5 ways to go green, stay comfortable at home

By Hawaii Renovation Posted in: ImproveTips

Taking steps to live a greener lifestyle at home can not only help protect the environment, but can also improve the comfort in your home and help save money, too. According to a study conducted by Home Improvement Research Institute, 41 percent of Americans want to buy green products for their home. Strategic home feature upgrades and smart habits can help save on utility bills, reduce your water and carbon footprints, and potentially benefit your budget.

Here are five ideas to make your home more sustainable and help save money:

1. INSTALL A RAIN WATER BARREL

Watering a lawn and garden is essential to the health of the landscape, but running water for hours at a time can be costly and unsustainable. One alternative is investing in a rain barrel. A rain barrel can be purchased at a reasonable price and stores rain water to use later when watering your landscape.

2. USE A PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTAT

Smart thermostats are enhanced versions of programmable thermostats that can learn your habits and be controlled remotely from an app. With either option, you could potentially save as much as 10 percent a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7-10 degrees for eight hours a day from its normal setting, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

3. USE NATURAL LIGHT AND UPDATE BULBS

The natural light that comes into a home does not cost any money, so it is a perfect source to naturally light up a room. Not only does this save on energy costs, but the sunshine may also boost your mood.

On darker days and in the evening, turn on Energy Star-certified light bulbs that can save up to 90 percent in energy consumption when compared to standard bulbs.

4. UPGRADE TO ENERGY-EFFICIENT WINDOWS, APPLIANCES OR HVAC SYSTEMS

Making energy-efficient home upgrades often requires an investment, but these upgrades can potentially increase your home’s value. For example, installing new energy-efficient windows or appliances, or heating and cooling systems that use less energy, could increase the value of your home.

To help fund certain qualifying home improvements in select areas, Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance Inc. offers its Home Upgrade loan program, or “HUG” financing.

“Home owners deserve the opportunity to upgrade or repair their current home without draining their savings,” says Eric Hamilton, president of Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance. “The HUG loan program gives qualified applicants a chance to responsibly upgrade their home, whether you’re planning energy-efficiency upgrades or tackling an emergency repair.”

5. USE GREEN CLEANING SUPPLIES

Natural and eco-friendly cleaning supplies do not use harmful chemicals, which is better for your local water supply and is a great option when cleaning surfaces your family uses often.

There are many cleaning supply alternatives that are available at local retail stores, or you might consider making your own cleaners at home.

Pantry staples like baking soda, distilled white vinegar and lemon juice are common ingredients for creating DIY cleaners that are better for the environment and often cost just pennies to make.

Whether it’s taking a small step like changing to energy-efficient light bulbs or a bigger step like financing energy-efficient home improvement, the energy savings and potential lower utility costs are a welcomed benefit of your sustainability efforts at home.

This article is courtesy of Brandpoint.

Paid content by Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance Inc.