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9 Eco-Friendly Home Upgrades for a Green Lifestyle
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9 Eco-Friendly Home Upgrades for a Green Lifestyle

Looking to change your home and go green? Check out these 9 small projects for a more eco-friendly home. Team


6 min read

June 09, 2023

Living in California has its perks when it comes to environmental sustainability. As the national leader of green technology, the Golden State is going green with a new set of building standards with CALGreen. A rigorous green building standards code, CALGreen aims to reduce the water use, land use, and carbon footprint of California homes. 

Whether you’re following the statewide trend of going green, looking to invest in fiscally frugal long-term solutions, or wanting to find new ways to reduce your carbon footprint, you can create an eco-friendly house and have a more positive impact. One of the most direct ways to achieve this and help Mother Earth is by making some smart eco-friendly home upgrades. 

What Makes a Home Eco-Friendly? 

California’s residential sector is going green thanks to nation-leading environmental laws.

There are many things to consider when planning and designing a home, even if all you’re doing is an eco-friendly kitchen swap. The CALGreen program criteria define two tiers of eco-friendliness, with tier one being the highest and tier 2 being the entry-level tier. 

Whether your home qualifies for these tiers depends on how well you meet a plethora of requirements on land use, water usage waits, electricity usage rates, and other metrics. As you might imagine, eco-friendly home upgrades can become quite a costly venture. However, don’t be discouraged if you want to make eco-friendly upgrades but don’t have the biggest budget. 

Without further ado, let’s check out some of the best eco-friendly home upgrades for all aspects of your abode. These upgrades are all relatively simple to achieve and most of them will make your home greener without breaking the bank. 

9 Eco-Friendly Home Upgrades for More Sustainable Living 

Save money and the environment with a solar roof installation that transforms your home into its own power plant.

Install Solar Panels 

For those wanting to go the extra mile with their eco-friendly home upgrades, there are few more impactful options than installing solar panels. California environmental laws now require all new homes to have rooftop solar panels installed, so bringing this upgrade to your own eco-friendly house makes sense. 

Technological advancements mean it is now possible to convert your roofing with photo-voltaic roof shingles, thereby transforming your roof into a high-tech solar-powered wonder. This powerful solar generator for a house transforms your abode into its power plant, perfect for keeping the lights on, charging your devices, and maybe even your car, all off of the rays of the sun. Aside from the lower energy bills and the benefits for the planet, a solar roof can also boost your home’s value. 

Upgrade Your Lighting 

Switch out incandescent bulbs with more efficient LED bulbs for lower energy bills.

It’s great to have a checklist for when you move into a new place. One of the top items on that checklist should be rooting out power vampires. While vampires might not exist, power vampires are very real, and they’re in your house right now! No need to panic though, because defeating the power vampires for a more environmentally-friendly home is about as simple as flicking a switch. The easiest way to cut down on your power usage is to do an energy retrofit by upgrading your appliances. 

One place you can easily and affordably do this is with your lighting systems. Ditch your ancient incandescents for some smart LED bulbs. This way you can choose when your lights are on and for how long, all while saving on your energy bills. Smart lights can also be customized to shine in a wide array of colors, allowing for unparalleled flexibility in your lighting options. 

Make Your Home Smart 

Of course, incandescent bulbs aren’t the only power vampires around, and the biggest offenders tend to be things you use every day, such as your thermostat. Put a cap on your HVAC bills with intelligent thermostats. Smart thermostats can also be controlled through a smart home remote app so you can preheat or pre-cool your home to a comfortable temperature. 

Consider investing in some smart wall outlets to keep your less smart appliances in check. These monitor power usage and help you root out the energy vampires lurking in plain sight. Smart wall outlets can also be controlled remotely via your smartphone. This way you don’t have to remember to unplug a power-guzzling appliance every time you’re not using it. 

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Keep your HVAC under precise control with a smart thermostat paired to your smartphone.

Buy Used or Refurbished Home Items 

While it is a good idea to upgrade old appliances to more energy-efficient options, buying a brand-new suite of furniture for your home every time you have an interior remodel can be quite wasteful. A quick visit to any flea market or garage sale is enough to find beautiful used furniture. 

Finding exactly what you’re looking for might take a bit longer, but this is still worth it because it avoids waste. Plus, using older furniture can make for a really neat retro aesthetic. If you find a piece of furniture that seems just right but that seems too worn, bear in mind that most vintage furniture can be spruced up with a bit of work. 

Go Green With Your Cleaning Products 

Sometimes, it can seem like an environmentally-friendly lifestyle is too impractical, expensive, or complicated. But this isn’t the case for most aspects of more sustainable living, especially for cleaning products. In truth, virtually any harsh chemical you can think of has a natural cleaning hack equivalent that is much better for the environment.  

Plus, many of the natural cleaning solutions you can use as alternatives to harsh chemicals like bleach can probably already be found in your house. Use white vinegar as a disinfectant, rust remover, and grime destroyer, and get a box of baking soda for especially stubborn stains. Lemon juice can be quite an effective brass shiner, and ammonia can help break down oils and fats from your dishes.  

Upgrade Your Window Glazing 

Boost your home’s thermal efficiency with some nifty triple-glazed windows.

Nearly a third of household energy consumption can be traced back to heat seeping in or out of windows. Switching to more sustainable windows is better for the environment and your wallet. Therefore, it’s a good idea to do some research on the latest eco-friendly windows so you know what will fit your needs best.

We recommend getting advanced triple-glazed windows for your environmentally friendly home. Triple-glazing offers unparalleled insulation and heat retention without the need for any film or other add-ons. Advanced triple-glazed window types also offer special coatings that keep out harmful UV rays and prevent furniture and fixtures from suffering sun fade.    

Harvest Rainwater 

This eco-friendly home upgrade is simple enough and it can reap huge dividends, especially if you live in a rainy part of the country. All you need to harvest rainwater is a plastic barrel and a way to funnel the rainwater into it. 

Fortunately, you already have a water funneling system right on top of your home, and that’s your gutter system. Simply run a hose or pipe from your gutters down to the rain barrel, and presto, you now have plenty of free water for a self-sustainable ecological home. We recommend using this water for a verdant vegetable garden, or some colorful flowerbeds. 

Plant Smart

Ditch the turf and let your garden grow wild with Indigenous plants to protect local species and make your backyard more eco-friendly.

Speaking of gardens, it’s really important in this day and age to plant smart, by which we mean choosing plants that are appropriate for your region and climate. In most cases, that means the residents of eco-friendly homes should choose indigenous plants over exotic ones. 

Indigenous plant life requires far less water and soil nutrients, thereby making them more sustainable. Indigenous plants also help local critters and bees by giving them a place to shelter (and food). If you plant smart, your eco-green home and garden will help increase local biodiversity whereas a normal grass lawn will do the exact opposite.  

Go For Non-Toxic Paints 

Using environmentally friendly building materials can lower your home’s environmental footprint, and this is especially true for paints. Although we thankfully no longer use lead paint, modern paint colors still come with potentially harmful chemicals such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These are the same ingredients that create that noxious fresh paint smell that can cause coughing, headaches, and dizziness. 

As such, we recommend considering non-toxic paints, particularly in parts of your home with poor ventilation. VOC-free paints are also better for the environment since they reduce the chance of harmful chemicals getting into freshwater streams. 

Need help with a home improvement project? Get a free quote today!

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