Home building and renovation industries have experienced a large shift towards more green and eco-friendly options. With electricity prices rising at an alarming rate, people have started looking for other, more sustainable options. Green homes used to be considered too expensive for the average consumer; however, we’re witnessing more and more eco-friendly companies that offer affordable, energy-efficient appliances, lights, windows and power-generation systems. Here are five eco-friendly tips that every homeowner should go over before starting a renovation.
You’d be surprised by the number of appliances that draw energy even when they’re completely powered off. One of the best examples of this is a display on a microwave oven that shows the exact time even if nobody is using it. Not only that, but most older appliances weren’t designed to be energy-efficient and although it may seem counter-intuitive at first, buying new, energy-saving appliances is actually a good, long-term investment. Australia has made it mandatory for appliances to come with an energy rating, so if you’re unsure of whether the appliance you want is energy-efficient or not, simply look for the energy-rating label. The lower the number on the label, the more energy you save.
Incandescent light bulbs are extremely inefficient. They waste four times more energy and produce four times more CO2 than compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) combined. However over here at The Green Living Guy we strongly recommend LEDs over CFLs since they last significantly longer than incandescent lights of CFLs which explains why almost every green-renovation job in the last couple of years has included changing the lights.
Alternatively, you can tinker around with your window setup and try to use as much natural light as you can. Change the room layout so that the living room and the kitchen always get as much natural light as possible.
Just like with the appliances, old windows weren’t exactly built to be energy-efficient, which is why it’s better to replace them with double or triple pane windows. They insulate the house far better when compared to their single-pane counterparts and as such, can drastically reduce the overall energy bill. You should also consider getting glazed windows. The glazing process adds a completely transparent, low-emissivity coating that greatly reduces harmful UV rays. Although your new window-panes might be energy-efficient, the old window frames are probably not, which is why it may be better to completely replace the whole thing instead of just retrofitting new glass panes.
A lot of old homes aren’t properly insulated, or the insulation simply doesn’t match the current standards. This results in your home leaking hot air during winter and cold air during summer. You can call in a professional to perform a complete energy audit and tell you exactly where you need to strengthen or completely replace the insulation. Your home’s insulation is probably the last thing you’d want to skimp out on, so make sure to invest in high-quality insulation. If you happened to notice asbestos, avoid removing it by yourself at all costs and hire a professional to deal with it.
Although not technically a renovation, going solar is one of the best ways to add something new and exciting to your home and drastically decrease your energy bill. Some people use solar panels to decrease their energy expenditure, while other rely on them as the main source of heating and electricity. Again, finding the right solar option for your home can be a tedious task and you might want to hire a professional company that specializes in solar panels, ventilation and Whirlybird installation in order to save energy efficiently.
These are just some of the currently available and affordable home renovation options. You can also choose recycled and repurposed building and renovation materials, such as recycled aluminum, glass, and plastic, or repurposed wooden countertops and floor boards. Make sure to perform a full energy-expenditure audit and see exactly where the problems lie and work out a way to incorporate the solutions into the renovation process.