6 Sustainable Home Improvements You Can Make In 2023

a living room with large sash windows and heavy curtains to keep the draughts out
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Being a homeowner comes with its own set of challenges and usually, those challenges come in the form of bills. Power, water, gas, internet, telephone, and garbage disposal fees can put a dent in your pocket, especially if your home isn’t sustainable.

Imagine heating a room in the winter with a hole in the window, that’s throwing away money! This is more than likely happening if your doors and windows aren’t properly sealed, which can be one of the reasons why your home isn’t sustainable.

This is just one of the sustainable home improvements you can make to help save money and create a better environment for your family and future generations.

Sustainable Home Improvements

Sustainable home improvements are of paramount importance for several compelling reasons. As we face escalating environmental challenges, it becomes crucial for homeowners to adopt eco-friendly practices and make sustainable choices when renovating or upgrading their homes.

Traditional home improvement practices often consume significant natural resources, release harmful emissions, and generate excessive waste. Sustainable home improvements focus on reducing the overall ecological footprint by using renewable materials, energy-efficient technologies, and eco-friendly construction methods. By minimizing environmental impact, homeowners can contribute to preserving natural habitats, reducing pollution, and combating climate change.

Sustainable home improvements prioritize energy efficiency, which translates into reduced energy consumption. By incorporating energy-efficient appliances, insulation, windows, and lighting, homeowners can significantly lower their utility bills.

Over time, these energy savings can offset the initial investment in eco-friendly upgrades, leading to cost-effectiveness in the long run.

Here are 6 ways you can improve sustainability in the home: 

Switch To Solar

solar panels on the roof

Instead of paying that expensive monthly power bill, you can get paid for producing energy if you switch to solar. The power grid is under a heavy load. Governments know about it, so they’ve partnered with banks to give away loans with zero percent interest for solar panels.

There’s never been a better time to switch to solar energy, it makes sense to use that free energy rather than let it go to waste. However, most people still believe that solar appliances are expensive.

That used to be true, but it’s not anymore. The price has fallen more than 70 percent in recent years and although it can still be a little on the costly side, you will easily make your money back over the years. 

Advantages of solar energy for homeowners:

  1. Lower Energy Costs: Solar panels generate free electricity, reducing reliance on utility power and resulting in lower energy bills.
  2. Environmental Benefits: Solar energy is clean and renewable, reducing carbon emissions and mitigating climate change.
  3. Energy Independence: Homeowners gain greater control over their energy supply, reducing dependence on external sources.
  4. Government Incentives: Many regions offer tax credits and incentives for installing solar panels, making it a financially attractive option.
  5. Increased Home Value: Solar installations, facilitated by reputable solar panel installation companies, can boost property value and appeal to eco-conscious buyers.
  6. Long-Term Savings: Solar systems have a long lifespan, providing cost savings over decades with minimal maintenance.
  7. Grid Resilience: Solar homes can remain powered during grid outages, enhancing energy security.
  8. Contribution to Sustainability: Embracing solar energy supports a greener, sustainable future for the planet.

If you don’t have the budget for a complete switch, try outdoor solar lights, water heaters, or attic fans. These appliances can decrease your power costs by 20%.

Use LED Lights

LED lighting in a living room
LED strip lights can help highlight certain areas in a room and keep your energy bills down

Outdoor solar lights are a great idea, but what about the inside? That’s where energy-efficient lighting comes in. LED lights are 90% better than regular ones because they use 90% less energy.

Most people don’t put too much thought into lighting, but it plays a massive role in sustainability in the home. If it’s scorching hot outside, your AC will be on full blast to keep up with the weather.

If you find that your AC is increasing your electricity bill to unmanageable levels, closing the curtains can help mitigate the heat, and using LED lights will reduce your bills further. 

LED lights have a much longer lifespan compared to incandescent and CFL bulbs. They can last up to 25 times longer, reducing the frequency of replacements and the amount of waste sent to landfills.

By consuming less electricity and lasting longer, LED lights can also contribute to a lower carbon footprint, helping combat climate change and environmental degradation.

