Originally Published on Redfin
Imagine a house where every electronic component and device is powered by the sun. Where, if you live in a rainy climate like Seattle, WA, every raindrop that hits your roof is used to water the yard. Where your trash is turned into fertilizer, which in turn is used to grow produce for your dining room table.
Surprisingly, this idea of sustainable living already exists for many homeowners and can also be a reality for your home. We’ve compiled a list of tips from sustainability experts about the important changes you can make to your home to lessen your impact on the environment, reduce your utility bills, and achieve a more sustainable lifestyle.
Capture excess water
Water shortages are becoming increasingly common across the world, so we all need to do our bit to save water. In most homes, the shower or tap will need to run for a few moments to achieve the desired temperature, which leads to water wastage. Next time you run your tap, capture the water in a bucket and use it around the home for watering plants, mopping floors, or washing the car.
Compost food scraps
Composting food scraps and yard waste is immensely important for the environment, and also comes with a host of other benefits for home gardeners and local farmers. Brown’s Greens makes it easy with their Curbside Composting service, offering weekly pickup of organic waste which then gets composted and returned to the community as a high-quality soil amendment.
Going solar is one of the best ways to make your home eco-friendly while slashing your electric bills; even better, did you know that solar can also be colorful and beautiful? SolarSkin™, the MIT-born color-match technology from Sistine Solar, preserves your home’s curb appeal by blending in your panels with your roof aesthetic. Check out this SolarSkin home that is not only net-zero and saves $1,800 a year in electric bills, but also sold on Redfin for a 20% premium over comparable homes. Save the planet, grow your wallet, and boost your home value — I encourage you to ask your solar installer to add SolarSkin to your home.
Opt for LED dedicated fixtures vs. Incandescent bulbs
They’ll last up to 50, 000 hours, and only use 10% of the energy, so that makes them definitely more cost-effective and thus more environmentally friendly.
Install a whole-home energy monitor
A whole-home energy monitor will allow detailed insight into the overall electrical usage of your home, allowing you to pinpoint energy-hogging appliances and have a better understanding of your home's energy consumption. The information the energy monitor provides will also be extremely helpful when sizing a solar and/or battery backup system for the home.
Keep up appearances with LED lighting
Creating a distinctive yet ecologically sound carbon footprint requires a couple of simple insights when it comes to choosing the right light bulb. Wattage does not equal brightness. Color Temperature is the essential ingredient.
Look at the big picture
Maintain or replace the large electricity consumers in your house, HVAC system, water heater (if it's electric), washer and dryer, etc. Change all your interior and exterior lights to LED and a solar light tube in a couple of spaces. Add insulation and radiant barriers to increase efficiency in your attic space, and if you want to eliminate what’s leftover, add some solar panels to your roof and become an energy independent home.
Use LED lights to recharge solar-powered items
Did you know that solar watches and other solar-powered items can be recharged by LED Light? So for areas that mother nature inhibits solar power to at certain times of the year, one can utilize energy-saving LED lights around the home, patio, deck, porch, she-shed, or man-cave to recharge solar-powered items.
Use Non-Toxic treatments
Weathered gray wood is all the rage right now in furniture and wall treatments. If you’re putting shiplap on your wall, don’t use toxic stains to weather it down. Take one jar of white wine vinegar and load it with a steel wood pad, pulled apart into strands. Soak 10 black tea bags in a quart of water and let both solutions sit for three days. Brush the tea on your wood first, followed by the vinegar solution. Let it sit for one hour and you’ll see aging happen before your eyes, naturally.