5 Eco-Friendly Home Improvements


Are you interested in making your home more sustainable in the face of climate change, and maybe even gaining some energy independence? There’s a lot you can do to reduce your home’s carbon footprint and lower your dependence on the energy grid. 

Eco-friendly home improvements can also save you a lot of money in the long run, even if some of them are expensive up front. But even the cheapest of these energy improvements will cut your energy costs noticeably. Here are some of the simplest and easiest things you can do to make your home a lot more sustainable.

1) Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat is not very expensive at all, nor particularly hard to install yourself. But it can help you save a lot of energy by scheduling when you’ll need to use your HVAC to heat or cool your house to a comfortable temperature. 

You see, you don’t need to heat or cool your home when no one is in it – if you turn your thermostat up to 85 degrees in the summer while you’re at work, you’d save a lot of energy and money. But you’d also come home to a hot house. With a programmable thermostat, you can set the air conditioning to kick on right before you get home, so your house is comfortable when you walk in, but you haven’t paid to cool it all day. You can do the same thing in the winter, setting your thermostat to heat your home when you’re awake and present.

2) Dual Pane Windows

Dual pane windows have two sheets of glass, and the gap between them is filled with a dense, insert gas like krypton or argon. The layer of gas provides a level of insulation that single-pane windows simply can’t provide. It can hold in warm air in the winter and keep out hot air in the summer.

Of course, you’ll experience the greatest energy savings if you replace all of your windows with double-pane windows, which can get expensive. Installing storm windows over your single-pane windows can make them more efficient. You can also save heat in the winter by putting a layer of plastic over the inside of your windows, or using thick insulating curtains.

3) Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans can save you a fortune on both air conditioning and heating. When ceiling fans’ blades turn counterclockwise, as they should in the summer, they create air flow in a room that can make it feel up to four degrees cooler. When the blades spin clockwise, as they should in the winter, the fan pushes warm air down from the ceiling, back to the lower part of the room where you can feel it. A ceiling fan can help keep warm air from escaping upward through your attic in the winter. Ceiling fans have gotten really stylish, too – you can buy ceiling fans in all kinds of designs and styles to fit any aesthetic.

4) Tankless Water Heater

A tankless water heater can be 24 to 34 percent more efficient than a tank storage water heater if your family uses less than 40 gallons of hot water a day. For families that use up to 86 gallons of hot water a day, on-demand water heaters can still be eight to 14 percent more efficient. Tankless water heaters heat up water as you need it, and can give you hot water in seconds. Since they’re not using energy to keep a tank of water hot, they use less energy than tank storage water heaters. But, like other eco-friendly home improvements, they’re more expensive upfront than their less efficient counterparts.

5) Solar Panels

Solar panels are one of the most expensive sustainable home improvements, but with the average electricity bill at $137, solar panels can start paying for themselves immediately. With enough solar panels, you can reduce your dependence on the energy grid by up to 75 percent, and even switch some of your gas appliances over to electric for increased savings. The Inflation Reduction Act includes a 30 percent tax credit through 2032 for installing solar panels.

Eco-friendly home improvements may represent a large up-front cost, but they can save you a lot of money in energy costs in the long run. Imagine if you didn’t have an electricity bill anymore! When you install the right green home improvements, you can make it happen. Pay for sustainable home improvements now, and you’ll enjoy a more comfortable future, with more money in your pockets to spend on things besides the energy bill.