No one can deny that society is becoming more environmentally-conscious; we are all aware of (and focused on) the impact our life has on this planet, from that piece of plastic we recycled to whether or not our groceries are pesticide-free. While not everyone is able to power their home with a renewable form of energy, there are plenty of things you can do — especially as spring fully takes hold and brings the spirit of change along with it. Let’s take a look at three things you can do this season that will have a positive impact on your environment, from the basic to the revolutionary.
Service Your HVAC System
Making the shift towards a cleaner, greener life doesn’t have to be extreme or costly; in fact, it can be quite simple. Energy use contributes to our carbon footprints in a big way, and our heating and cooling systems are often the main culprits — the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that between 25% and 40% of the energy used to heat and cool the home is wasted.
The easy and affordable act of replacing your unit’s air filters can go a long way toward improving its efficiency, mostly because it isn’t forced to work as hard to cool or heat the home. However, if your home’s windows and insulation aren’t up to snuff, you’ll have to do a bit more to ensure your house is completely sealed and airtight.
Install New Windows
One of the best ways to do that is by installing new windows. Energy Star products come with a number of benefits, the most long-term of which involves reducing your home’s energy use. Older houses are notoriously leaky; cool air escapes in the summer and lets the warm outdoor air in, while the opposite happens during the winter. With new windows, you can ensure that your energy system’s efforts aren’t being wasted by keeping cooled and warmed air right where it should be — inside!
Although new windows can be a costly investment, they’re always worthwhile. Not only will you be reducing your carbon footprint, but you’ll be saving money on energy bills every month; since fiberglass windows last at least 50 years (and often longer), it’s a savings that you’ll continue to see for as long as you stay in the house. Even if you have plans to move within a few years, your energy-efficient windows will only increase the value of your home.</>p
Remodel Your Kitchen
Installing new windows can have a big impact on the “greenness” of your home, but it won’t be one that you necessarily see and feel. If you really want to embrace the spirit of spring, you can have your kitchen remodeled in an energy-efficient way; whether you focus on complex or simple changes (from installing Energy Star appliances to Energy Star lightbulbs), you’ll be able to fully experience the difference in your home.
Since one-third of homeowners say that they led a healthier lifestyle after remodeling their kitchen — even if it wasn’t geared towards energy efficiency — the change will undoubtedly do you good. After all, if the most subtle remodels can alter our attitudes, consider the impact thinking BIG will have!
Spring is a season of change; it tends to inspire people to do any number of things, from losing a few of those pesky lbs to getting that new haircut. Fortunately, it can have a much farther reach than a simple physical change. By paying attention to our individual water and energy usage (and getting the eco-conscious kitchen remodel of our dreams), we can ensure that we are doing our part to keep this one planet we have healthy and safe.