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How to Determine What It Will Cost You to Go Green at Home

June 12, 2012 by  
Filed under Green Living, Top Picks

cashA wise man once said, “You can’t expect change without paying something.” Those are pretty wise words to live by, even when it comes to making your home more eco-friendly. However, when it comes to upgrading your house, the good news is that there are many things that you can do that don’t require a ton of financial strain.

Of course, there are other home adjustments that you will need to put a bit more of a monetary investment into, but if you follow this checklist filled with information on how to find out what it will cost to “go green” in your home, you’ll end up ultimately coming out on top.

Focus First on the Changes That You Want to Make

Sometimes, when people decide that they want to make their home more eco-friendly, they’ll first focus on things that can be done that don’t cost a single dime. These would include recycling paper and plastic items, donating clothing to thrift stores, using compost as garden fertilizer and cleaning the house with products already within the home like white vinegar (great for mirrors) and baking soda (great for cleaning pots and softening sponges). But when you want to make bigger changes, ones that will be noticeable when it comes to your utility bills, a bit more forethought is required. So, the first thing that you need to do is assess your bills along with the current condition of your home. For instance, if you find that your electricity bill is too high in the summer months, check your windows and doors to see if there are any leaks. You may need to purchase some double-pane windows or caulk the corners of your doors. Also, if you don’t have an electric thermometer, that’s another very wise investment to make. Or, if you would like your water bill to be a bit lower, consider purchasing some low flow showerheads and buying a tankless water heater.

Make Thorough Calculations


Once you’ve narrowed down the additions that you would like to make within your home, it’s then time to do some “window shopping”. Honestly, based upon what’s on your list (for instance, if you want to put in a skylight or some bamboo flooring in the master bedroom), you may think that you’ll have to refinance your house so that you can pay for it all. You won’t so long as you do some wise shopping around and you utilize some of the online calculation tools that are available to you. For instance, if you want to see how much your current refrigerator is costing you vs. the amount that a more eco-friendly replacement would save, there is an online appliance calculator that will help you to do that. Or, if you’re curious about how much more money you could keep in your pocket by swapping out your incandescent light bulbs for some compact fluorescent lamps, there’s also a lighting calculator that is available. These, along with a heat pump upgrade calculator and more can be found at GoGreen.coop/calculators.aspx. The benefit in using these is that it provides you with factual information to help you in deciding what energy efficient purchases you need to make and why it will be a wise ROI (Return On Investment) in the long run.

Do Some Price Comparisons


No matter what you plan to purchase, it’s never wise to go with the first thing that catches your eye. If you see some great window installations, check with a few stores before making a final decision. If you want to put a water fountain out back, consider getting a solar one instead. When it comes to being eco-friendly, one of the main things you’ll want to save is the total amount of money—which is made from paper, which comes from trees—that you plan to spend. You can do this by writing down your list of “must haves”, comparing at least three prices for each item, and then purchasing all of them in the order of importance. (This means the one you can afford_ and_ the one that will make the most difference in your utility bills the quickest). You can’t go wrong by applying this kind of financial formula. It saves money, time and effort—ultimately, three of your greatest resources.

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