If you’re in a position to build or buy a new home, you have the opportunity to make an environment-friendly choice. There are a multitude of ways you can make your next home friendlier to the environment, thereby making a positive impact on your local and worldwide community. Here are some ideas you should try!
Insulation can reduce your dependence on your thermostat to heat or cool your home. This helps keep utility expenditures low. Electricity comes from coal fired plants, so the less electricity you use, the greener your home will be. Additionally, insulation benefits the environment by keeping emissions of carbon dioxide, sulfur oxide, and nitrogen oxide lower. Consider upgrading your insulation to make your home friendlier to the environment and reduce your utility bill.
Custom Build It
Custom building your home is a great way to go green. Choosing to custom build your home gives you the opportunity to use sustainable building materials and energy efficient designs. There are many green benefits to building a home from scratch. Green homes consume less energy, have a reduced environmental impact, are healthier for the inhabitants, save the forests, and have a higher resale value. These are only a few of the many amazing benefits of building a home from scratch.
Install Solar Panels
Solar panels are the most effective way to get green energy for your home. The sun is a reliable source of power, especially in desert areas. Energy from the sun is clean, pure, and free. Solar panels on your roof are an investment that will pay off over time. These panels have low maintenance costs and will help decrease your utility spending and create a more earth friendly and renewable house climate. Installing solar panels is one great way to do your part to reduce the world’s reliance on fossil fuels.
Use Efficient Light Bulbs
Using energy efficient lightbulbs can cut your power bill substantially. All light bulbs need energy to burn; the more efficient your bulb is, the less energy it will burn. More efficient electricity use not only cuts down the demand on local coal fired plants, but it also allows for home installed renewable energy sources like solar panels to step in and produce enough energy to match your demand. Less efficient light fixtures in a home could easily create enough of an electrical burden that solar panels simply wouldn’t keep up with.
Replace an Old Appliance
Old appliances are some of the biggest energy guzzlers in existence. Appliances often use more power than they need to run, resulting in a waste of energy. Newer, more streamlined appliances are much more efficient in their power usage. Old appliances that use water could be using too much water, therefore wasting that precious resource.
Use Low-Flow Water Fixtures
Water is the Earth’s most precious resource. It is vital to all life, so it is important not to waste it. Older fixtures like toilets and dishwashers can waste a surprising amount of water. Investing in smart water technologies is a good way to ensure that water is not being pointlessly wasted. Consider installing low-flow toilets, faucets, shower-heads, and other appliances to save water. Toilets and other appliances and fixtures often come in gallons or liters/use classifications, so make sure you are investing in the best equipment possible.
Invest in New Windows
New windows can really make a difference in your utility bill. Glass heats up and cools down very quickly, and that heat/cold can get transferred inside your home. This temperature transfer can result in more thermostat usage and a higher utility bill. Many old windows are single paned, which means that air can escape (or come in) at an uncontrollable level.
By contrast, new windows will often have two panes of glass with a gas-filled space between. This gap allows for a buffer zone between the inside and the outside, so there is less heat transfer happening on the glass surface. New window systems will keep the air inside your house from escaping, therefore keeping your utility costs down. Additionally, most modern windows are made out of recyclable materials. Invest in new windows for improved air quality and a lower energy consumption.
Go Green in Landscaping Your Yard
Another way you can make your home more environment-friendly is by literally going green through planting trees. Trees are powerful tools in the fight against climate change. They remove carbon dioxide from the air and release oxygen into the atmosphere. They also attract birds and wildlife, prevent soil erosion, clean our water, and add aesthetic beauty to homes and communities. Planting trees in strategic places throughout your yard can also reduce your AC bill.
On the other hand, yard landscaping can be a big waste of water and electricity. When you landscape your yard, consider installing in LED or solar power lights in order to save energy. Install efficient sprinkler systems to maximize water usage efficiency. Avoid watering your lawn every day if possible.
Start a Garden
Planting a garden is a fabulous way to help the environment. Like trees, many of the plants in a garden can fight climate change through their process of organic photosynthesis. When you plant your garden, try to choose species native to your local environment. These native species will thrive better and will not require the host of potentially harmful fertilizers and pesticides to survive.
Additionally, growing your own fruits and vegetables will allow you to start living a more sustainable lifestyle. The produce sold in most supermarkets has traveled thousands of miles to reach your local store, thereby using up a substantial amount of energy. Planting, growing, and eating your own produce will lower your carbon footprint. It will help you live a healthier lifestyle through the physical work of gardening, as well as the mental satisfaction of preparing and eating your own food.
