New Year: Resolving To Be Sustainable

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Green home grass bees

It’s that time of year again—a new year brings new promises. How about making some this year that affect you and your family, and maybe even your home’s resale value? Here are a few resolutions you can make that will help reduce your home’s carbon footprint, and maybe save you a little green while you’re at it.

Consider solar energy

If you think the idea of solar energy for ones home is only for aging hippies, it’s time to think again. Improvements in technology have greatly reduced the cost of solar panels. Some homeowners have even chosen to rent them for a fraction of the price of an installation. When you add in the federal and/or state tax incentives you may be eligible for, the cost becomes very affordable.

Not only is the sun a renewable resource, but installing solar panels will minimize your electric usage and lower your bill. If your home produces more energy than it uses you may be able to sell it back to the grid. Depending on the state where you live, some markets have seen a link between homes with solar arrays and increased resale value.

Rethink lighting

Switching out your old bulbs with energy-efficient LED lights can also help reduce the amount of electricity you’re using. The initial cost of the bulbs is more, but they last longer, for greater savings in the long run.

Switch out appliances

For those of us begging for new appliances, it might be time to consider a new approach. Not only are newer Energy-Star rated appliances more efficient than older models, but they may also be linked to better resale value. Home buyers are considering more than just location now.

Everyone wants to know what the utility bills cost. If you have energy-efficient appliances, your house is more likely to turn heads. However, if you don’t plan on selling your home any time soon, stick with the idea of saving money and the environment.

Reduce or even ban plastic

Plastic is cheap so it’s become a go-to material for many, but it’s also dangerous to our health. Common home elements like a plastic shower liner and vinyl blinds contain a plastic called PVC, a known carcinogen.

While you’re ridding your home of plastic, toss the plastic cups and plates too. If you can’t get rid of them, keep them away from heat sources such as the microwave, which can cause them to become more toxic. Look into your local recycling program. After all, there’s no reason to throw away something that can be recycled.

Add plants

Here’s a quick resolution you can make in a matter of minutes. There are several varieties of plants that are actually known to improve the air quality of your home. While you may not be willing to have the numbers of plants needed to do the whole house, adding these plants to your bedroom will improve the air quality while you sleep.

Strangely enough, the plants that remove toxic chemicals from the air are also the same ones you see in your doctor’s office and wonder if they’re real. These include the Ficus Tree, the Golden Pothos, and the Peace Lily.

A new era

Make 2015 the year to improve not only your own health but that of the environment, and there’s no better place to start than at home.

 

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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.