Small and Big DIY Projects to Improve Your Home’s Sustainability

People want to live in a sustainable home for two main reasons: to improve the return on their home investment and to make a positive environmental impact. But the benefits of living in a sustainable home go far beyond your primary goals.

Photo by Brian Babb on Unsplash

The many reasons to live in a sustainable home can be categorized into a few main categories: economic benefits, environmental benefits, and health benefits. These are just a few examples:

  • Sustainable homes have improved air quality which makes a healthier environment for your family.
  • Your home will be more comfortable because the temperature will be consistent.
  • You’ll save more money through energy savings and lower maintenance costs.
  • You can increase the value of your home by making it more sustainable.
  • You can reduce the use of natural resources.

If you want to make your home more sustainable without building an entirely new home, there are plenty of small and big DIY projects you can do. You can find some of the best lifestyle blogs for 20 somethings that are a good source for ideas. Some projects will make an immediate difference in your efforts and some changes will take time but can make a big environmental impact over the years.

Small Changes

There are a ton of small changes you can do to your home that will make it more sustainable and energy efficient. Without spending anything, you can start by changing the temperature of your water heater. The energy your water heater uses makes up about 18 percent of your home’s energy bill.

But don’t go cranking down the temperature on your water heater without considering a few factors first. If it’s too high, you’ll use more energy and increase your energy bill. But if the temperature is too low, you won’t have hot water and could even risk the growth of bacteria. To prevent dangerous illness, never turn your water heater temperature below 120 degrees. But the perfect temperature depends on a few factors:

  • If your dishwasher does not preheat water, you may need to turn your water heater up to 140 degrees.
  • If there are elderly people or young children in your home, you may want to keep the water heater temperature closer to 120 degrees to prevent scalding.
  • If there are people with suppressed immune systems or respiratory disease in your home, keep the water heater set to 140 degrees.
  • If you live alone, you might be able to tolerate a lower water heater temperature because there is less demand for water.

Additionally, you can make these small changes and DIY projects to be more sustainable:

  • Start a garden, or a community garden, and grow your own produce.
  • Start a compost bin to decrease your household food waste.
  • Reuse paper bags and recycle all plastic, paper, aluminum, glass, and any other recyclable household waste.
  • Install a low-flow shower head to reduce water waste in the shower.
  • Buy in bulk and bring reusable bags to reduce packaging waste.
  • Use non-toxic cleaners like borax, vinegar, baking soda, salt, lemon juice, and essential oils.
  • Install faucet aerators easily by screwing on a small piece onto the faucet head. They work like a low-flow showerhead creating a stream of water and air.
  • Search your home for air leaks, especially in the attic and basement, and fill them with caulking. And weatherstrip all the doors to keep cold air out. Insulation kits are easy to find at any home goods store.
  • Fix leaky pipes; even a small leak can result in a lot of wasted water and can be easily fixed.

Large Changes

If you’re building a house or ready for a home renovation, you’re in the perfect position to implement some sustainable changes and DIY projects. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Install an eco-friendly flooring like bamboo instead of hardwood flooring. Bamboo flooring is beautiful, durable, easy to install, and they are some of the most environmentally friendly floors on the market today.
  • Choose energy-efficient appliances.
  • If you are choosing a new home, consider moving closer to work or moving to a smaller house and only buying the amount of space you really need.
  • Build a xeriscape garden with drought-tolerant, native species plants. Also, plant shade trees and vines to help keep the house cool in the summer. Plant large trees in the west-facing side of your house.
  • Build an extra apartment over your garage, or convert your home into a duplex or triplex and help reduce the amount of open space needed for new construction.
  • Take down your fence and share garden space and play areas with your neighbors.
  • Build a rainwater harvesting system.
  • Install low-flush or composting toilets.
  • Install solar panels for a renewable energy source.

These small and large DIY home projects will not only improve your home’s sustainability, but they can also improve your comfort level and your health, they can help you save money, and they can increase your home’s market value. Taking on a home project can be a challenge but the rewards are many and may be worth the effort.

Frankie Wallace

Frankie Wallace is a freelance journalist interested in all things pop culture. Wallace resides in Boise, Idaho and contributes to a variety of blogs across the web.
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