Guide to Green Home Improvement

More and more homeowners are making the move towards improving their homes’ environmental friendliness. Although some of this movement is thanks to increased eco-consciousness and stewardship, many homeowners have joined the movement because it helps them to save money on energy costs and avoid putting toxins into their home. Whatever your reasons are for going green, there are several easy ways to improve your home while also improving its environmental friendliness.

Plantation Shutters

Adding shutters inside your home is a timeless and beautiful way to reduce your energy consumption and carbon footprint. Plantation shutters are custom fitted to your windows, so they are able to insulate your home better than other window coverings. This added layer of insulation helps to keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter without using any additional energy.

In addition to lowering your energy usage for climate control, plantation shutters are able to reduce your dependence on indoor lighting during the day. Simply open the shutters or their louvers to allow natural light to flood your home. By using natural lighting, you will be able to reduce the number of light bulbs you use, as well as reduce your energy consumption.

VOC Free Paint

Paint is one of the quickest and easiest ways to improve your home, but it can also come with a nasty host of chemicals. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are toxins that are emitted by traditional paints. These toxins release into the air and your cleaning solutions, polluting your home and the nearby environment. Instead of filling your home with toxins from traditional paint, ask your local home improvement store about VOC free paints. These paints contain none of the toxic VOCs associated with traditional paint, which means they’re better for you and for the environment.

Upgrade to LED

Although many homeowners have embraced longer-lasting CFL bulbs, these bulbs still present several problems for the environmentally conscious. They contain toxic mercury and require special disposal to avoid having that mercury pollute the environment. In contrast, LED bulbs are able to last twice or even three times as long, use less energy, and do not contain mercury. Upgrading your lighting to LED bulbs can be a large initial investment, but you will regain that investment over time through reduced energy costs and not having to replace bulbs as often.

These steps are some of the easiest ways to start to improve your home’s energy usage while also making it a more enjoyable place to live.

Specialty Home Improvement Remodeling Projects

The purpose of a home improvement remodeling project is to make your home more attractive and functional. Some of the usual improvements involve redoing floor and wall coverings, adding cabinetry, and improving the lighting. Other choices are installing new fixtures, knocking out or building new walls, and even something as simple as painting. Yet, some of the most exciting projects involve adding something special to an existing home.

Home Entertainment

One home improvement remodeling task you might like to do is to install an entertainment system that works throughout your home. The setup is crucial. The wiring for the system has to be run behind the drywall. This means that you either add this as a part of a larger renovation project that includes removing the drywall, or you have to string the wiring behind the drywall some other way.

You will have outlets behind your whole home entertainment system to plug in the components to AC current. There should be jacks for the cable and Ethernet feeds. You connect the audio wiring in each room to a special outlet near the entertainment system, and then hook it up. When you have successfully installed the system you should be able to listen to different music all over the house, and watch movies with surround sound in your main entertainment room and from any TV in the house.

This installation process must be done carefully to achieve maximum functionality and maintain an attractive appearance. If you have any qualms about doing this home improvement remodeling work yourself, it is a good idea to use a professional remodeling company to make sure it is done right.

Home Security

Installing a home security system is another one of those home improvement remodeling projects that must be hard-wired into the house. The wiring runs to a central location, usually in a basement or utility room. At this spot, you put the master controls and alert relays. Then, throughout the house, you install sensors to catch break-ins, fires, and elevated levels of carbon monoxide.

To do the job, you will have to know the various kinds of sensors and how to install each one. There are magnet sensors, switch door sensors, glass-breaking sensors, carbon monoxide sensors, smoke sensors and heat sensors. The sensors must be placed carefully or the alarms might go off when they are not supposed to. Conversely, if you do not wire the sensors in appropriately, the alarms might not sound at all. This is a job that you must be sure you can do correctly; otherwise you will be putting your family’s security at risk.

Green Living

One type of specialty task that is becoming more and more commonplace is a green home improvement remodeling project. There is so much that you can do to improve the energy efficiency of your home that it is a shame not to do what you can.

A green remodeling job can include energy efficient appliances and fixtures. It can mean increasing the insulation in your house or getting more efficient windows or doors. It can also mean working towards net zero energy consumption by producing energy with solar panels. A skilled home improvement remodeling company can help you find all the best ways to go green.

