5 Green Improvements for Your Home in 2020

Can green improvements really make a difference in your home? 2020 is all about eco-friendly solutions and sustainability. As climate change continues to dominate the headlines, the need for people to mitigate their own personal impact on the planet is becoming more of a necessity. 

More than ever, homeowners are aware of their negative impact on the planet and are looking for green home renovations that can help them reduce their carbon footprint and save energy. 

The huge rise in demand for such eco-friendly home renovations has led to an uprise in availability of new eco-friendly products, services, installations, and eco-materials. It’s never been easier or as cost-effective to make your home a more environmentally friendly building than right now. 

Here are 5 green improvements for your home in 2020.

1. Solar PV

Vivint Solar - Solar Panels on roof of brick home with window and Adirondack chairs.
Photo by Vivint Solar on Unsplash

Solar panels are an obvious but fair start to the list for green improvements. Solar PV has been around for nearly a quarter of a century but only now in 2020 is it truly being realized as a standard home installation. Most new builds come with solar PV already fitted and those with older homes are quick to get it added to their roofs. 

The long-term benefits of solar PV far outweigh the initial costs to buy and install the system. Most solar PV installations will now pay for themselves after approximately 7-8 years. That means homeowners can benefit from free electricity for almost 17-18 years thereafter. 

Due to the rise in solar PV installations, it’s now incredibly easy and cost-effective to have solar panels added to your home. The panels themselves are much cheaper than they were just 5 years ago. You can even buy PV panels in IKEA, straight off the shelf.

Solar PV installation companies are in abundance and it doesn’t take long to find an experienced and reputable company to help you fit the panels.

To take this eco-friendly home improvement a step further you could consider having a battery storage unit added to your system. These are fairly new to the market and can be quite expensive but the benefits far outweigh the initial cost. A battery storage unit allows your system to store all the energy produced throughout the day by your solar panels to then be used as and when you need the energy throughout the night when the sun is down. 

This means you can effectively go 100% off-grid and never have to pay an electricity bill ever again. Those that can afford the hefty price tag should seriously consider adding a battery storage unit to their solar system to maximize the energy efficiency of their home. 

2. Energy Efficient Doors

Photo by Landon Martin on Unsplash

The latest research on heat-trapping suggests that even a tiny gap or crack in your doors can lead to a hefty loss of heat. This drastically affects the energy efficiency of your home and boosts the cost of your energy bills at the same time. 

Now, energy-efficient doors most commonly made from fiberglass or metal can help homeowners tighten up their heat loss rating and start saving money immediately. Installing an energy-efficient door can help you to instantly save up to 10% on your energy bills.

Metal doors are generally cheaper and more energy-efficient, whereas fiberglass doors are more stylish. Metal doors can also rust if not properly maintained or when in very hot or cold climates. 

Your return on investment is also very attractive when installing a new energy-efficient door. You can expect an average of 77% ROI just on the value it will add to your house and not including the energy savings.  

The doors themselves and the installation are both very cost-effective and the work can be done quickly. Those wanting to save some money could even install the doors themselves using a cordless drill guide.

There is also an expansive variety of doors to choose from with thousands of styles and colors to suit your preference.

3. Skylights

Skylights

Many homeowners would never consider the addition of a skylight as a green home improvement. However, skylights offer some unique advantages to the health of your home environment and to your home’s energy efficiency.

In rooms where you currently have no windows such as a hallway, bathroom or utility room homeowners should consider installing a skylight. Not only will the room now benefit from natural light which can help reduce mold, but the sun will help heat the room saving you money on your energy bills. 

The fresh air that is achieved by opening the skylight will help to reduce the humidity that will further protect your home against mold as well as clean the air of any toxins or pollutants.

To have a skylight installed it costs on average around $1500 to $2000 including all the materials and labor involved. However, some homeowners have managed to have skylights installed for as little as $500. It all depends on your home, the room, and the complexity of the project. 

To really improve a room in your house you can install the latest in skylight technology that is designed to ventilate the room and comes with remote control access. Before installing any skylight it’s important to ensure you are getting Energy-Star certified skylights that have been designed not to leak and save on your energy bills.

4. Sustainable Garage Doors

Many homeowners overlook the green improvements of energy efficient garage doors, failing to see how much heat is lost thought the large doors. It’s vital that not only is your garage well insulated but that the garage door itself is energy efficient. 

Installation of an energy-efficient garage door can significantly improve the energy efficiency of your home. The best eco-friendly garage doors have been created from eco-materials that have been recycled or resued. Ethically sourced materials are also a good choice to further ensure you have the most eco-friendly garage doors. Common materials may include recycled steel or aluminum. 

You may also find that some companies offer garage doors that are made with non-toxic insulation, recycled packaging, and energy-efficient manufacturing. All of this can be considered by the homeowner to ensure they are purchasing the most eco-friendly product available.

The ROI on energy-efficient garage doors is also very appealing. Most of the return will come in the form of the value added to the property through ‘curb appeal’. You can expect to see an average ROI of 90% with many modern home buyers specifically now looking for houses that are energy efficient in every way before they buy.

5. Tankless Water Heater

Replacing appliances with energy-efficient appliances certified by Energy-Star is a growing trend among homeowners. The water heater is no exception with new technology enabling homeowners to replace their big old water heater with a state of the art tankless water heater

Not only will this save you space in your home, but it will also effectively reduce your energy bills and improve the energy efficiency of your home significantly. Once your tankless water heater is installed you can expect to immediately save around 20% on your current energy bills, some can even cut your bills as much as 50%.

A tankless water heater is quite simple in its functionality. Rather than storing a large load of water waiting for you to use it, a tankless water heater can heat and cool water on your demand. This means you are only ever using energy to heat/cool water as and when you need it. This effectively minimizes any wasted energy on heating or cooling water that may not be used throughout the day. 

To add to all the great benefits discussed above, a tankless water heater will also last you much longer than a traditional water tank system. You will get at least 20 years out of this appliance when correctly installed in your home.    

These five suggestions can easily help add green improvements to your home — which one will you try in your home?

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