In this day and age, everyone seems to be jumping on the proverbial ‘green’ bandwagon. From multi-national corporations to small local businesses, there is an environmental angle to just about every consumer product. For homeowners, the benefits of going green can be numerous and while some of them can cost money up front, there are many advantages to this new environmental movement.
Of course, the environmental movement isn’t new; it’s actually been around for many decades. Yet a fair majority of people throughout the country have either been aware from a distance or dismissive of it as a costly and ‘tree-hugging’ waste of time. The reality, however, has changed in recent years as the price of gasoline, home heating, and electricity have gone through the roof, in a manner of speaking.
Homeowners who are looking to either add value to their homes or save money in the long run, or both, are beginning to turn toward the benefits of going green as a serious way to make an impact, if not on the environment, then on their budget. There are quite a few things people can do to turn their home into a green home.
For older homes, many of the appliances that may be leftover from the seventies and eighties will likely be chugging down electricity like an athlete downs Gatorade on a hot summer day. By updating these appliances with modern, Energy Star efficient ones, a homeowner can save up to several hundred dollars a year. Some homeowners have reported saving several thousand dollars every year by doing this.
The initial cost is often a deterrent, but given that a homeowner will likely remain in their home for many years, the cost of upgrading now is outweighed by those long-term savings. It can be looked at in another light as well. When a homeowner updates his or her appliances, such as the refrigerator, stove, washer, dryer, dishwasher, and even the smaller ones like a toaster oven, then the value of the home also goes up slightly.
Having new appliances attract potential homebuyers’ attention when it’s time to put it on the market. The key is to choose the appliances that have the highest energy efficient rating, fit within a reasonable budget, and add aesthetic value to the house.
Depending on where in the country a person lives, solar panels can be a great advantage and a boost in the home’s value. In Southern California, for example, solar panels will be working overtime almost year-round, with the constant glare of the sun peering down on this region, but in Seattle, Washington, they might not offer the same value.
A homeowner in a high sun region of the country can take advantage of a number of government programs that help subsidize the purchase, installation, and use of solar panels. The initial out-of-pocket expenses for these solar panels can be jaw-dropping, certainly, but there are many homeowners who run their entire house on solar energy, paying nothing or next to nothing to the utility companies.
There is some upkeep with batteries and the like, but when the home goes on the market, the selling point of being able to supply a significant portion of the house’s power through solar energy, the savings can add up very quickly.
Just like solar panels, wind turbines can be an asset for many homeowners, especially those who live in high wind regions. Wind turbines for home use can be small and unobtrusive, and many are even ornamental in nature so that they fit in with the natural surroundings. In most cases, the wind turbines won’t produce as much energy as solar panels, but any savings adds to inherent home values and the homeowner’s pocket at the end of the day.
Going green doesn’t have to be a major expense. In fact, simply changing out traditional incandescent light bulbs with new CFL lights can increase savings and add a selling component to the house.
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