Going Green: How Being Eco-Friendly can also Save you Money
In today’s world, more people are placing an emphasis on living an eco-friendlier lifestyle. Not only is this great for the environment, but it can also help save money around the house. New homeowners are often looking for ways to shave off expenses. With these eco-friendly tips, you can accomplish both objectives at once.
Smart Thermostats for Big Savings
One of the simplest changes you can make to help the environment and save money each month is to install a smart thermostat, like Nest. It can learn your routine, adapt to your temperature preferences, and—here’s the eco-friendly part—conserve energy by adjusting the temperature settings when the house is empty. Nest users often find they end up saving around 20% on their energy bills as a result of this smart feature.
Plant a Garden
At the opposite end of the technology spectrum, another big cost-cutting measure is to grow some of your own food. Grocery bills can often account for nearly 13% of the average family’s income. By planting a garden, you can reduce your spending on produce. Stick to the vegetables you know your family will enjoy the most, and the ones that are best suited to your climate. You can extend the life of your harvest if you have some freezable recipes ready to go, so you don’t waste produce you don’t use right away. Not only will you reduce your grocery bill, but you will reduce your carbon footprint by:
- Not participating in the use of pesticides
- Reducing your fossil fuel emissions via fewer trips to the grocery store
- Reducing your participation in the cycle of fossil fuel emissions involved in transporting produce around the world
You can further extend your eco-friendliness by using rain barrels to collect rain water, which you can then use to water your plants. Just take some precautions to ensure you do not have wood shake shingles, as the treated wood contaminates the runoff water. Additionally, experts recommend treating the water in the barrels to prevent bacteria growth.
Harnessing the Sun, for Less
Another way to reduce your expenses while being conscious of the environment is to convert your home to solar energy. Solar panels are a proven way to lower energy costs; if you act quickly, you can also take advantage of the federal tax credit before it reduces in 2020. Right now, you can receive 30% of your solar installation expenses in the form of a dollar-for-dollar tax credit. After 2019, the credit will reduce over time, eventually dropping to 10%. If you are considering the switch to solar, now is the time to act. Just make sure you weigh the pros and cons. Not sure you’ll be in your current home for long? Solar panels can be attractive feature potential buyers will be interested in purchasing with the sale of your home if you do decide to move.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory say that:
- For every $1,000 in annual savings your solar power offsets, you’ll earn a $20,000 boost in your home’s property value.
- Buyers are willing to pay an average of $15,000 more for a home with solar panels than they would for a comparable home without an solar power.
Smaller Changes for Big Impact
Around your home, you have many other opportunities to reduce your carbon footprint. The big changes like those mentioned above may come with a more noticeable positive impact, but that’s not to say that we can’t all do a better job of protecting the environment on a smaller scale as well. We recommend making changes like:
- Starting a compost pile to reduce food waste and create fertilizer for your garden
- Eliminating waste by using reusable towels instead of paper towels
- Using reusable shopping bags instead of plastic or paper ones from the store
- Switching to a reusable water bottle instead of disposable ones
- Eliminating plastic drinking straws
By changing daily habits, you will see a substantial reduction in the amount of garbage your household is generating every week. Any change you can make for the betterment of the environment is a step in the right direction.