17 Ways Homeowners Can Go Green without Breaking the Bank

Many of us dream of turning our home into a green paradise. From solar panels on the roof powering our appliances, to a geothermal heat pump warming our hearth, there are many ways to make a home more sustainable. But many of us wake up to the reality that “greening up” often requires going into the red. Fortunately, there are low-cost measures you can take to reduce your home’s environmental footprint without blowing your budget.

1. Tighten Up
Air escapes around windows and doors and through walls. Add foam weather stripping along window frames and doors and foam gaskets under electric outlet plates to prevent air loss.

2. Paint it Green
Paints are available containing insulating additives. A few coats on a wall improve the insulation value.

3. It’s Curtains for You
Double-paned windows are great, but they aren’t cheap. You can avoid losing heat through window panes with insulated curtains and blinds.

4. Utilize the Utilities
If you can’t afford to make your own green power, buy it! Many utility companies offer power generated from green sources like wind or solar.

5. Slow the Flow
Low-flow faucets, shower heads, and toilets reduce water usage. Older toilets can use up to 7 gallons per flush; low-flow models use just over a gallon.

6. Stay on Top
You may not put solar panels on it yet, but taking care of your roof can avoid an environmentally-impactful project. Remove branches, clear moss, and keep gutters clean for longer life.

7. Rack ‘em Up
Instead of the dryer, use a wooden drying rack or clothesline.

8. Let it Rain
A 55-gallon barrel hooked to a downspout captures plenty of rainwater for a garden.

9. Grow Green
Instead of grass, landscape with drought-resistant plants that are beautiful and low maintenance.

10. No Freeloading
Get rid of phantom loads – electricity drawn from chargers and other devices with surge protectors with on/off switches.

11. Compost
Composting vegetable scraps and coffee grounds reduces waste and produces great fertilizer.

12. Clean Green
Baking soda and vinegar are great cleaning partners that can replace toxic cleansers.

13. Tanks Very Much
Service your water heater by draining sediment and replacing the anode rod to extend its life.

14. Sun Lights
Outdoor solar lights can handle all your lawn and patio lighting needs.

15. Watch the Watts
Electricity usage monitors wired into your service panel tell you how much power you are using, so you can cut down on waste.

16. Dial it In
Programmable thermostats can reduce your energy bill by 10% or more per year by heating and cooling only when needed.

17. Watt-a-Deal
Some utility companies offer low or no interest loans for upgrades like installing a heat pump or an on-demand water heater.