Eight Easy Green Remodeling Projects - dummies

By Eric Corey Freed

Green living starts at home, and in the home. Decreasing your home’s carbon footprint doesn’t require hiring professionals. If you’re an eco-friendly do-it-yourselfer, projects to improve your home’s carbon footprint abound:

  • Attach low-flow showerheads. Inexpensive and easy to install, a low-flow showerhead can reduce your home water consumption and your energy cost as much as 50 percent, without sacrificing water pressure.

  • Install dual-flush toilets. Toilets generally account for about 30 percent of household water use. Dual-flush toilets give you the option of a light flush or a full flush for solid matter, and even then use 20 percent less water. You save money and water and reduce the load on your local sewer system.

  • Make your current toilets lower-flow. Fill a two-liter bottle (or a couple of smaller bottles if the big one doesn’t fit) with water and put it in your toilet tank. You’ll save two liters of water with every subsequent flush.

  • Put in energy-efficient windows. Windows are thermal holes, meaning they leak heat and air-conditioning energy. Replace older windows with dual-paned or even triple-paned windows. If the glass is coated to reflect heat and ultraviolet rays, so much the better.

  • Insulate your water heater. Insulated water heaters are more efficient, and as since 25 percent of every dollar you spend on energy goes to heat your water, your water heater is a prime candidate for more efficiency.

  • Heat your water on demand with a tankless water heater. A typical water heater maintains a large tank of water, but a tankless water heater heats the water when you need it. Also called an on-demand water heater, this small box switches on only when hot water is needed and switches off when it isn’t.

  • Fill your walls and attic with insulation. Sustainable insulation materials, such as plant-based cellulose and recycled blue jeans are highly effective and have an exceptionally low impact on the environment.

  • Control the temperature with a programmable thermostat with a timer. You save energy by programming your thermostat to adjust the temperature automatically to accommodate the hours when you’re out of the house or sleeping.