7 Ways to Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly
It’s no secret that our world is undergoing rapid and undeniable change, including the environment we adore. Nowhere is this more evident than in our dynamic South Florida landscape. With rising temperatures, we face more powerful storm damage, plenty of hot days ahead, and the harming of our precious marine life. Despite this, hope is on the horizon. As stewards of our slice of paradise, we can make a positive impact. By embracing eco-conscious practices within our homes, we can create a ripple effect of change that safeguards our unique ecosystem and enhances our quality of life.
What Are Eco-Friendly Homes?
You might wonder, "What is an eco-friendly home?" If solar panels immediately come to mind, you are on the right track (more on that later). Eco-friendly homes are ingeniously designed to promote greener living, effectively reducing the emission of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. These homes combine sustainable materials and cutting-edge technologies, leading to lower energy consumption and reduced water usage for homeowners.
Why Go Eco-Friendly?
Eco-friendly houses are part of a growing sustainable trend that enhances energy efficiency and shrinks our carbon footprint. These environmentally conscious homes offer a more secure future for our planet and noticeable reductions in utility bills. Beyond that, adopting a more eco-friendly lifestyle results in lower maintenance needs, improved air quality, reduced expenses, and more. It's important to note that while new eco-friendly homes might require a higher initial investment (1%-11% more in construction costs), the long-term benefits far outweigh this upfront expense.
The Future of Homebuilding
The shift toward eco-friendly practices in home construction is gaining momentum. There’s an Energy and Environmental Building Alliance (EEBA) group of 72,000 builders, architects, and other stakeholders across North America collaborating on how to build homes more sustainably. Zero-energy homes and apartments are diminishing reliance on conventional energy sources while fostering self-sufficiency.
The appeal goes beyond sustainability; there's also a considerable return on investment. According to a recent study, a home with an EnergyStar rating can boost its value by 9 percent. Homes with energy-saving and sustainable features command higher prices and create high demand among buyers.
7 Tips for Creating an Eco-Friendly Home
While there are many ways to improve your home, here are seven of the easiest methods to consider. Keep these tips top of mind, and you'll be one step closer to a sustainable future that benefits you and the environment.
1. Install Energy- and Water-Efficient Appliances
Households continue to play a significant role in producing harmful greenhouse gasses due to their extensive use of energy-consuming appliances. Start by investing in energy- and water-efficient appliances, like dryers, washers, refrigerators, freezers, and air purifiers. You’ll not only save money on your water bill but also reduce your carbon footprint.
2. Buy a Smart Thermostat
What is a smart thermostat? A smart thermostat, equipped with Wi-Fi connectivity, optimizes heating and cooling temperatures for optimal performance. Beyond simple adjustments, you can tailor settings to your work schedule, frequented areas within your home, and preferred temperature settings for different times of the day. You can even program your system to activate and deactivate based on your timetable, weather conditions, and the number of people at home.
3. Use Recycled, Renewable, and Locally Sourced Building Materials
Selecting sustainable materials leads to less waste compared to conventional options like plastic. This choice results in fewer items in landfills, reduced energy consumption, and a smaller overall environmental impact. Consider making tweaks with the flooring you choose or cabinetry in your kitchen.
4. Properly Insulate Your Home
A well-insulated home offers lasting advantages. It minimizes heat loss, reduces energy expenses, enhances comfort, and decreases the environmental impact. Opt for eco-friendly insulation materials like sheep's wool, cork, cellulose, and Icynene, and ensure the products are manufactured using energy-efficient processes.
5. Install Solar Panels
We’re all familiar with the rise of solar panels. They’ve become a more common sight around town at places such as Oceanfront Beach Park; you might have even seen them adorning rooftops in neighborhoods. That’s because solar panels harness the sun’s energy into power. As South Florida boasts ample sunlight, adding solar panels to your home reduces reliance on traditional electricity sources, favoring power generated directly from your rooftop. On average, solar panel installation ranges from $11,050 to $14,950 in Florida.
For an even simpler option, consider the FPL SolarTogether program, available to all FPL customers in Florida, no matter if you rent or own your home or condo. This alternative relies on Florida-based solar energy centers, eliminating the need for rooftop panels.
6. Be Mindful of Landscaping Materials
One thing that might go unnoticed when you become a homeowner is how much you’ll invest in landscaping. Instead of choosing plants that only look good, try planting varieties native to our Florida landscape. This will require less maintenance and water and keep the plants healthier over time. Did you know 500 square feet of lawn can take up about 67,500 gallons of water annually? Also, avoid using chemicals or pesticides where possible, as the toxins enter our water supply and contaminate it. These chemicals pose risks to the environment, our health, our pets, and other wildlife.
7. Sustainable Windows
Invest in sustainable windows with a low-emissivity (Low-E) glass coating, reflecting heat indoors during winter and away during summer. Triple-pane or double-pane windows are strongly recommended for peak energy efficiency in various climate zones. The insulation between window panes conserves energy and lowers electricity costs.
While these seven tips merely scratch the surface of available options, the possibilities are boundless. As highlighted, incorporating practical strategies like energy-efficient appliances, solar panel utilization, and insulation optimization lays the foundation for a more sustainable future for both South Floridians and beyond. Consider starting here and seeking out even more ways to become more eco-friendly in the future.
Posted by Live Modern on