Three Green Home Improvements You Can Make Today

Making your home more eco-friendly can be easier than you think. If you though that in order to have an eco-friendly home you’d need to re-build from the ground up, you’ll be happy to know that there are several simple changes that you can make in your home that will save you money, make your home more “green” and increase the resell value of your home. These days having an eco-friendly home can be a great selling point.

One of the first improvements you can make is with eco-friendly paint. Painting is one of the easiest home improvements you can do. Today, there is a wide choice of eco-friendly paints that have low VOC levels. These paints don’t have the harsh chemicals that can harm the environment. The three basic types of eco-friendly paints are milk based, clay based and recycled latex. These paints can be used on a variety of different surfaces.

Milk based paints are completely natural, but they need to be mixed with water in order to be used. It’s the most expensive option and it remains porous after drying. Clay based paints are very durable and are great for faux finishes. Of all three eco-friendly paints, recycled latex is the most prominent since it can be purchased at most major home improvement stores. It has the most colors available and doesn’t require natural wax to prevent stains like the other options do.

You can also go eco-friendly with your flooring. Natural flooring materials have a beautiful finish and they have low environmental impact. The most common types of eco-friendly flooring are cork and bamboo. Cork is durable and very comfortable to walk on. It is used with non-toxic adhesives and comes in many different colors. Bamboo flooring is also another eco-friendly option. It is very similar to traditional wood flooring in its look. What makes it eco-friendly is that bamboo grows much more quickly than traditional hardwood floors.

If you have the budget for a large eco-friendly home improvement project, you can replace your regular roofing with a more eco-friendly roof. Solar roof systems are the most well known of the eco-friendly options. These roof systems take the light from the sun and convert it into energy that can be used inside of the home. Although these roofs are not made from recyclable materials, the energy savings make them eco-friendly. A solar roofing system will last for approximately 30 years.

Another option is reflective roofing. This option involves covering your roof with a white colored fluid that is applied with a paint roller. This roofing reflects the suns rays and helps reduce energy bills inside the home, especially during the summer. It reduces ultraviolet deterioration of the roof. Roofs made from recycled metal are also a very energy efficient and eco-friendly option. Metal roofs can reflect up to 35% of the suns’ rays. As an added bonus, metal roofs are resistant to both fire and pests.

Any of these eco-friendly options will make a great addition to your home, whether you are planning on living there for decades or will be moving in a few years.

Green Home Improvement Tips

These days, everyone wants to do their part to help the environment and cut down on waste. There are many obvious ways to do this, such as recycling or buying a hybrid car. There are other less obvious ways that can make a big impact. One of the best ways to conserve energy and, as a result, save money in the long run, is by doing a green home renovation. While this may seem like a daunting undertaking, with the right planning, it can be a relatively stress-free project that results in both measurable and non-measurable benefits.

To begin with, it is important to have a plan. Green home improvement differs from basic home repair because you are working toward an ultimate goal of making your home more efficient and environmentally friendly. It is advisable to work with a green contractor who has experience with this specific kind of renovation. The contractor can help you decide if you may need a drastic overhaul to achieve optimal conservation, or if a few small changes will suffice. A simple step towards going green is switching to energy-efficient light bulbs and installing motion detectors and timers that keep lights off when they are not needed.

A more involved way of making a home eco-friendly is by installing a new HVAC system (heating, ventilation and air conditioning). Your contractor can help you install a system that optimizes the space you have, with the most efficient use of energy. When installing a new HVAC system, it is important to keep in mind the climate that you live and the needs of your home.

It is also advisable to think green when selecting the products that you will use in your renovation. Not all materials are created equal, as many contain products that are harmful to the environment. Try to stick to products that are long-lasting, and contain recycled material that is eco-friendly. Also, by selecting products that are durable, you avoid having to replace them, and as such, are able to cut down on waste. Many green products can be found in home improvement stores, so be sure to some research before committing to a brand.

Window replacement is another way to conserve energy and cut down on costs. By installing windows with better insulation, you are reducing the amount of heat or air-conditioning that is wasted and your home is better able to heat or cool itself using natural resources. This is a significant way to reduce energy bills, since your home is more efficient and requires less energy to maintain.

Lastly, it is important to remember that maintaining a green home is an ongoing commitment. Be conscious of using eco-friendly cleaning products and other materials. Make sure to keep water use to a minimum, and always turn off electronics and appliances when not in use. While it is difficult to change old habits, it is vital that we all do our best to conserve resources and help our environment.

Brits Shown to Favor Green Home Improvements

Eco-friendly home improvements appear to be increasingly sought-after by Britons, it has been reported.

In research carried out by Legal & General as a part of its ongoing Changing Face of British Homes study, it was revealed that making greener changes to lifestyles is an evermore popular option for members of the public. The study showed that some 37 per cent of people have installed either draught-proofing or double glazing. Meanwhile, 25 per cent of respondents were shown to have fitted additional loft insulation.

For those consumers looking for an effective way to carry out eco-friendly improvements to their property, such as double-glazing and loft insulation, taking out a low-cost home loan may be useful.

The study also showed that just under three-quarters of Britons use low-energy light bulbs, with 23 per cent of respondents looking to recycle rain water. Making sure electrical appliances are not left on standby and making use of reusable shopping bags were also revealed to be popular eco-friendly lifestyle changes. Meanwhile, recycling rubbish was indicated as the most sought-after means in which people lead a greener lifestyle. Overall, 98 per cent of people claimed to be taking steps to improve their environmental efficiency.

However, it appears a significant number of Britons only want to make environmentally-friendly changes when it suits them, with more than half of those questioned said to be unhappy about being charged for waste removal services. An estimated 23 per cent are said to be irked at having to pay for plastic carrier bags at supermarkets and shops.

Commenting on the figures, Ruth Wilkins, head of communications for Legal & General’s general insurance business, said: “While people are annoyed by the implementation of green initiatives the efforts being made to force residents to recycle more of their rubbish are beginning to pay off, with recycling rates jumping from seven per cent to 33 per cent in the past ten years. Legal & General’s recent research would support these findings as the Changing Face of British Homes research shows that a large number of us are taking steps to become greener. Brits simply want to make their own decisions regarding how and when to be green.”

Ms Wilkins went on to report that it is important for those homeowners thinking about carrying out major improvements to their property which are of an environmentally-friendly nature “to check their insurance cover to make sure they are covered under the terms of their policy”.

For consumers wishing to renovate their house – and at the same time help take steps to save the environment – applying for a homeowner loan could be useful. In obtaining this kind of home loan it may be possible that the cost of installing eco-friendly improvements – such as cavity wall insulation, biomass heaters, draught proofing and solar heating panels – can be met quickly and affordably. Indeed borrowing for the purposes of financing home improvements could be rising in popularity after a recent Lloyds TSB study revealed a 19 per cent increase in loan applications for such purposes this month in comparison to August 2007.