We all know that going green is beneficial for the environment, but that’s far from the only upside. Making sustainable, eco-friendly upgrades in your home can also generate some major savings.
- Solar Panels: The upfront costs are high for solar panels, but the long-term savings are exponential. Solar panels cost several thousand dollars to install, but ongoing maintenance costs are very low. A typical solar panel system could save you up to hundreds of dollars per year, and it can even generate some income if you sell your surplus electricity.
- Wood Furnace: Though the yearly savings accrued by word-burning furnaces aren’t as dramatic (about 10% on heating bills), they add up over time. Moreover, wood-burning furnaces are relatively inexpensive to install and maintain. Many people are now looking at pellet stoves as a cost saving alternative.
- Heat Pumps: These units are famous for using 1 unit of energy to make 4 units of energy and hence are very energy efficient. There are two types, full ducted heat pumps and mini-split heat pumps. The former goes through your home ducts to heat and cool (these units provide air conditioning as well) throughout the entire house and cost about $7,000 to $10,000 if you have the duct work already. The later, typically does one large room or a level of a home and typically cost $3500 to $6,000 and require no duct work!
- Insulation: Particularly if you own an older home, there’s a solid chance your insulation isn’t very efficient. Look into installing cavity, floor, loft, and wall insulation to reduce your heating bill. There are many simple things you can do around your home to improve energy efficiency such as installing: foam air sealed switch plates, replacing the weather trim around your doors, resealing window seems, blowing in insulation into your attic and insulating the basement walls if unfinished.
- Rain Barrels: Rain barrels are highly affordable and provide gallons of free water to use for when you water your garden or wash your car. These are becoming increasingly more popular in areas of our countries that experience drought or that have high water costs. Think smart!
- Geothermal System: A geothermal system uses the earth’s temperature to cool and heat your home, but it can cost $30,000 to install. The price tag is daunting at first glance. However, tax credits allow you to get a lot of that money back, and the energy savings are astronomical, averaging about $1,900 per year. If you plan to stay in your current home for a decade or more, it’s a great investment.
Before starting any project, remember that many local, state/provincial or even federal government plans offer funding/rebates on these types of projects. It is worth doing some research as you can save hundreds and sometimes even thousands of dollars.