Home Reno Ideas that Send a Resounding ‘Eco’

Hammers are pounding. Saws are humming. Drills are whirring. Spring time is home improvement time.

But if your neighbour’s new kitchen or bathroom renovation has you green with envy, you might want to shift focus to a different sort of green.

Not all home improvement projects are costly. In fact, there are many small “eco updates” you can make that don’t cost as much upfront, improve the comfort of your home and will end up saving you money down the road.

It’s called ‘greening’ your reno project and there are many ways to go about it.

According to the Canadian Home Builders’ Association’s Homeowners’ Guide to Green Renovation, “a green renovation helps to reduce your impact on the environment. It also means a better home – a healthier and more comfortable living space, lower monthly operating costs and increased value.”

The most important steps to consider include increasing the energy and water efficiency of your home; ensuring clean indoor air; and, choosing resource-smart materials and products.

Sound complicated? W Network’s Property Brothers – Jonathan and Drew Scott – are on a mission to educate consumers this spring with a list of top eco-renovation tips to consider. They’ve also partnered with Scotiabank to launch their #greenyourroom contest, a chance for one lucky winner to receive $20,000 towards a dream “eco-reno” to any room in their house, along with a one-hour consultation.

So if you’re seeing green, start thinking green instead with the follow tips from the Property Brothers:

Get a home energy assessment.

A voluntary audit from an independent, certified home energy evaluator shows you where you can save money, energy and water. An evaluator performs a visual inspection from foundation to rooftop to tell you how your home is using energy, where it is being wasted and steps you can take to cut heating and cooling costs. For more information, visit the Natural Resources of Canada Office of Energy Efficiency at oee.nrcan.gc.ca.

Install a programmable thermostat.

According to Natural Resources Canada, you can save two per cent on your heating bill for every degree you turn your thermostat down overnight. It’s one of the cheapest and easiest ways to be more energy efficient and save money at the same time.

Choose ultra-low flush toilets.

Did you know the water used to flush your toilet accounts for about 30 per cent of your indoor water use? A family of three can save about $75 each year just by switching to ultra-low flush toilets, according to saving estimates from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

Upgrade your insulation.

We don’t often think about updating what’s behind our walls. Yet, changing the insulation in your ceiling and exterior walls will save you as much as 30 to 35 per cent on your heating and cooling bills.

Install an efficient furnace.

Swapping out an old furnace for a new one may not sound exciting … until you get your next energy bill that is. Newer designs, like a condensing gas forced air furnace, use 33 to 38 per cent less energy than older makes, according to Natural Resources Canada.

Start with your water centres.

If you’re looking for a simple eco-upgrade, the bathroom or kitchen is a good place. Small green projects like high-efficiency faucets, shower heads and dishwashers are all worthwhile purchases, say Jonathan and Drew.

Are you ready to create an eco-friendly home? Take a look at eieihome’s directory of Green Products & Services.

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