Employing green practices around the house is more than just a trend these days. While going green benefits the environment, it can also benefit your family’s finances. At the heart of the household green movement is the requirement to be energy efficient and to make choices that are ultimately healthier for your household as well as for the planet. The following text offers a myriad of cost-saving ways to transform your home into a green space.

Tackling the home’s energy efficiency is the first step in its green transformation. Checking the house’s insulation is the first measure to safeguard its energy efficiency. Buying new insulation isn’t a glamorous purchase, but it will be a cost-saving measure for the future. Good insulation means that the home stays well-heated and well-cooled so that you are not over-taxing your heating and cooling systems and paying for them to heat and cool the great outdoors surrounding your home. Old windows are, of course, a major culprit in the energy efficiency game. New windows are a big expense, but one that will also save money in the long run. Covering drafty windows using special window insulation kits can help cut down on energy costs too if installing new windows is not an option right away. These kits are available at most home improvement centers.

Installing awnings or other types of sun-blocking overhangs is another option to keep the air conditioner from running more than necessary. Blocking out the sun from windows is helpful to keep the home several degrees cooler. Vine-covered pergolas and trees make excellent sun blocks as well. There are many ways to consider when it comes to keeping the home cooler without running the air conditioning system which should be explored in order to cut down on energy costs for your particular dwelling.

Of course, sunlight can also work for the home’s overall efficiency. Placing desks and reading chairs near windows can help keep electric costs lower if you use natural lighting before flicking on a light switch. Installing solar panels might be a good option to harness the sun’s power to work for your home. While the initial monetary output can be costly, these costs can be made up over time with the money saved in electricity usage. Keeping lights switched off when not needed is also an important green practice to employ around the house. Similarly, do not heat and cool rooms that are not regularly used in order to keep energy costs low.

During the energy assessment process, be sure to safeguard water efficiency. Leaky faucets should be fixed. When purchasing new appliances like dishwashers and washing machines, be sure to opt for energy efficient models. Replace old shower heads with new efficient models. Water is likely to become more expensive in the future so employing strategies to conserve water now is going to be beneficial to your finances as well as to the planet. Water is important to the garden too and going green definitely means assessing the water needs of your landscape. Consider drought-resistant plantings as well as native plants so you can keep water use down around the outside of the home.

A green home also means choosing green products to bring into it. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell if a product is truly green; some research is necessary to determine the exact nature of a product’s efficiency or if that product is as truly easy for the environment to renew as the salesperson informs you. Try to choose products with an established green reputation. For example, bamboo is a great renewable resource that is making its way into western markets; consider it for flooring, cabinetry, and even furniture. Renewable resources must also be biodegradable. Look for materials made from agricultural crops when making a new purchase.

Also, it makes perfect green sense to install used items around the home. Salvage shops, flea markets, and thrift stores are treasure troves of perfectly functional items that can be purchased for a song. Items like old doors, garden gates, lighting fixtures can be saved from landfills and usefully employed in homes. Reusing items is a green practice that saves money for the homeowner and benefits the environment at the same time. Estate sales and yard sales are also great venues to find perfectly salvageable items.

When it is necessary to purchase new items, consider asking some important questions about the nature of the product and its green identity. Consider the energy required to make the item as well as the energy it will require from you when in use. Try to opt for items made locally because that means it took less energy in the form of fuel to get it to you. Ask if the product is toxic in anyway and if it is biodegradable. Read consumer reviews—many of which now take green considerations into account.

Going green and staying green around the home takes commitment and careful planning as well as continued assessment. Assessing energy use around the house and choosing green purchases will benefit both your pocketbook and the environment in the long run. Being green is a healthy lifestyle that is more than a trend; it’s a new way of life.