Being green means different things to different people. For some, it means getting LEED* certification; for others, it means installing an energy-saving bulb*. The good news is that no one is judging you (well, maybe LEED-certified people are doing it a little bit) and it brings many benefits.
1. Geothermal heat pumps
Instead of burning fuel, as a heater does, a geothermal heat pump* uses the stable temperature of the earth (about 55° F at six feet deep) to provide heating, air conditioning and, in most cases, hot water. These systems will save you between $400 and $1,400 per year, but the installation price is high (from $11,000 to $30,000). Federal tax refunds reimburse 30 percent of your costs to help a little. See EnergyStar* for more information.
2. Solar panels
Solar panels have great potential to save energy. Besides, his looks will be the envy of your neighbors. Typically, panel installation costs between $10,000 and $20,000, but a 30 percent refund on your federal taxes, along with federal and local incentives, will save you money. Expect a return on investment in three to ten years, depending on how expensive electricity is in your area.
3. Bamboo floors
Bamboo is environmentally friendly and your wallet is cheaper than real wood and more sustainable (bamboo plants take five years to mature, while trees take 50 years). In addition, it looks simple but elegant and is stronger than oak. Prices vary depending on whether you get solid or engineered bamboo.
4. Recycled glass tiles
Do you want to create a beautiful edge for your shower or tile your kitchen? Recycled glass tiles are really beautiful, they come in both opaque and subtle tones as well as bright colors and won’t make you go bankrupt. They are cheaper than ordinary tiles, but of the same quality.
5. Low VOC paints, adhesives, and finishes
In a remodeling project, each surface needs to be covered and sealed, which means there will be a lot of odors. Many products will release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) for weeks, even months after the project is completed, so it makes sense to try to minimize the level of toxicity. If you can’t afford to go green in every way, do it with some materials. The less you use those chemicals in your house, the better.
6. Dual flush toilets
These great toilets have two buttons instead of a single lever. The smaller button is for disposing of liquid waste (which, of course, requires less water) and the larger button handles solid waste. According to Sierra Club, a family of four can save 7,000 gallons of water a year by switching to a dual flush toilet.