Most American homeowners consider remodeling at some point and these days many people on the hunt for more eco-friendly ways to update their home. It's important that we all do our part to support the planet. Lets take a look at some ways you can update your home while also being environmentally conscious and budget friendly.
Metal roofs have been around for a while but they’ve only recently come to the forefront. Though many consider them unattractive, today’s metal roofs aren’t the typical vertical slats of tin you may be picturing. These days they’re available in a wide array of styles, materials and colors to complement any architectural style.
Though metal roofing is usually more expensive than the traditional asphalt shingle roof, metal roofs are lightweight and more durable. They stand up better against weather conditions than asphalt roofs, which means they’ll last longer. Environmentally speaking, asphalt roofs are a nightmare – they are a petroleum product with a hugely negative impact. They also need to be replaced every 15 to 20 years.
Compare this to metal roofs, which last up to 50 years and are often constructed from recycled material. Furthermore, metal roofs are energy efficient in reducing both your cooling costs in the summer and your heating costs in the winter. The combined savings from the durability and utility bills will definitely offset the increased price of installing a metal roof.
Unbelievable as it sounds, one third of Americans’ water usage goes toward maintaining their lawns. Having a lush lawn is pleasing to the eye but there are less expensive alternatives that don’t use as much water. Here are a few:
- Try a different kind of grass. Most kinds of Zoysia, Bermuda and Buffalo grasses are drought resistant and require less water than other varieties.
- Grow a prairie meadow. Prairie meadows are a blend of wildflowers and native grasses that grow easily in the grasslands of North American, typically in the Midwest. They don’t need to be watered and, once they’re grown, make for a very pretty, rustic landscape.
- Clover is a hearty alternative to lawn. It grows easily, thrives in the sun, overpowers weeds and doesn’t really need much watering. However, it doesn’t handle foot traffic well so you should just use this in a bed or create a pathway so that the leaves won’t be crushed.
Hot Water Efficiency
Heating water takes up a third of a home’s energy consumption! But don’t worry, there are a couple of options to reduce your carbon footprint.
You can replace your conventional water heater with a tankless one. This way, the tank is only heating as much water as is needed. They help reduce carbon emissions by a lot. If that’s not enough to convince you, you can see up to a 40 percent decrease on your utility bill. Tankless heaters also last nearly twice as long as regular water heaters.
Another step you can take is to install low-flow faucets and showerheads. Select a showerhead with a flow rate of less than 2.5 gpm. You can run a simple test at home to see how your showerhead rate. Turn on the shower and catch the water in a bucket marked off in increments of gallons. If the water reaches the one-gallon mark in less than 20 seconds you should definitely get a more efficient showerhead.