Youre a responsible homeowner who has done all of your homework to make your home energy efficient. Not only have you installed energy efficient windows and roofs around the house, but youve also enlisted the help of an energy auditor to further boost the greenness of your home. Now that you have the main structures under control, you want to tackle some eco-friendly upgrades without spending too much money.
With that in mind, we’d like to introduce you to some affordable eco-friendly additions to your home. You may be surprised by how a few small changes can incur a huge difference.
Organic Cotton Thermal Drapes
Using the right window treatments can bring amazing effects to the design of your room while lowering your energy bills. As Energy.gov shares, window treatments or coverings deliver a win-win solution in both decoration and energy conservation, making your home more beautiful and comfortable year-round.
However, not all window treatment solutions are created equal. When choosing the material for your window treatment, organic cotton is your best choice. According to EcoWatch.com, more than 25 percent of the worlds pesticides are used in conventional cotton production. Organic cotton on the other hand, is grown without synthetic chemical input, thus dramatically reducing the amount of toxins we dump into the environment. Moreover, whereas a conventional drape only prevents 5 to 10 percent of heat loss, organic cotton thermal draperies are created with an extra thermal lining and have been found to prevent more than 25 percent of heat loss through your windows.
We all know that drinking at least 8 cups of water per day keeps you hydrated. What we dont know is that we can save a lot of money and plastic bottles by installing a water filter in our house.
Calculating the cost from the 12-ounce plastic bottled water set, HowStuffWorks estimates that a family of four is going to spend $3,114.67 annually on plastic water bottles, assuming that each person drinks around 5 to 6 bottles per day. On the contrary, a household that relies primarily on water filters and reserves plastic bottled water on outing occasions only will only spend $236.10 in their annual water purchase.
Besides the obvious financial savings, Hearts.com also points out that using water filters actually helps us to conserve water too. This is because it takes 4 gallons of water for a manufacturer to bottle 1 gallon of water. Of the 45 million bottles we consume daily, 88% are not recycled, which means 1.14 billion plastic water bottles enter our landfills monthly. If you're looking for large eco-upgrades to your home you may consider getting a home improvement loan. Many utility companies offer a rebate for energy efficient upgrades.
Low-Flow Fixtures: Showerhead & Faucet
Getting low-flow fixtures is a big step toward reducing your water bill and living more sustainably. According to CBN, a standard showerhead uses 4-6 gallons per minute, while a water-efficient showerhead only consumes 1.5-2 gallons for the same time. For a family of four, that translates to a savings of approximately 18,200 gallons of water for making one small change.
As for your sink and faucet, homeowners should start off by fixing all leaky faucets, as one drip per second can easily waste up to 1,661 gallons of water per year. Afterwards, homeowners can install an aerator the screw-on tip of the faucet to control water flow. For maximum water efficiency, purchase aerators that have flow rates of no more than 1.0 gpm, says Energy.gov. Some aerators even come with shut-off valves that allow you to stop the flow of water without affecting the temperature.
What other ways are you adding eco-friendly additions to your home? We’d love to hear what you’re doing in the comments below.
If you’re interested in applying an eco-friendly lifestyle to your household and you have kids, check out 5 ways to ‘Go Green’ Without Changing Your Lifestyle: Baby Edition.