While we’re waiting for technology like wallpaper that will produce energy from light, here are some easy tips to make your home more eco-friendly.
First, lower your energy usage with a smart thermostat. Ecobee thermostats are one example of many in a growing industry of energy saving thermostats that will heat and cool your home depending on when you are home and what you need. With sensors spread in more rooms, the thermostat will make sure the temperature is right in the room you’re actually using and not in the rooms you never walk into.
Buy energy conservation devices like smart power strips. Devices that you keep plugged in, but keep draining small amounts of electricity will be shut off by a smart power strip. While they’re running and using full power, they stay on.
Also, check your insulation and make sure your doors and windows are properly sealed. Consider upgrading to double pane windows. A green home doesn’t lose waste energy.
Upgrade to energy efficient appliances. If your budget is tight, you may want to wait until your old appliances wear out or you could sell them to offset the cost of the new model. The new appliances will cost you less in energy and water, but it can be expensive to upgrade multiple appliances at once if you don’t have a plan.
Once you’ve increased your home’s energy efficiency as much as possible, you can consider alternate energy sources like solar panels. Elon Musk recently unveiled solar panels that look like roofing tiles but are actually more durable. Combined with a battery, you could use solar to power your house around the clock. But solar isn’t the only game in town. There’s also wind energy. You can get your own little wind turbine. The prices and designs vary wildly, but they’re out there.
Water usage is something that really needs to be contained for a home to stay green. Here are some ideas that will help. Upgrade your toilet to something that is efficient, but uses less water. Consider drought tolerant plants for your garden if it’s been a little dry in your area or xeriscaping if your plants and lawn are practically on life support. Also, get a rainwater collection barrel or two. The water comes from your roof so you can’t drink it, but you can use it where it would be a shame to waste fresh water outdoors. You can even install a solar water heater. I guess that’s an energy solution, but it goes with water usage, too.
Technology is moving quickly. Prices for green solutions are going down. If you’re on a budget, don’t assume that green solutions are out of your reach. Some energy star appliances are cheap. Also, doing something like sealing your doors and windows can be a very cheap green solution that should bring a quick return on your investment if done properly. Tesla’s new solar roof tiles are making green energy more attractive and durable. Green solutions are accessible to everyone. We just have to make the effort to try them out.