These are only a few ways to make your home friendlier to the environment. As you make intentional, environmentally-friendly choices, you and your family will be healthier, happier, and safer.
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A home is often one of the most valuable assets a person has. Disaster-proofing your home is essential, even if you don’t live in an area with frequent natural disasters. There are many different types of disasters you might experience in your lifetime; taking the necessary steps to protect your home will give you the best possible chance of surviving these with as little damage as possible.
Secure Your Foundation
The foundation of your home is critical to its survival during a natural disaster. Knowing that your foundation is strong enough to withstand extreme natural forces will give you peace of mind. Many older homes and houses built more than two decades ago have foundations that will not be able to withstand an earthquake. You should secure your foundation by making sure it’s directly connected to the upper portion of the house. Connecting the two structures will do wonders for the strength of your foundation. If you are unsure about the strength of your home’s foundation, taking steps to get it professionally inspected is a wise choice.
Update Old Electrical Systems
Old electrical systems can cause numerous problems—even disastrous ones. One of the most dangerous problems associated with old electrical systems is that they are more likely to spark fires. The best way to know if your electrical systems require an update is to ask a professional electrician. You can even ask multiple electricians for advice and quotes as to how much a new system will cost. While updating your electrical systems might seem overwhelming and expensive, it will be worth it in order to ensure the safety of your home and family in a disaster.
Keep Your Trees Trimmed
There are more benefits than just aesthetic ones when it comes to trimming your trees. Keeping your trees trimmed will prevent branches from falling onto electrical wires or causing structural damage to your home in the case of a disaster and high winds. Taking the time to keep your trees trimmed will save you from often catastrophic consequences.
Secure Your Roofing
A damaged or compromised roof can cause all kinds of problems, especially during a disaster. Make sure to fix your roof if it’s leaking or in disrepair. There are several signs that can alert you to a possible leak in your roof. These include water stains on the ceiling, drips or moisture on the walls, water spots on your exterior walls under the roof line, moss or mold on an exterior wall, and missing shingles or debris in your downspouts. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should get your roof checked for a leak. Even if the leak seems small and insignificant, it can still be dangerous. Additionally, the material of your roof can affect your home’s disaster readiness. A metal roof is safer because it isn’t flammable like asphalt.
Water is one of the leading causes of disasters throughout the world. Whether it’s as dramatic as a hurricane or as common as a flood in your basement, you should invest in waterproofing for your home. Water damage can be hard to recognize because it often builds up over a period of months or years before it causes a major disaster. You should make sure to waterproof your foundation, roof, exterior walls, windows, and doors. Make sure these are free from structural damage and that any cracks are sealed from the elements. You should also make sure to keep your gutters and drains free from obstructions so that they don’t break or overflow.
For basements, exterior waterproofing is the best solution, although it’s expensive. This process will involve excavating the outside of your house down to the foundation, and then installing a waterproof coating or membrane topped by drainage panels.This helps to stop water from entering your basement.
Repair Damage Quickly
One of the best ways to protect your home from disaster is to repair any existing damage as quickly as possible. If you ignore or procrastinate these problems, the damage can increase over time and easily turn into a disaster all on its own. Common causes of structural damage to houses include water, improper drainage, roof damage, clogged or broken rain gutters, broken windows, and broken doors.
Complete a Home Hazard Checklist
In almost every home, there are certain health and safety hazards that the owners don’t even realize exist. Completing a home hazard checklist can help you identify common safety hazards within your own home. Common items on a home hazard checklist include anchoring pictures and mirrors, bolting bookcases and shelves to the walls, storing breakables in cabinets with a secure latch, securing hanging lights and plants with anchors, and removing furniture and debris from the outdoors. You should also make sure your smoke and C02 detectors have new batteries, know how to shut off your utilities, use a fire extinguisher, and check gas or electrical lines for leaks. After completing a home hazard checklist, make sure to follow up on items needing repairs or updates.
Invest in Insulation
Making sure your home has good insulation will help protect it from a disaster. In freezing temperatures, homes without good isolation can be infiltrated by cold air and wind. If your pipes are left without sufficient insulation the water can freeze, expand, and rip open the pipe, which will obviously cause a major leak. Adding enough weather stripping and pipe insulation can help prevent this problem. Pipe insulation is effective, affordable, and easy to install.
Prepare Emergency Equipment
It’s important to recognize that even if you have gone out of your way to disaster-proof your home, severe emergencies and disasters can still cause significant damage. In cases such as these, it’s wise to have emergency kits prepared ahead of time. Consider preparing basic emergency kits for each member of your family. A basic emergency kit usually includes items such as a three-day supply of water and food, a battery-powered or hand crank radio, flashlight, first aid kit, extra batteries, whistle, duct tape and plastic sheeting, toilet paper, wrench, can opener, maps, and back up cell phone with chargers.
