy
Solar panels may seem like an expensive investment, but once you break it down, it’s not so intimidating. Many states offer federal tax rebates by percentages of total costs or lump sums. You may even be exempt from additional property taxes that result from the value solar panels will add to your home. You can even use this solar panel cost calculator to give you an idea of how much you’ll be spending. In case you do decide to sell your home, though, you will be able to ask for a better price. It’s a win-win!
Using solar energy will significantly decrease your monthly utility bills, and you can even sell energy back to the grid. Most states pay you at the same rate they charge you, and other states offer tax deductions to compensate. Your house could make you money, and you won’t have to do a thing.
Trend 4: Make Your Home Smarter
Replacing a standard thermostat with a smart thermostat is a great way to get acquainted with home automation. Smart thermostats like the Nest allow you to set a heating and cooling schedule to maximize your energy savings. You can program the Nest from your smartphone to heat up or cool down a few degrees while you’re at work or on vacation. You can then set it to return to normal while you’re on the way home. Regulating your A/C and heating levels will save you money every month.
You can also control your lights from a smartphone app. First, install greener light bulbs, like LEDs, which use 25 to 80 percent less energy than traditional incandescents and last much longer. You can also opt for smart tech like the WeMo light switch, which allows you to regulate your lights right from your smartphone.
By giving your home an eco-friendly makeover, you’ll be saving money and beautifying the space where you spend most of your time. Going green has never been so appealing!