The 21st century started years ago and one of the most important things it brought with it is ecological awareness. Today, houses are built to be eco-friendly and energy-efficient which is definitely a great thing. However, that doesn’t mean that we should bring down historic houses built with no intention of saving energy or any of the Earth’s resources. That means that we should use all of our knowledge about energy and water preservation and to apply it in greening up old houses without affecting their unique aesthetic. Here are some ways to do that.
Houses built before the 1940s were rarely insulated. If they were, the materials originally used may have deteriorated over time, allowing the cold air to creep in. Fortunately, today there are plenty of eco-friendly and efficient insulating materials that can significantly reduce your utility bills. Before you even begin insulating them, you should seal the air gaps around the doors and windows. Also, don’t forget to insulate the attic and ducts.
Replace or Upgrade the Windows
There’s no point in preventing heat or the cool air from leaving the house by insulating the walls if it will eventually go out through the windows. When installing new windows you should check their energy ratings. Triple glazed windows are the best option, but double glazed ones are much more cost-efficient. If new windows would disturb the aesthetics of your old home, the combination of storm windows and good window treatments should do the trick.
Be Smart with the Lights
If your house still uses old incandescent light bulbs, consider replacing them, since they’re spending a huge amount of energy. Compact fluorescent light bulbs can save a lot of energy, but if you’re in it for the long haul, you should install LED lights throughout the house.
Have you ever stepped foot on the cold hardwood floor? It may look nice, but it feels freezing. Area rugs are a rather cheap way to prevent that awful feel, but also to save a couple of dollars when the energy bill comes. Besides, you’ll get an instant stylish punch.
The way most people uses their bathrooms today speaks a lot about our disregard for Earth’s most precious resource – water. Almost 30 percent of the total water use in a household is flushed down the toilet and 10 percent is leaking from the pipes and faucets.
There are ways to decrease that consumption. The first step would be addressing the biggest problem – toilet. By installing a low-flow toilet you will cut down your water expenses, and the costs of buying a new toilet and hiring professional plumbers to install it will pay off in a couple of years. Unlike the toilet, installing a low-flow showerhead is in the DIY domain.
Get Energy-Efficient Appliances
You may think you’re saving money by keeping your old refrigerator and indefinitely delaying the purchase of a new one, but you’re not. Old appliances are not only using more electricity, they also require frequent fixes and replacing of some parts. Switching all the old devices for their new Energy Star rated counterparts is, eventually, much cheaper.
Install Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans are a great investment since they’re reasonably priced and they can, in the long run, save a lot of money. If you think that ceiling fans are useful only in winter, you’re wrong. They can be very beneficial during the heating season when they spread the heat throughout the air and make your heating system more efficient.
Make Your Home Non-toxic
Toxic chemicals your house is filled with may not have a damaging effect on your wallet, but they are certainly harmful to your health. Paint colors that don’t contain VOCs (volatile organic compounds) will prevent toxins from entering your body while using homemade cleaning products (e.g. any kind of DIY product with apple cider vinegar or baking soda) will minimize the number of chemicals you are inhaling and save you money at the same time.
“Greening up” is much more than just a buzzword. It is a practice that will not only minimize your negative impact on the planet but also benefit your health and budget.