Some home improvement projects enhance the value of your home, while others make the roof over your head more enjoyable. But other home improvement projects can do much more, helping the environment as much as they help you and your family.
If you are dedicated to a greener earth and a better future, a few strategic home improvements could get the job done. Here are five smart home improvement projects that can lighten your load on the earth - and on your wallet.
A Rainwater Capture and Filtration System
If you are looking for fresh, clean pure water, just look up. Rainwater is a great source of water for cooking, cleaning and even drinking, but you still want to make sure it is safe for yourself and your family.
Adding a rainwater capture and filtration system to your home is a smart home improvement that is good for the environment, and your bottom line. Once that rainwater capture tank is in place and all the filters have been set, you will actually look forward to those summer thunderstorms.
A Home Composting System
If you love spending time in the garden, a home composting system can turn your kitchen scraps into a steady stream of rich fertile soil for your plants. Better still, installing a composting system will keep those food scraps out of the trash - and the local landfill.
You can make your home composting system as simple or elaborate as you wish depending on the amount of time and money you want to spend. On the simple end is a barrel type compost turner, a product you can buy off the shelf and install in a distant corner of your yard. More elaborate systems may include multiple compost piles and bins, as well as storage for the finished garden-ready soil.
Upgrade Your Appliances
If you are looking for a home improvement project with a quick payback period, upgrading your appliances is a good place to start. New energy efficient appliances use far less energy than their less efficient counterparts, and this simple installation could save you hundreds of dollars a year on your utility bills.
While you are at it, why not upgrade the lighting in your home as well? Installing new LED light bulbs, adding motion sensors to turn lights off and on and putting the system on a timer will also reduce energy usage and save you money, all while helping the environment.
If you cannot remember the last time you bought new windows, this environmentally friendly upgrade is probably long overdue. Old windows can leak air, and heat, sending your energy bills spiking and forcing you to use more non-renewable resources than you otherwise would.
Like new appliances, the installation of new energy efficient windows can have a surprisingly short payback period. If your budget is limited, try replacing one or two windows at a time, working your way up from the worst windows in your home to the best. You can use the energy you save from the first window installation to pay for the replacement of subsequent windows.
Consider Alternative Forms of Energy
If your budget is a bit larger and your goals a bit loftier, changing the way your home gets its energy could bring you even bigger environmental benefits. If you live in a sunny part of the country, adding solar panels to your roof or installing a standalone solar system could reduce the amount of energy your home takes from the grid, or even allow you to generate excess energy and sell it to the utility company.
Even if you home is not a candidate for solar, you may be able to upgrade to other forms of energy, including geothermal. This unique kind of energy harnesses the power of the earth, providing natural heating and cooling in all kinds of weather.
If you want to help the environment and make your home more livable, a few smart improvement projects could make a big difference. Each of the five ideas on this list can improve your home, reduce your energy usage and improve the environment in the process.