Are you thinking about making home upgrades or modifications over the next few months? Why not consider “going green” with these planned changes? Not only will you help the environment, but you may save money as well.
Here are a few green options to consider:
- Install low-flow fixtures to reduce the amount of water you use in your home. Consider replacing your faucets, shower heads, or toilets with low-flow options. Doing this will help conserve water in your local area and potentially decrease your water bill. The EPA states that when an average family installs low-flow toilets, they can reduce water usage by up to 60%, or nearly 13,000 gallons of water each year.1 In addition to saving money, you may also qualify for rebates or other government incentive programs.
- Replace older appliances with new, efficient ones designed to use less energy. This reduces the impact on the environment and could result in lower utility bills — saving you hundreds of dollars every year. Plus, when you replace appliances, you’ll typically qualify for rebates through your local utility company and/or tax credits from the government.
- Install a “smart” thermostat to control how much energy you use in your home. You can either program the thermostat to heat or cool your home ahead of time or access it remotely using your phone to make adjustments. Most “smart” thermostats also give you tracking reports as a way to help guide your energy use. And, many allow you to remotely access other “smart” devices in your home, such as lights or locks. Over time, you’ll find that your home uses less energy and may even lower your monthly utility bills. Plus, your heating and cooling systems will likely last longer, because they will be used only when you need them.
- Service your HVAC system regularly to reduce the amount of energy required to heat or cool your home. For most Americans, HVAC systems account for 50% or more of total household energy usage.2 So, ensuring that your system is working properly before high-demand seasons (usually during winter and summer months) can lead to significant savings. Plus, servicing your system regularly will help identify and resolve issues before they become major problems.
- Install solar panels to harness the energy from the sun to power your home. Not only will you save money on your electricity bill, but you may receive special rebates and tax incentives through the federal and state governments. While solar panels can be costly to install, the long-term benefits may outweigh your initial investment.
- Update your roof (when needed) with material that improves your home’s energy efficiency. Consider using terra cotta, white tiles, or even metal roofing as these options hold less heat during the day and cool off faster at night. One of the latest roofing trends you’ll see today is the installation of “living” or “green” roofs — planting different shrubbery and other greenery on your roof. These roofs have proven to be energy efficient because they insulate homes effectively. And, as an added benefit, they help prevent rainwater from running directly into storm sewer systems.3 While most of these roofing options may cost more than using standard materials, you may find you’ll recoup your investment faster in the long-run.
Some of these green options are fairly simple to implement, while others may require a little more time, expertise, and money. But no matter what type of green upgrades you might make, tapping into the equity in your home may be a great way to fund them.
For more information about accessing the equity in your home, or to get started, talk to your Home Mortgage Consultant today. We’re ready to help you “go green.”