Home Improvement Upgrades Worthy of Earth Day
Spring is a great time for new beginnings and making changes to your home and life. Earth Day, celebrated every year on April 22 as the international holiday focused on celebrating efforts of conservation and sustainability, can be an ideal time to consider Earth-friendly updates. These can improve various aspects of your home while also contributing to the well-being of the environment.
Some of the potential environmentally friendly home updates involve changing certain household materials, while others can reduce your energy consumption (and your monthly utility bills). Check out a few worthwhile examples below of upgrades that honor the spirit of Earth Day:
Streamlining & reducing energy use for greater efficiency
According to U.S. News & World Report, a national news outlet, you can start improving the energy efficiency of your home by requesting an energy audit, in which an industry professional essentially appraises your house for its energy consumption and efficiency (or lack thereof) rather than its market value.
Following this appraisal, many of the most effective energy conservation adjustments involve stopping air leaks. Use caulk or weather-stripping to seal gaps around doors and windows, insulate the attic and basement, and use sealant to cover any compromised areas of your ducts.
Another opportunity for energy efficiency is replacing any old, power-sapping appliances with newer models. You might consider appliances certified for their efficiency with the Department of Energy’s Energy Star designation. Air conditioners, heating systems, water heaters and programmable thermostats are a few possibilities. But your energy audit can guide you to know what’s best for your home, and you may want to make only some of these upgrades rather than all of them.
Using recycled & sustainable materials
The benefits from changing the materials used inside and outside of your home aren’t directly tangible the way that energy-efficiency updates can be. Nonetheless, making these adjustments contributes to the greater good by reducing usage of less-efficient products.
For the exterior, home and gardening information channel HGTV recommends using rubber mulch and synthetic grass. The rubber mulch can be a good choice for households with families, as HGTV notes that it’s a safe play surface for children and doesn’t attract weed growth or insects. While synthetic grass might seem odd, it looks like the real thing. And it will cut down on water bills and requires less maintenance (in other words, no cutting).
If you’re thinking about adding a deck, consider buying one made with sustainable composite material, which can save you the cost of replacement as it is less subject to rotting, as can easily happen with a traditional wooden deck.
Indoors, you’ll have a range of sustainable options. Bamboo plywood, for example, can be used for flooring, cabinetry or both, according to HGTV, as it “stands up well to a moist climate” (such as a bathroom). Its quick growth means that harvesting it infringes less on natural resources. Natural linoleum, cork and plastic-fiber blend carpets are also good sustainable flooring choices. For countertops, recycled glass or paper-based materials provide the stain and heat resistance necessary for the kitchen while costing much less than granite or marble all while boasting aesthetic appeal.
Contact RC4 Insurance Agency, LLC to evaluate your insurance coverage and verify your improvements are covered.
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