One of the biggest trends to hit the home building industry over the past couple of decades is the green building movement. “Going Green,” as it’s known, is all about creating houses that make efficient use of natural resources and have as small a carbon footprint as possible.
For homeowners, going green is a great way of living responsibility by using our limited natural resources in as judicious a manner as possible. Besides the benefits to the environment, green homes offer their owners significant savings on their long-term utility expenses.
The only problem here is that retro-fitting older homes to today’s rigorous green standards can be anything but affordable. That’s because most components of green building are housed deep in home’s internal systems such as plumbing and electric.
Fortunately, there are a few green features that can be affordably integrated into just about any single family home, condominium, or apartment. Here’s a few ways of getting green in your home, without losing the green in your wallet.
Control the Flow
How much water do you use every month? If you’re like most homeowners, you probably have a really good idea how much your monthly water bill comes out to, but you’ve got little idea how many gallons of water that actually equates to in sum.
The problem here is that most houses use a lot more water than they actually need to and most of what they do use goes right down the, literal, drain in the form of waste. Fortunately, cutting down your water flow is one of the easiest green fixes you can find.
Simply installing a low flow showerhead, a simple project that requires no special skills, can save as much as 43% annually on your water bill. That’s a pretty impressive return on investment (ROI) for a piece of hardware that costs around $20. You can also install a flow meter if you’d like to know exactly how much water you’re using on a daily or monthly basis.
Xeriscape Your Yard
Though you may not even know it, that lovely green grass that surrounds your home is a major drain on the earth’s resources and your own pocketbook. The standard sod and shrubbery that’s used for landscaping in most parts of the country is anything but efficient when it comes to retaining moisture.
If you’re really interested in green living, we suggest you take a look at the benefits offered by xeriscaping. This relatively new landscaping concept utilizes native grasses and shrubs that make efficient use of the natural resources in your area.
If you’re in a desert area like Phoenix, xeriscaping is going to involve a lot of cactus and rock features. In the Pacific Northwest, where rain is abundant, xeriscaping uses local trees with firm roots that can take purchase in the moist soil.
At the end of the day, there are dozens of great ways to go green without taking out a second mortgage on your home. If you embrace even a couple of these suggestions, you’ll be doing future generations a major favor by using natural resources in a responsible manner. And if you save a few bucks on your utility bills while doing so, that’s all the better.