What Makes an Eco-Friendly Home? Information and Tips for House Hunters and Homeowners

The terms eco-friendly and expensive aren’t always synonymous. There are many ways that you can make your home more eco-friendly without having to take out a home improvement or home equity loan. 

If your budget is a deciding factor, or you’re just trying to live a healthier life without paying compostable buckets of cash, here are 7 affordable eco-friendly ideas for your home improvement needs:

 

Get an Energy Audit

Before you start caulking and buying energy-efficient appliances, hire a professional to conduct an energy audit. The auditor will help you discover how airtight your home is, where your cold and hot spots are, and anywhere else you’re losing energy. An energy audit usually costs around $400, but you’ll recoup that money quickly based on what you’ll save on your energy bills. The auditor can also give you an idea of what projects you should be undertaking, and which products are worth purchasing. 

 

Glaze Your Windows

If you don’t want to spend money on buying newer windows, then you should repair the cracked glazing around your current ones. It’s an easy DIY project, but it can be time-consuming. All you’ll need is a one-inch putty knife, some glazing material, and this YouTube video showing you how to do it.  

 

Caulk Your Eco-Friendly Home

Check your interior windows and door trim for cracks and use caulk to seal them. We recommend buying paintable caulk and not the silicone kind because then you can paint over it when you’re done. By properly insulating your home, you’ll reduce your energy costs. Much like glazing your windows, this is also an easy DIY project. Here’s how to do it

 

Switch to LED Bulbs

Switching out your light bulbs is probably the fastest and easiest way to have a more eco-friendly home. Not only are they easy to find and tend to last longer, but they’ll save you money in the long run. 

 

Grow Your Own Herbs, Fruits, and Vegetables

Not only is this a great hobby, but it’ll help you save money on produce and take fewer trips to the store where you’ll be enticed into buying other goods. Growing your own herbs is especially easy because they don’t take up a lot of space. Usually, they just need to be close to a sunny window. Depending on what fruits and vegetables you like, you may need a larger balcony or designated outdoor space. 

For extra credit (and an additional eco-friendly idea), start composting. You can use your compost as free fertilizer to grow the produce you enjoy. 

 

Grow Plants in General

Plants make for a great addition to your eco-friendly home. Not only do they improve indoor air quality, but having living things in your home tends to make us feel better. Just don’t forget to water them. 

 

Get Dishwasher Savvy

Wait until your dishwasher is full before running it. If you’re running low on glassware, try using one of the specialized settings like “top rack only.” 

You can save money by running it in the middle of the night. Use the delay function on your dishwasher (most of them have it) so that it doesn’t start until the wee hours of the morning. By doing so, it’ll run during your electric company’s off-peak hours. You’ll be reducing peak energy demand on the grid, and which can lower your electric bill.

About Paul Kocharhook

Paul Kocharhook, Certified Aging in Place Specialist, (CAPS), MCGP and Owner of Pathway Design & Construction, based in SODO Seattle. Download your Remodel Reality Check quick sheet and walk through the main points in a remodel project.