Angie's List: "Green" home improvement

Improving your home and the environment can now happen at the same time thanks to an increase in eco-friendly appliances in the market.

The older your water heaters, HVAC system and other major appliances are, the more money it can cost homeowners to run them. Replacing these appliances or remodeling to make your home more energy efficient can save you money in the long run and reduce your carbon footprint.

Jud Brouse took some steps to make his home more environmentally conscious, “we had done some other things a few years ago like we replaced the furnace with a high efficiency gas furnace and we replaced the air conditioner with a high efficiency, but that again that was partly because we needed to and so we just went to the higher efficiency when we did."

Drafty doors and windows are also huge energy wasters, and if replacing them are not in your budget, Angie Hicks of Angie’s List says there are cheaper and greener alternatives.

“Another great way to improve energy efficiency in a remodel job is just to make sure your house is sealed well. Check for air leaks and that doors and windows are sealed well, vents are sealed well, but also be sure that you've got a carbon monoxide detector in your house too because you don't want to get your house sealed too tight and you end up having issues with carbon monoxide,” say Angie.

Brouse also replaced the insulation in his attic with newer and thicker insulation, saying “between the windows and the furnace and the air conditioner and insulation we kind of hit all the big things."

The changes Brouse made ended up saving him money, "The year before last for June, July, August, September and October our electric bill was around $800 something and this year and I think it was hotter this year. It was more like $560 so we did, I think it was hotter and we did spend less" Brouse added.

There are even eco-friendly flooring options that also shrink your home’s carbon footprint. According to Tony Rebuo, an eco-friendly contractor, there are many “green” alternatives for flooring including wool.

Rebuo says wool carpeting is a viable source for using as a green material because it is a natural material.

“Other things if we are talking about carpet would be carpet tiles rather than having some of the other you know broad lumen type carpets and the reason that works out so well is, if the carpet gets damages in a certain section you can replace that individual tile rather than having to replace the whole carpet so obviously you are reducing the amount of waste there,” Rebuo says, “Some of the other options would be if you are looking for a hard floor surface we have cork and bamboo that's a renewable, highly renewable source it's very cost efficient and it's eco-friendly."

There are even natural alternatives to cleaning products, such as salt, baking soda, or vinegar, all of which save money and the planet because they do not contain volatile organic compounds known as V.O.C.

Environmentally friendly carpeting includes carpets made from recycled water bottles; such carpeting comes in all sorts of colors and patterns to fit into any home.

Angie says carpet tiles are an economical and “green” upgrade, allowing homeowners the option to replace just one tile if it gets damage instead of ripping up the entire carpet.


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