Deb Tebbs Group

Cascade Sotheby's International Realty

Eco-Friendly Home Upgrades to Keep Your Neighborhood Green

hand holding Green city concept, cut the leaves of plants

Sustainability and going green are a couple of buzz words that have become popular over the last decade or so, but what do they mean? Sustainability, to put it simply, is the ability to utilize the resources of our planet without being a drain or causing permanent damage, while going green involves incorporating a lifestyle that is friendly to the environment and supports sustainability for the Earth.

That all sounds great, but what can you do to be a part of the movement and not only help conserve our planet but possibly save some money while you are doing it? Like many things in life, it often starts at home.

   Quick and Easy

Some of the improvements you can make to your home take very little effort and have relatively drastic results. Switching away from incandescent bulbs can save in a couple of ways. Not only do higher efficiency bulbs use almost 75 percent less energy, nearly 90 percent of the energy emitted by older light bulbs is heat. Swapping out these lights can potentially save you upwards of $50 per year or more depending on the size of your home. Energy efficient bulbs also last up to 25 times longer than their incandescent cousins, according to The National Association of Realtors.

Small, green habits like replacing your air filters regularly and making sure to shut off appliances when the room is empty can make a huge impact on your current energy costs. Many chargers for devices such as cell phones and laptops continue to drain electricity whether or not they are plugged in, so make sure and unplug the charger from the wall when your tech is not in use. It’s also advisable to plug all electronics into surge protectors and switch them off when they are not in use—even some televisions and DVD players drain electricity when they are plugged in.

   Bigger and Better

Replacing your major appliances to Energy Star rated appliances can make an impact. Not only are they more efficient and use less electricity, they often increase the overall value of your home. Sealing and insulating the ductwork, using a programmable thermostat and sealing air leaks throughout your home can drastically cut down on your heating and cooling bills.

It is estimated that 30 percent of a home’s energy escapes through the windows, according to Champion Home Exteriors. Conserve the energy and save on your energy bills by upgrading your current windows with replacement windows that are Energy Star rated. This home improvement can dramatically reduce the amount of heat that flows into your home, while adding resale value and curb appeal.

It is important to remember that going green is a long term approach to conserving the Earth and battling rising energy costs—it is somewhat unlikely that you will see a drastic drop in your bill right away. Energy prices will continue to rise, predicts the U.S. Energy Information Administration. By implementing these green solutions, you will buffer yourself against potential rising costs and increase your overall home value.

By the year 2040, electricity costs will nearly double and crude oil prices more than quadruple. By planning ahead and preparing for those price increases now, the money you can potentially save can be drastic. A recent study conducted in California has shown that homes that are GreenPoint Rated or LEED homes can see an increase of up to 10 percent on their overall value when it comes time to sell.

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