Get Rebates for Home Improvement

In Australia, no good deed goes unrewarded, particularly good deeds related to environmentally friendly home improvement.

The Australian government, in order to promote greener homes, offers rebates that help residents offset the cost of making improvements to their homes that increase their energy efficiency, make better use of water resources or reduce greenhouse gas emissions, among other things. Rebates may vary from state to state and by municipality throughout Australia.

Here’s a few of the home improvement projects that may be eligible for a government rebate:

  • The Solar Homes and Communities Plan provides rebates for certain households with incomes less than $100,000 per year to install solar panels for home energy. The subsidy comes nowhere near the cost of installing the panels, but can help folks save a little on the cost of undertaking this project
  • Insulation rebates provide an added financial incentive for improving your home by installing more insulation. Insulation can help reduce power bills by keeping heat and cold out, thus lowering your energy use for climate control within your home. An estimated 2.5 million homes in Australia are under-insulated, and while the Commonwealth Government insulation scheme no longer applies, various state benefits may.
  • Rainwater recycling rebates are available for residents who install equipment that allows them to capture, treat and use rainwater. Rebates vary from area to area in Australia. For example, in Western Australia, homeowners can get a rebate of up to $600 or half the cost of a rainwater tank that’s 2,000 litres or more. In Queensland, the Home Water Wise Rebate Scheme provides rebates of up to $1,000 for the cost of purchasing rainwater tanks, pumps and diverters and having them installed.
  • Energy audits can be obtained for $30 in the Australian Capital Territory. The fee pays for a professional to come to your home and make suggestions on how it can be made more energy efficient. Homeowners who take up one of the professional’s suggestions can receive up to a $500 rebate for work done in a related improvement that costs at least $2,000. The homeowner must let the State government monitor their power bills for one year after the improvement to see how much more effective the home improvement measures have proven to be.

While these government rebates won’t cover the whole cost of greening your home, they will make green home improvement more attractive to homeowners.

Some Tips for Green Home Improvement

Today, people are realizing how important it is to keep our environment healthy. They do not want to waste their hard-earned money by living in an inefficient home. This is the reason why most homeowners, nowadays, are keen to improve their house and make it greener. Going green does not necessarily mean making drastic changes in the house. Even simple alterations can significantly improve the energy efficiency of your house. Listed below are some useful green home improvement tips that can help you make your property environment friendly.

* Maintain a nice herb garden. The good part is that it would not take up much space. So, you do not need to be a skilled gardener for maintaining it. There are a lot of herbs that can be easily grown indoors, which means that, even if you do not have enough outdoor space, you can still enjoy the flavor of home-grown herbs. Herbs, like mint, rosemary, sage, thyme, chives and marjoram, can be planted in cute small pots and lined up with the kitchen windowsill. By doing so, you can always have the basic herbs within your reach, anytime you need. In addition, the aroma which it would bring to your kitchen would be an added advantage.

* Paper and plastic bags, that are used by the stores, cause a lot of environmental issues, right from overflowing landfills and oil consumption to soil pollution and more. Investing in reusable bags is the best possible way for avoiding these problems. You can use the reusable bags while going out to shop for groceries, clothes, equipment or any other stuff.

* Paying the bills online is also a step towards saving the planet. If you pay the bills online, then you not only save your time but also the environment, by lessening the amount of paper which is used for the monthly statements. So, always have all your bills sent at your email address and not at your letterbox at home.

* If you have those old traditional light bulbs at home, then replace them with CFLs. CFL bulbs are more durable and energy-efficient than the ordinary incandescent bulbs. Thus, if you switch to CFL light bulbs, then you would surely save a lot of money by cutting back the energy consumption.

* Buy green home products. Apart from being safe for the environment, eco-friendly products also benefit people by saving their money. Moreover, by using these products, you would not be exposed to toxic chemicals, which in turn would reduce health issues. In short, by switching to environment friendly products you get, not one or two, but a lot of benefits.

So, follow these green home improvement tips and play your role towards Mother Nature as a responsible citizen. None of the above listed tips would cost you much. Making slight changes in your lifestyle would do the trick. So, make the most of these ideas by implementing them and enjoy their financial and health benefits.