Some advantages of LED lights include: 

  1. Instant On/Off: LED lights reach full brightness instantly and can be easily turned on and off without affecting their lifespan. This feature encourages homeowners to switch off lights when not needed, further saving energy.
  2. Directional Lighting: LED lights emit light in a specific direction, reducing wasted light and ensuring that the illumination is focused where it is needed most.
  3. Dimmable Options: Many LED lights are dimmable, providing additional energy-saving options and allowing homeowners to customize their lighting needs.
  4. Compatibility with Solar Power: LED lights are compatible with solar power systems, enabling homeowners to combine renewable energy with efficient lighting for a more sustainable energy setup.
  5. Innovations and Smart Controls: LED technology continues to advance, with innovations such as smart lighting controls and sensors. These features help optimize energy usage and further reduce energy waste.

This leads us to…

Use Smart Appliances

Appliances make our lives easier. Imagine how hard life would be without a fridge, a washing machine, and an AC unit. However, they also increase our household bills.

In recent years, the concept of a “smart home” has gained popularity as technology continues to revolutionize the way we interact with our living spaces. Smart home technology refers to a network of interconnected devices and appliances that can be remotely controlled and automated through the Internet or other communication protocols.

From lighting and thermostats to security cameras and entertainment systems, these smart devices offer convenience, comfort, and efficiency. However, beyond the convenience factor, smart home technology also brings a range of sustainable home benefits that can significantly reduce a household’s environmental impact.

Smart home technology can help homeowners reduce resource consumption in various ways. For example, smart irrigation systems can monitor weather conditions and soil moisture levels, ensuring that gardens and lawns are watered only when necessary, thus preventing water wastage.

Similarly, smart appliances, like washing machines and dishwashers, can be programmed to run during off-peak hours when energy demand is lower. Replacing old appliances with Energy Star-certified ones will dramatically improve your sustainability in the home.

However, although smart devices make your life easier, they can invite cyber attackers, so always be aware. A single camera connected to an unprotected network has 12000 hacker attacks in a week.

For that reason, you can get good VPN deals when you’re already on a shopping spree. That way, your home gadgets will save energy and bills, and your VPN will save personal data and keep hackers at bay.

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Seal Your Doors and Windows

Did you know that 30% of the energy in your home gets lost through windows and doors?

It’s a staggering fact. If you feel a breeze when your room is sealed shut, it’s time to upgrade to energy-efficient windows. Or, if you don’t fancy costly renovations, look at resealing your windows and doors. Depending on the season, you can use door snakes, glaze, caulk, or weather stripping.

To test your windows and doors, get a candle and light it. If the fire moves and bends, you’ve got a draft that needs sealing. Sealing a window is essential to prevent drafts, improve energy efficiency, and maintain a comfortable indoor environment.

To seal your doors and windows you will need: 

  • Caulk gun
  • Caulking compound (choose an appropriate type for your window material and location)
  • Caulk smoother or a putty knife
  • Weatherstripping (optional, for added insulation)
  • Window insulation film kit (optional, for extra insulation in colder climates)

Method: 

  1. Thoroughly clean the window frame, sash, and surrounding area. Remove any dirt, dust, or old caulking to ensure a clean surface for the new sealant.
  2. For added insulation, you can apply weatherstripping along the edges of the window frame. Weatherstripping helps create a tight seal when the window is closed and prevents drafts.
  3. Select the appropriate caulking compound based on the type of window and the location (interior or exterior). Silicone or latex-based caulks are commonly used for sealing windows.
  4. Load the caulking gun with the caulk cartridge by cutting the tip at a 45-degree angle and inserting it into the gun. Make sure the plunger is in place.
  5. Hold the caulking gun at a 45-degree angle and apply a thin and even bead of caulk along the gap between the window frame and the wall or window sash. Make sure to fill any gaps or cracks where air might leak.
  6. Use a caulk smoother or a putty knife to smooth the caulk and create a neat, finished look. This step helps ensure a tight seal and improves the window’s appearance.
  7. After applying the caulk, check for any remaining air leaks around the window. Use your hand or a lit candle to detect drafts, and apply more caulk as needed.
  8. In colder climates, you may consider using a window insulation film kit. These kits include a plastic film that is applied to the interior of the window using double-sided tape. The film is then heated to create a tight, transparent barrier that adds an extra layer of insulation.
  9. Let the caulk dry and cure according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Avoid opening or closing the window during this time to ensure a proper seal.
  10. Once the caulk has cured, test the window for air leaks again to ensure the seal is tight and effective.