You never know when a disaster might occur, so it’s always good to be prepared just in case.These are just a few ideas to help you get started in disaster-proofing your home. If you need extra help in your preparations, calling a professional contractor is always a good idea.
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Spring is a great time to make home improvements and get ready for summer! Here are some ideas for home improvements you should complete before spring ends:
A Patio Area
Create a patio area so you can spend more time outside! If you’re interested in creating a patio area, you should first take some time to brainstorm and figure out your vision for the space. Your patio area may be small or large, but if you approach it with an artistic concept, it will turn out beautifully either way!
You cancreate a patio in your yard by laying stone pavers on top of a sand and gravel base. This is easy and cost-effective because you don’t have to pay for concrete. And, if you change your mind in the future, you can easily pick up the pavers and move them somewhere else. You can spruce up your patio space by adding an outdoor grill, campfire pit, umbrella, and table and chairs.
A pool makes a great addition during the summer because it lets you cool off whenever it’s hot, and have fun at the same time! It can be a multi-functional space for fitness, socializing, and relaxation. But before you get a pool, you should educate yourself on the different types of pools out there, and the maintenance costs associated with them.
Before getting a pool, you need to understand the basics of pool filter maintenance. Here are some important things to remember about pool filters: cleaning your pool often and sweeping its walls and floor will help extend the life of your filter, as well as upkeeping the pool generally. As the filter sucks up debris and scum, it will slowly get clogged with debris and the pressure exerted on your filter rises. Make sure to clean the filter often so it can do its job and circulate the water properly.
Get a Ceiling Fan
A ceiling fan is an inexpensive way to beat the heat during the summer. If you use it strategically in conjunction with your air conditioning system, a ceiling fan can save you money as well. An air conditioner actually cools the temperature in your home, a ceiling fan works by stirring up the air and creating a wind chill effect on your skin. Because of this, you shouldn’t leave your ceiling fans running while you’re not home, you won’t save money or cool your home.
Creating a patio area, installing a pool, and getting a ceiling fan are three home improvements that you should make before the end of spring. These suggestions can help you create aesthetically pleasing spaces in your home and yard where you can relax and enjoy the upcoming summer.
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The good thing about bathrooms is that most of them are small, and their small size gives the homeowner an excuse to splurge. Because of this, a breathtaking bathroom can give the impression that it cost far more to renovate than it did. Here are some tips on giving your bathroom a more luxurious look:
Glass Shower Doors
Few things say bathroom luxury better than glass shower doors. They make the room elegant, and, according to Desert Empire Mirror & Glass, they can create the illusion of a bigger bathroom. Glass shower doors can be framed, semi-framed or frameless. Framed shower doors have glass panes fitted into a metal frame that runs on a track. Frameless showers have a sophisticated, floating look, and semi-framed doors have metal around the structure that actually supports the door. Glass for these shower doors can be clear, pebbled, frosted, etched, hammered or have an interesting design that resembles raindrops.
Add More Lighting
In lots of bathrooms, there is a fixture in the middle of the ceiling and maybe Hollywood lights around the medicine chest mirror. This is fine, but according to House Plans Helper, there are many other lighting decisions you could make to transform your bathroom into the envy of the neighborhood. Consider an old-fashioned crystal chandelier or sunken lights arranged in the ceiling in a way that resembles a constellation or a grouping of stars. Make those lights around the medicine chest mirror dimmable or replace them with lights that mimic natural daylight if they are too yellow or too blue. If the bathroom doesn’t have a window, consider adding one if that’s possible. Few things beautify a bathroom like natural light.
Add Luxurious Fixtures
Though you might not be in the market for a solid gold toilet seat, don’t rule out gold faucets or even gold towel racks. In a space as small as a bathroom, they won’t cost as much as you think. Other things that can add a touch of luxury to the bath are a footed bathtub, a rainfall showerhead fitted with LED lights, and maybe even a shower stall with body jets or steam. Don’t be afraid to turn your bath into a five-star spa.
Floaty glass shower doors, beautiful lighting and deluxe fixtures can make your bathroom one of a kind that is no longer just utilitarian but rather a place you and your family and friends want to linger in.
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Here are simple steps homeowners should take to guard against some of the most common and potentially lethal dangers around the home.
Learn more by reading the full Medium article here.
