Make your home greener

Green Home: DIY Improvements

If you’re looking to be a better steward of the environment, the truth of the matter is that it all begins at home. Yes, there are plenty of things you can do to make your home a more eco-friendly habitat that enables you to reduce your carbon footprint. Depending on your budget, you might well be able to afford to hire a contractor to do some major renovations, but fortunately you don’t have to break the bank to go green. In fact, there are some things you can even do yourself, perhaps over the weekend when you have some downtime. What follows is a look at some green home DIY (do it yourself) improvements that you can tackle like a pro.

Plant a Garden

Don’t underestimate the value of developing and maintaining a garden on your property. In addition to enabling you to exercise your green thumb, you’ll be able to increase the resale value of your home since a garden will give your residence curb appeal. Moreover, taking some of your plants indoors will allow you to, among other things, improve the indoor air quality. Also consider that planting shrubs and trees around your home can help to create a cooler and more comfortable living environment, and such vegetation can help to reduce energy loss by serving as windbreaks. As well as developing a garden, you can also start composting, which can lessen your need for fertilizer and pesticides. When you combine yard trimmings with leftovers, you will eventually be left with a product that can enrich the soil in your garden.


Image source: by Jennifer C.

Decks & Patios

If you’re in the market for a new deck or patio, you can take on this DIY project using composite materials made from a combination of recycled plastic and wood waste — which will ultimately last longer than pressure-treated wood. Going this route will be good for the environment. As well, you’ll never have to stain composite decks or patios, which means you won’t have to use chemicals that could have a hazardous environmental impact.

Solar Panels

Installing solar panels will definitely help you to go green. By going this route, in fact, you can become a better steward of the environment, lessen your monthly electricity bills, and potentially boost the valuation of your house. There are five steps you should follow to do the job right:

  1. Determine both how many panels you will need and where you will place them by first mulling over your energy requirements.
  2. Buy the solar panels, racking, and inverter needed to do the job.
  3. After determining where you will place the solar panels, install the racking or mounting hardware that will hold the solar panels in place on your roof.
  4. Attach the solar panels to the racking affixed to your roof.
  5. Install the solar inverter.

Before tackling this project, do some extensive research to determine whether or not it’s the sort of DIY project that you can commit to taking on. Get some help if necessary.

Switch Light Bulbs

A green DIY home improvement that virtually anyone can do is changing light bulbs. Specifically, you want to switch to fluorescent light bulbs or LED light bulbs from incandescent light bulbs. Consider that compact fluorescent light bulbs can last up to 10 times longer than — and consume 75% less energy than — incandescent light bulbs. As well, LED bulbs consume 90% less power than do incandescent bulbs. These alternatives to incandescent bulbs will cost more, but they will save you money over time since they are more energy efficient. You can potentially save even more if you go a step further and install motion detectors — like a security floodlights — in strategic locations. That way, the lights will only come on outside of your home if someone gets within close proximity to, for instance, the front or rear door.

Elektrostandard LED light bulb

Image source: by Anton Fomkin

There are definitely green DIY improvements that you can take on. Of course, you need to assess your own skills and abilities before taking on any DIY project. If you can’t handle it on your own, enlist the help of some handy friends or neighbors. Otherwise, you may need to retain the services of a contractor to help you. All in all, however, you can, if you have the time, the tools, and the plan, undertake these three DIY projects that will demonstrate your commitment to living green.