Regularly inspect and maintain the window seals to address any wear or damage promptly.

Properly sealed windows can significantly improve energy efficiency, are eco-friendly, reduce heating and cooling costs, and create a more comfortable and draft-free living space.

Grow a Garden

a modern home with large lawn

A garden doesn’t just help with sustainability in the home, it helps with your well-being and health. Growing plants nearby helps to purify the air you breathe by taking the carbon dioxide and pollutants from cars and other fossil fuel-burning machines and turning it into oxygen.

Gardening fosters a deeper connection with nature, encouraging individuals to appreciate and understand the importance of ecological balance and sustainability.

Gardens, especially in urban areas, create green spaces that can help cool the surroundings through shading and transpiration, reducing the urban heat island effect.

Taking care of a garden improves your personal life while increasing the value of your home. Just looking at a garden reduces stress, eases your muscles, lowers your blood pressure, and improves your heart health.

By growing your fruits, vegetables, and herbs, you reduce your dependence on commercially produced food that often requires extensive transportation, packaging, and refrigeration. This reduces the carbon footprint associated with the food supply chain.

Homegrown produce allows you to harvest only what you need, reducing the amount of food wasted in landfills. Additionally, you can compost kitchen scraps and garden waste to create nutrient-rich soil, completing a sustainable cycle.

Growing a diverse range of plants in your garden promotes biodiversity by providing habitat and food sources for various pollinators, birds, and beneficial insects. This helps maintain a balanced ecosystem and supports local wildlife.

Make Compost

a vegetable patch in a garden
Sustainable home improvements include the garden!

Growing plants isn’t easy, you need to water them daily, keep track of the quality of the soil, and add compost. There are automatic sprinklers to help with watering and you can check the soil periodically, but what about compost?

Composting is another way to create a sustainable home and is an eco-friendly and straightforward process that allows you to turn organic waste into nutrient-rich compost for your garden or plants.

Select a composting method that suits your space and needs. You can use a compost bin, which helps contain the compost and keeps it tidy, or create a compost pile directly on the ground. Compost tumblers and worm composting bins are other options if you have limited space.

Gather kitchen scraps, yard waste, and other compostable materials. Examples of kitchen scraps include fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds, eggshells, and tea bags. Yard waste includes grass clippings, leaves, and small prunings. Avoid meat, dairy, and oily foods, as they can attract pests and slow down the composting process.

Keep the compost pile moist but not soggy. Water the materials lightly as you layer them, ensuring they are as damp as a wrung-out sponge. Watering helps create the right environment for microbes to break down the organic matter.

Check the compost regularly to ensure it remains moist and is decomposing properly. The composting process usually takes a few months to a year, depending on the composting method and environmental conditions.

Once the compost turns dark, crumbly, and earthy-smelling, it’s ready to use! Apply the finished compost to your garden, flower beds, or potted plants to enrich the soil and promote plant growth.

Remember, composting is a natural process, and there is no strict recipe. Adjust the composting method and materials based on what works best for your specific situation. With a little effort and patience, you can easily compost and contribute to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly lifestyle.

a hose watering the garden

Creating a sustainable home doesn’t require drastic overhauls; it’s about taking small steps with a big impact. Each simple change we make, whether it’s reducing energy consumption or embracing eco-conscious landscaping, contributes to a collective effort to preserve our planet for future generations.

By recognizing the power of our choices and cultivating a mindful lifestyle, we can create sustainable homes that serve as beacons of hope and inspiration for a greener, more sustainable world.

Together, let’s celebrate the positive impact of small changes and embark on a journey toward a brighter, more sustainable future.

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will receive a very small commission if you click through and make a purchase. These links help to pay the editorial costs of writing a blog. For more information, read my full affiliate disclosure here.

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