Anatomy of a Green Home

If you’ve ever been strapped for cash, you’ve probably looked for ways to trim down your budget like making your coffee instead of buying it or finally discontinuing your cable service. But did you know that making some simple eco-friendly changes to your home is one of the best things you can do for your budget? Let’s crunch some numbers.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average US household costs over $7,000 to run annually. This number includes utilities and household operation costs. But after you make some energy efficiency improvements, the US Department of Energy says you can save over $1,000 in energy bills annually. When it comes to making your home more sustainable, you can’t afford not to.

The great thing about having a green home is that any costs incurred will pay for themselves in saved energy. For example, say you purchase this toilet with a WaterSense label — meaning it has met EPA efficiency standards — for $99. According to the US Energy Information Administration, this toilet will save you $100 annually in water expenses. That means that after just one year, your new, efficient toilet has already paid for itself.

As an added bonus, if you’re building or remodeling, having a sustainable house — particularly things like double-paned windows and solar panels — will increase the value of your home. Multiple studies have shown that buyers will pay more for energy efficient homes, likely because they know they’ll make up the cost in the long run in utility savings.

While renovations and remodels are great, you may not be ready to get into any home projects — or maybe you live in an apartment. Luckily, there are many smaller-scale habits you can get into that have just as big of an impact. For example, composting food scraps can help make a dent in the 72 billion pounds of food that end up in landfills or incinerators every year. Additionally, unused electronics can suck up energy without us even knowing it — accounting for up to 10% of your electricity bill. Simply unplug and save.

Making your home eco-friendly can seem like a daunting task if you’re not sure where to start. The visual below offers 24 ideas on how to save energy and money, but don’t stop there — when it comes to making your home greener, the sky’s the limit.