(Family Features) Greening your home and yard can do more than just make you feel better about living more eco-friendly, it can actually save you money down the line. Here are a few ideas for padding your wallet, while lessening your impact on the environment.
Even small changes in your home can make a big difference:
- Swap bulbs. The first thing you can do to green your home interior is simple - just switch out your regular incandescent bulbs for more energy efficient options. Not only can you save energy by swapping bulbs, but the monetary savings over time can really add up. Check out www.usa.lighting.philips.com to learn more about which energy efficient bulb works for your light fixtures and lamps, and how much you can save over time.
- Add insulation. While it may cost more up front to update the insulation in your home, the savings over time can really make a difference and can lower your heating costs by up to 30 percent, according to www.ConsumerReports.org. In addition, adding insulation can help improve the value of your home as well. Contact your local utility company to see if they can provide a free energy audit for your home, or find a certified professional via www.resnet.us.
- Look to energy efficient appliances. While some appliances designed with sustainability in mind may cost more up front, the savings over time can help pay for the appliance and then some. You can also receive tax credits and rebates for purchasing more eco-friendly appliances as well. Learn more at www.energystar.gov.
By making conscious decisions about the types of products you use on your lawn and garden, to the power tools you use to groom each, you can significantly cut back on gas emissions and chemical exposure.
Green your driveway. Rather than a traditional paved driveway, there are several options for creating a greener path from the road to your garage. In fact, permeable paving - or incorporating glass, permeable pavers or pervious concrete instead of asphalt or traditional concrete - can really help with water runoff. This is because the rainfall is allowed to seep between the paving, rather than running off directly into the gutter or street. For more information on permeable paving, check out the article "The Benefits of Permeable Paving" by www.ApartmentTherapy.com.
Skip the pesticides. Every gardener knows that growing the perfect plants can be difficult due to critters and pests. But before you go out and purchase harsh chemicals to treat your problems, look to natural solutions, which are often far cheaper as well. Whether you're looking to deter slugs, weeds or critters, check out www.gardenguides.com for some great advice on keeping your vegetation safe, without resorting to harsh chemicals.
Green your yard tools. By switching from gas-powered to electric yard tools, you can cut down on gas emissions. Plus, new electric tools are just as powerful as their gas counterparts. Black and Decker carries an entire line of electric power tools, from mowers to yard vacuums - and everything in between - that can help keep your yard looking great, without the guilt of using gas-powered machinery. Visit www.blackanddecker.com/recharge for more information.
Consider solar power. When solar power was first introduced, it was limited to a minority of people, due to its high cost. Now, there are several options for saving on solar power. For those interested in learning more, check out this state-by-state guide to tax credits, rebates and savings, www.energy.gov/savings.
For more great tips on greening your home, check out the editorial series titled "5 Tips to Green Your Home" from Eric Corey Freed, eco architect at www.inhabitat.com.