Fifty-five percent of global online consumers across 60 countries say they are willing to pay for products and services from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact, according to a report from Nielsen. Fortunately, it’s now the mainstream for retailers and manufacturers to offer a wide variety of eco-friendly products and upgrades. Brands are listening to their customers and continuing to develop the green products they want. Here are five money-saving, eco-friendly upgrades to get started.
Skip the large dishwashers if you live solo or as a couple. Dishwasher drawers are perfect for smaller homes and apartments. Fisher & Paykel make a single-drawer dishwasher that’s Energy Star-qualified. The dishwasher blends in with your home decor and leaves more room for cabinets, storage and other eco-friendly appliances.
Remember that your homeowners insurance typically only covers the repair of structural damage — it doesn’t touch appliances and systems in your home. You’ll need to invest in a home warranty from a company like TotalProtect to cover the repair or replacement costs when appliances break down from everyday use.
Heating and cooling systems are often left on all day while at work or away. In some cases, you have no choice but to let them run or face a freezing home with cracked water pipes when you get home. Meanwhile, a smart thermostat like Nest can learn your habits and adjust around your life. Nest creates a cooling and system schedule and can adjust when your needs change. On average, Nest saves up to 12 percent on heating and 15 percent on cooling bills for a savings of nearly $145 a year.
Install Energy Star windows and skylights to lower your overall energy bills and save money. But more importantly, you can help reduce your part in greenhouse gas emissions. The low-emissivity coatings on Energy Star-certified products can also help reduce UV sun damage to your furniture and carpet. From a money-saving standpoint, homeowners can save anywhere from $101 to $583 a year when replacing single-pane windows. You’ll also save the environment up to 6,205 pounds of CO2 a year.
Light-emitting diodes, or LED lighting, prove an energy-efficient alternative to incandescent bulbs. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, replacing your home’s lighting with LED and Energy Star rated bulbs can save $75 each year. Meanwhile, 90 percent of the energy from incandescent bulbs is given off as heat and wastes resources and money. Other eco-friendly lighting choices include Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) bulbs and eco-friendly halogen incandescents.
Quality bamboo flooring is less expensive and more durable than its wooden counterparts. Bamboo grows rapidly and regenerates itself in around seven years, while it can take trees 40 to 50 years to replace themselves. Bamboo is also easy to clean and gives a modern, clean aesthetic to your home. But like any flooring, the trick is to invest in a quality product. Cheap bamboo flooring will dent and scratch and need replacement sooner. Always go with a reputable, top of the line retailer and product to get the most out of your home upgrades.