Making a home more earth-friendly is becoming a priority for many Minnesota homeowners. We love Minnesota's natural beauty, and making our homes more energy-efficient and environmentally responsible can help us all to protect that beauty. If you're wondering what you can do in your own home, here are some tips:
- Energy conservation is the key area and the hottest trend in home remodeling. Just about every aspect of a home's structure and function can contribute. More energy-efficient windows, roofs, and siding as well as additional insulation can help, as can Energy-Star rated appliances. Every step you take to reduce your energy use pays off, not only financially for you but for the environment as well. Look for Energy-Star rated appliances and windows. And keep in mind that most of the heat and cooling loss in a home is through the doors and windows, so if you're looking to make a major reduction in energy use, that may be your top priority. Arrange a home energy audit to find out just where your leaky areas are.
- Programmable thermostats can help you reduce your heating and cooling costs, and they are relatively inexpensive.
- Use natural materials whenever possible, especially those from sustainable resources. Consider environmental impact. For example, if you love the look of real wood, you may want to consider steel roofing and siding which replicate the charm of real wood but don't require cutting trees down to provide it. Plus steel is longer-lasting and no-maintenance. Steel also is extremely durable and long-lasting, so when you choose one of these materials you'll most likely not need a replacement for a very long time, if ever.
- Choose non-toxic paints and sealants.
- Ask your contractor if the materials being used are recyclable. Choose recyclable whenever possible.
- Improved interior ventilation can help with indoor air quality.
- Don't try to save money on insulation - get the best quality you can afford.
- Bathroom remodels provide a variety of opportunities to save both water and energy Consider installing a high-efficiency, tankless water heater, low-flow faucets, and high-efficiency toilets, which can save you an average of $90 per year. Changing your shower head can pay for itself in just one year.