Images of owning your own pool often include relaxing in clear blue water, stretching out on an elegant lounge chair in the sun or enjoying a perfect beverage as the sun sets. However, these images never include testing the water, cleaning the pool, being swarmed by insects or struggling to keep everyone around the pool safe. To successfully enjoy a pool in your yard, you need to consider the pros and cons of the endeavor.
Pools aren't cheap. If you're going to stay put in your home, the high installation price may eventually be worth it to you, but you likely won't recoup it when you sell the house. That being said, aging in place can be easier with a pool if you can use it frequently to maintain your physical strength and range of motion. Take care to confirm that tasks, such as changing filters and adding chemicals, can be done easily and with little stooping in the future.
Make sure to think about safety before installing a pool. Young children can quickly get themselves in trouble if left alone in proximity to a pool. When reviewing your insurance protections, get things checked out to make sure that your yard includes proper protections, such as fences. According to Gomez Trial Attorneys, property owners that have pools are responsible for the safety of their premises. Do not skimp on the security around your house. You might want to put in a pool alarm that will notify you of activity in the pool when you're not outside.
Your pool can be an integral part of your landscape or a standalone feature in or on top of your yard. Your first concern should be safety, so make sure the deck around your pool has a great grip. If you're planning to have swimmers of all ages included, be sure to add steps that are easy to manage. Include sturdy handrails to help older adults and kids get safely in and out of the pool. It's easy to incorporate a concrete deck with a slate pattern that blends well with your foundation and home. Envy Exteriors suggests using travertine because it absorbs water fast and adds a beautiful touch to your yard.
If you live in an area that will allow you to keep your pool full of water all year round, it may be worth the investment to install one. For those in colder climates, an above-ground pool might be a better choice. Whenever possible, add a decorative feature that will make it easy to get to filters, pumps and chemicals.
The phrase, "growing green" just means that it is time to make decisions based on conservation when landscaping the yard. Native wildflowers, grasses, shrubs, and trees can add value to your home including curbside appeal. Using native plants also has many positive effects that you may want to consider including saving money, improving your health, and provide food for you and the local wildlife.
They’re Easier to Take Care Of
The advantage of going native in the yard is that the plants are already acclimated to the environment. According to Celebrity Greens, around 70 percent of homeowners’ water bill is from watering their lawns. If using local grasses, trees, flowers, and shrubs, this cost should lower considerably as the plants are used to the rainfall amount. Another benefit is less fertilizer and mulch is needed for the plants to thrive. Planting native perennials also mean that once established, they will not need to be replaced next year. Not only is the yard easier to maintain, but it is also easier on the pocketbook.
Better for the Ecosystem
Would it give you a sense of pride knowing that you are helping stabilize the local ecosystem? The local pollinators will love you also. According to Cornell, one of the most positive impacts you can make to the environment is to create a sanctuary to support and encourage thriving wildlife. If you enjoy the local wildlife, research what are native food sources will attract the animals you enjoy watching. Also, check to see what plants make good companions. Plan your Choose a landscape that helps the local ecosystem, requires easy care, and is pleasing to the eye.
Not All Local Plants Are Native
There is some research to be done here. Over the years, plant species have been introduced from other places around the world. You may have seen a plant all your life, but that doesn't mean it’s native to the area. Prairie Nursery advises that you make sure what you are planting is a true native of the area. One reliable source to use is your local agricultural center. You can also learn more about native wild foods as well as local herbs. These have several uses including: culinary seasoning, well-being, teas, and first aid. Many of these plants can be harvested from the wild.
With all of this in mind, are you ready to become a part of the native "green growing" movement?
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Whether you’re hoping to sell in the near future or simply looking to touch up outdated areas, there’s one aspect of home maintenance most homeowners agree is important: curb appeal. It’s a broad term that may reference any number of visible features, meaning there are plenty of ways to enhance the appearance of your house. Consider these ideas – some big, some small – for bringing new life to your home’s look.
7 Ideas to Improve Curb Appeal
(Family Features) Whether you’re hoping to sell in the near future or simply looking to touch up outdated areas, there’s one aspect of home maintenance most homeowners agree is important: curb appeal. It’s a broad term that may reference any number of visible features, meaning there are plenty of ways to enhance the appearance of your house.
Consider these ideas – some big, some small – for bringing new life to your home’s look from the experts at the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.
Swap Out Your Front Door
Create Seating Areas
Rethink the Mailbox
Paint (or Repaint) the Exterior
To find more ideas to increase curb appeal, or to find a certified remodeler near you, visit RemodelingDoneRight.com.SOURCE:
National Association of the Remodeling Industry
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