April 22nd is Earth Day, a day celebrated worldwide to honor our planet and raise environmental awareness. In the real estate industry, we’ve noticed an increase in environmentally-friendly construction, home design, and decor. As green living becomes increasingly popular and more accessible, buyers are looking for homes that will have little to no negative impact on the planet. If you’re an agent, buyer, seller, or home owner interested in adding some green value to your home, you’re in luck! We’ve complied a list of some of the ways you can upgrade a home in honor of Earth Day.
- Water conservation. Not only will home water conservation prevent the pollution of nearby bodies of water, it will save you money on your water bill! Invest in water-saving shower heads, aerators for faucets, and low-flush toilets. Make a habit of taking short showers, turning off the faucet when brushing teeth or hand-washing dishes, and running the dishwasher and laundry for full loads only.
- Pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods. Lots of millennial buyers look for homes in neighborhoods where they can easily walk or bike to get around. Automobiles that burn fossil fuels are responsible for a large percent of air pollution, but home owners who live in pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods eliminate the need to constantly rely on a car.
- Smart home features. Installing smart home features in your home may seem like an extravagance, but they’re becoming more and more practical. Install a learning thermostat like Nest or an automated lighting system to regulate energy so nothing goes to waste. You may not always remember to turn the lights off when you leave a room or adjust the thermostat when you’re not home, but smart home technology can make those adjustments for you.
- Energy efficient appliances. You probably already know that LED and CFL light bulbs save more energy than traditional incandescent light bulbs. But you may be surprised how many other products will save energy in your home. Energy-efficient windows may cost a little money to install, but will reduce the cost of heating and cooling your home in the long run. The same goes for energy-saving dishwashers, laundry machines, refrigerators, and even computers. Check out EnergyStar to learn more.
- Low VOC paints. In recent years, we’ve learned that traditional paints contain lots of harmful chemicals that can cause cancer, brain damage, breathing problems, and air pollution. These chemicals are called volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Most paint manufacturers offer low or VOC-free options, and making the investment is definitely worth it.
Happy Earth Day!