New Perspectives: Green Ideas for Home Improvement


The green movement isn’t just for environmentalists. It’s for everyone, including people like me. I’m a mother of two and a wife who’s trying to save some money. I care about protecting the planet, and I’ve learned that the going green can also protect your pocketbook. Here are some of the ways I’ve made my home greener and saved money in the process.

Green Appliances
I remember when the old refrigerator in our basement froze its last container of ice cream and then died. The next electric bill came in and had dropped by nearly $15. Those old appliances are incredible energy hogs. While we don’t rush out to buy new ones, we do invest in Energy Star appliances when it’s time for a replacement. Over time, I’ve watched my electric bill drop even as utility costs have risen.

Improve the Curb Appeal
New windows and doors make your house look better on the outside, and they also lower your energy usage. We replaced an aging wood casement with an energy efficient bay window. I immediately noticed that the room was more comfortable in the summer heat. We’ve also seen a significant drop in our cooling and heating bills. The older your windows are, the more you can save with energy efficient windows.

Water Conservation
There’s nothing quite like opening the water bill and being in for a huge shock. We scrape leftover food off dishes to limit how much they have to be rinsed, turn off the faucet when rinsing toothbrushes and have taught the kids how to take shorter showers. All of these changes are behavioral, and that makes them very cost-effective. Install aerators on sinks and invest in low-flow showerheads. You can also install rain buckets on the downspouts to capture rain from the roof and put it to use in irrigating the garden.

Add Insulation
Insulation makes the home warmer in winter and makes it easier to cool the home in summer. In addition to putting extra insulation in the attic where your old batting has crushed down, there are a few other areas you should bolster. Use a stick of lit incense to check for drafts around windows. If you find one, remove the frame and use spray foam insulation to fill the space. Do the same thing around doors. Buy special foam sheets that go around light switches and outlets on your exterior walls.

Go Green with Cleaning
Green isn’t just about saving money and the planet, it’s also better for the family. Green cleaning compounds do not have dangerous fumes, and they won’t harm your furniture or your children. Green cleaners cost a little more to purchase, but you don’t go through as much of them, and the peace of mind they provide you with is priceless.

There are countless ways to improve your home and go green. You can teach the kids about recycling and embrace a green lifestyle that reduces waste. You can also go green while improving your home by adding insulation, updating windows and investing in Energy Star appliances. Even little changes can make a difference, and it’s better for your family, your finances and the environment.

Author Bio: Karla Jennings is the writer and owner of The Home & Moms, a home improvement blog all about home improvement, renovations, organization, and DIY decorating. She is also a freelance writer for Maid Brigade, a home cleaning service. Her work can be found on various interior design and remodeling blogs around the web.