These Eco-Friendly Home Repairs Will Also Save You Money
Install energy-efficient light bulbs
Put a compost bin in the garden for food scraps and lawn debris
Recycle paper, metal and glass
Install a smart meter
Put up a clothesline
Conduct a home energy audit
Put in window treatments, shades or drapes that help keep the heat and cool air inside
Plant native species in the garden instead of grass
Are you a landlord? Set up online payments for tenants
Clean the refrigerator coils
Install an epoxy floor in the garage
If you’re a landlord, encourage tenants to use eco-friendly cleaning products
More Expensive Improvements & a Bigger Bang for the Buck
- Is it time to go solar? Installation of solar panels and systems can cost from $15,000-$25,000, depending on the size of a home. When considering solar, take into account the size of a home’s electric bill, its location and the tax break associated with a system. States like California, Arizona, Texas and Nevada that average more hours of sunlight a day are usually better candidates for a solar system. There is an online calculator that can estimate the efficiency of panels in your area. In addition, there are federal tax breaks for solar systems. A tax credit, or a dollar-for-dollar deduction, of 26 percent is in place for solar photovoltaic (pv) systems installed this year and in 2022. In 2023, the tax credit drops to 22 percent.
- Is a geothermal system economically feasible? A geothermal system saves significant energy costs by using long loops of underground pipes filled with liquid that connect to a heat pump, which acts as a furnace and air conditioner. It is cleaner and vastly more efficient than conventional systems because it does not burn fuel to generate warmth, it just transfers heat from the ground to a house. However, the upfront costs for drilling and installation are very high, from $30,000 to $50,000 for the average home. Geothermal systems also qualify for the 26 percent tax credit in 2021 and 2022.
- Is reclaimed as good as new? Reclaimed materials for renovating walls, floors or countertops are greener and also growing in popularity. Cabinets are among the priciest items for a kitchen redo, so try searching for salvage shops that might have them in excellent condition. Before taking a sledgehammer to the walls or cabinets, figure out what can be reused in the reconstruction process. That way less will be sent to the dump and less will be spent on new materials, and less energy will be expended to make those new materials.
Moderate Spending Can Save a Lot on Water and Energy Costs
- Install low-flow shower heads and low-flush, energy efficient toilets. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends looking for the WaterSense label on shower heads, faucets, faucet accessories, and toilets to help you identify models that save water and perform well.
- If a home needs new appliances, look for brands that have the Energy Star label. (A new refrigerator should have a built-in water filter so that tenants can avoid bottled water.)
- Install a tankless hot water heater. Also known as on-demand or instant hot water heaters, these appliances only expend energy when the hot water is turned on. (Hot water tanks rely on a continuous energy flow.) They cost more to install — $3,000 vs. $900 for a tank — but are a greener option because they last twice as long as traditional hot water heaters, use less energy and need less space.
- Insulate, insulate, insulate. The EPA estimates that homeowners can save an average of 15% on heating and cooling costs (or an average of 11% on total energy costs) by air sealing their homes and adding insulation in attics, floors over crawl spaces, and accessible basement rim joists.
- Invest in double-paned windows. Energy loss attributed to windows accounts for nearly 25 percent of the annual heating and cooling costs for the average American home, according to the Department of Energy.
- Skip the hardwood floors. Concerns about deforestation has some homeowners considering different solutions if a floor needs to be replaced. Some green options include bamboo, polished concrete, and cork, which is a relatively new entry in the flooring world.
- Hire a sustainability consultant. These professionals can advise a homeowner on all types of projects, from water savings to energy efficiency to eco-friendly improvements.
Reclaim Up to $610/Year in Car Insurance
Here’s the thing: your current car insurance company is probably overcharging you. But, who has the time to look around for around a new company?
A website called CarInsurance.net makes it super easy to see if you’re getting the lowest price. All you have to do is enter your ZIP code and your age, and it’ll show you your options.
Using CarInsurance.net, people have saved up to $610 a year.
It takes just a few minutes to see how much CarInsurance.net could put back in your pocket. And the best part? Because we’re driving less, some insurers are slashing prices this month.