Guest Author: Anthony Moretti
In addition to other major trends in homeownership for 2022, eco-friendly features are very popular. Especially among Millennial home buyers, eco-consciousness is extremely important and high on their list of priorities.
So, if you’re looking to boost the value of your Cincinnati home in order to sell, or just to save money and make your home greener and energy-efficient, then there are several things you can do.
From easy things like swapping appliances or installing energy-efficient light bulbs to bigger investments like solar panels, there is no shortage of solutions if your goal is to help the planet by reducing your home’s carbon footprint.
The best thing you can do for your home, and for the planet, by extension, is to invest in some solar panels to install on the roof. That way, you can harness natural resources you benefit from and transform solar power into incredibly valuable energy to power your home.
The advantages are immediate – by switching to solar power, you can save more than half your electricity bill. And while you will continue to reap the benefits for decades to come, the upfront cost is also significant: it costs an average of $16,000 to install solar panels for a regular home.
However, the savings are incomparable. In fact, you may even be able to sell your excess back to the power grid and make a profit. Over a period of 20 years, your overall savings can range from $10,000 to $35,000, depending on your consumption and energy costs in Cincinnati across that period.
How well insulated is your home? Most people don’t realize it, but it’s not just your heating method that helps keep your home warm and cozy; you have to also make sure you’re helping trap the warm air inside. If your home is not well insulated, then all that hot air is escaping and cold air is penetrating your home, especially when it’s windy. That means your furnace is working overtime, increasing consumption, but not actually heating up your home.
Insulation starts with the innermost layers inside your walls, but if you can’t change that, then there are other things you can do, like filling up the gaps around your windows and doors; a lot of heat actually escapes through your windows. In addition, you can also add thicker curtains – that’s one more layer to keep the cold air out.
Did you know you can become a more eco-friendly household just based on the way you handle your trash, alone? Recycling paper, plastic, and aluminum is certainly a start and an excellent first step, but you can take it one step further in your eco-friendly journey and start composting your household organic matter.
Whether it’s banana peels or leaves raked from your yard in the fall, you can gather it all in a compost heap or bin. That doesn’t just reduce the amount of trash your household produces, but it also actively helps the environment by putting nourishment and fertilizer back in the land, instead of sending it to the landfill. It’s easier to decompose and great for the soil.
It’s true – your current set-up with a large flat-screen TV is a major energy suck, and at 2-3 hours of TV time per day, that adds up to weeks spent in front of the TV per year. That is not the most eco-friendly way to get your entertainment. Not only does your large TV have high energy consumption while you’re actively watching, but it also consumes energy when it’s off.
The solution? Switch to internet-based entertainment, or at least, a smaller screen. That way, you can still watch all your regular programs, but you are not contributing as much to the carbon footprint. It’s the small choices that add up to create big changes.
Modern tech like smart thermostats helps you make your energy consumption more efficient, which can really help you save on that energy bill, in addition to cutting down on waste and being more eco-friendly.
A smart thermostat is one of the first devices homeowners typically choose to invest in when they first dip their toe into the smart home device pool. The reasons are simple: it’s not a major expense, but it brings a lot of advantages to a home.
In addition to the inherent comfort and convenience, a device like this provides – who doesn’t want to be able to heat up their home with the simple tap on their phone? – a smart thermostat enables you to closely control the way you heat or cool your home, and establish the most energy-efficient way to do it.
That helps you reduce your energy consumption and the subsequent bill, and it’s a green device because it also reduces the carbon footprint your home generates. It is estimated that using a smart thermostat can bring you savings of $131 to $145 per year as a result of reduced consumption of 10%-15% for both cooling and heating, as per Nest.
It may not seem like a significant effort compared to other things you can do, but even the run-of-the-mill appliances you use can contribute to both energy savings and money savings. Think back to the last time you changed major home appliances, like your fridge, washing machine, or dryer – how many years it’s been? Chances are that you can find better, more modern appliances with a better energy efficiency rating.
They are going to use less energy, less water, and their use will be overall less damaging to the environment, compared to older, more outdated models. Look into your local programs – you may be eligible for a voucher or other savings when you choose to buy a new, energy-efficient model.
A smaller, but not insignificant move you can make is to switch to smart, energy-saving light bulbs. It may not seem like a big deal, but between the dozens of light bulbs you have in your home and the reduced consumption for each one, it adds up to less energy consumption and a smaller bill.
Plus, it’s more comfortable and convenient to control lights in your home with smart light bulbs. It enables features like light dimming, brightening, and turning on and off remotely, on your phone. You never risk forgetting the porch light on all night – even something that minor matters in the long run.
Thankfully, people are more and more eco-conscious, especially the younger generations. There is a better understanding of what we can all do to contribute, and better choices are more accessible than ever before.
There are many ways to make your Cincinnati home more eco-friendly, whether it’s insulating your home to achieve better energy efficiency, swapping your TV for an internet subscription, or making sure to compost, instead of just trashing.
Some choices make a bigger impact than others, but they all contribute towards the same major goal of reducing harm and saving the planet, so every little bit helps.
About the Author: Anthony Moretti developed his great love of the outdoors while growing up in the Pacific Northwest. Now he applies that love to helping others figure out how to live more sustainably. His passions include real estate, new tech, and hiking with his Labrador, Max.