The demand for eco-friendly housing is growing as more and more people join the go green movement. With environmental consciousness at the forefront of so many people’s minds, it’s no wonder why this housing tread is taking off. If you are looking at finding or creating the perfect eco-friendly home, there are a couple of things you should know.
Finding the Right Home for Your Family
First off, if you’re planning on moving into a new eco-friendly home, you need to know how to locate one. Nearly 40% of home buyers find real estate agents via referrals from friends and family. This is by far one of the best ways to find trusted agents in your desired area; however, if you’re moving to a new location or your friends and family end up drawing blanks, it doesn’t hurt to interview a couple of different agents to see which one you like best. Sites like Realtor offer great resources for finding real estate agents in any area you choose. Contact a couple of agents that stand out to you and ask them about eco-friendly homes that are on the market. Take notes along the way so that you can look up and compare your options. In some instances, sites like Zillow might have the home, or similar homes in the area listed for you to look at.
Creating an Eco-Friendly Landscape
It’s estimated that 67% of all landscaping projects take place at single-family residential properties. Once you’ve found the home for you, or you’ve decided to stay in your current home, there are certain landscaping steps that you can take to make it even more environmentally friendly.
- Cutting Back on Lawn Size
While not applicable in every situation, especially those with kids who appreciate having lost of space for them to play. However, for those with the option, cutting down on the size of your lawn by adding flowerbeds along the edges can reduce the amount of water you need while adding extra visual appeal that you can enjoy.
Hardscapes are a great solution for creating beautiful eco-friendly spaces. Pavers, boulders, and stepping stones can break up yards and add extra dimension and visual interest. You can also use pavers to create pathways to shady seating areas or other attractions that you and your family can utilize. Add in solar-powered lighting and you have a beautiful and creative space that can be enjoyed day and night.
- Planting Smartly
Flowers and plants are great for eco-friendly landscaping; however, some are more environmentally friendly than others. Annuals are beautiful additions but require much more water to maintain. If you’re going to be planting, consider using perennials instead to lower water consumption without compromising beauty or appeal. Ornamental grasses are also a great choice as they don’t require much maintenance or water, and can add extra depth and dimension to any garden. It’s also recommended to start planting when temps are cooler and rain is plentiful to ensure that your plants get a good start right out of the gate.
- Layering the Landscape
Layering can also help extra dimension and depth to your landscape without costing too much water. If you use perennials, native grasses, and shrubs around the edges of your lawn, you can help create a unique and dimensional space that looks great both inside and out. Shrubbery, in particular, if well maintained, can add up to 14% in property value and curb appeal. With this technique, you can build an eco-friendly space that is both beautiful and environmentally conscious.
- Using Mulch
Mulch is great for preventing water loss and helping mitigate weed growth. Adding just two inches of new mulch each year will give your flowerbeds a clean earthy appearance that you can enjoy for the rest of the year without much maintenance.
- Smart Irrigation
Sprinklers and water cans can water a lot of water by watering sidewalks, patios, and driveways, as opposed to actual flowerbeds. Smart irrigation systems can help prevent this by delivering dripped water directly to plants with minimal loss. It’s important to adjust your irrigation system as needed to ensure it delivers water where needed and isn’t leaking anywhere down the line. Systems like this allow you to water for longer periods, but less frequently. This encourages deeper root growth and tolerance to drought conditions, something many residential plants don’t usually have.
Going Green Inside Your Home
While the outside of your home is important for creating an eco-friendly green space, that’s only half of creating a truly eco-conscious home. If you’re looking to transform the interior of your home as well, here are some steps to get you started.
- Water Waste
Just as you don’t want to waste water outside, the same applies to indoor activities. Ensure that all leaks are fixed and water-saving appliances and utilities are installed. This includes toilets, showers, washers, and dishwashers. You should also ensure that you don’t run the water constantly when brushing your teeth or shaving, and stick to short showers instead of baths.
- Smart Meters and Insulation
Insulation and smart meters go hand in hand. While heating and cooling are one of the biggest ways we burn through energy, without proper insulation it’s hard to maintain temps in the first place. However, once you’re certain your insulation is adequate, a smart meter can be installed to help you save energy even more. Programmable to ensure it only runs at specific times, these meters are amazing investments for eco-friendly families.
- Changing Lightbulbs
Energy-efficient lightbulbs are one of the easiest ways to light your homes while staying green. The great news about energy-efficient lights is that they use less energy than traditional bulbs, but last much longer. In some cases, these bulbs can last upwards of 15,000 hours — or 1.7 years if left on 24/7 and 3.4 years if run 12 hours each day. Overall this cuts back on your energy consumption and can help save you money!
- Embrace Natural Cleaning
Cleaning chemicals aren’t just bad for the environment, but they can be bad for you too. Every time you wash them down the drain they are introduced into the water supply, meaning more energy-consuming purification before reuse. Thankfully, there are natural alternatives to these harmful cleaning chemicals that get the job done just as well — if not better. Citric acid and vinegar can take the place of caustic chemicals leaving your home clean and eco-friendly.
This one fits in between the indoors and outdoors and is great for those with gardens. If you have space, create a compost pile or compost bin outside where you can toss anything that can be turned into compost and recycled. This not only saves you from wasting, but it can be great for growing gardens!
- Smart Cooking
Eco-consciousness includes meal prep and cooking as well. This means being aware of the things you buy and how you use your appliances. Things like coffee pods are a huge environmental problem with single-use plastic pods piling up in landfills after than anyone anticipated. Additionally, even energy-efficient stoves and ovens can be misused if you leave the oven door open too long and force it to work harder to maintain temperature. The little things can add up quickly and if you want the most eco-friendly home possible it’s not just in what you buy, but in what you do as well.
If you’re in search of the perfect eco-friendly home, or if you’re looking into renovating the home you have keep these tips in mind and remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. While creating a green home is great for the environment, it’s also important to know what is allowed in your neighborhood and what is feasible for your lifestyle. With all this in mind, you can tailor your home to match both your lifestyle and your eco-conscious goals.