The garage has historically been the most under appreciated room in the home. But after a revival kick-started by makeover shows and an increased value placed upon them by prospective buyers, garages are now a major focal point. One of the ways to make your home the hottest property on the block is to renovate your garage, and one of the best ways to do that is to make it green.
Eco-friendly garages can increase the value of your home while decreasing your carbon footprint; they can make your space more livable while also doing your bit for the environment. And thanks to these straightforward tips, this process has never been easier.
Most modern American homes now have energy saving lightbulbs fitted. It’s becoming the standard, and so it should, because these lights are just as good and they cost as much as 75% less! The problem is, even new homes that have made the switch have yet to convert the garage, where it’s common to have a number of different light fixtures.
Some 12% of all of the energy used in your home is through your lighting. That adds up over the course of a year and when you consider that your garage is a big open space and requires a lot of light, it takes up a large percentage of that 12%. So, make the switch to LED and CFB bulbs. They are cheap to buy and they will also save you a lot of money on your energy bills every year.
This is especially helpful if you use your garage as a workroom, a playroom or anything else that requires you to spend a lot of time in there. Because obviously the more time you spend in there, the more the lights are on and the more money you stand to save. Workrooms can also benefit from lower voltage wall lights that light up your working space and nothing else.
Get Rid of Toxic Chemicals
The garage is a haven of toxicity. We keep all kind of poisons in there under the guise of paints, cleaning fluids and more. Things like anti-freeze can kill small animals and children in very small doses; paints contain an array of toxic chemicals; and cleaning products can cause harm even when they are breathed in. The garage is often used as a dump for all of these, somewhere to get them out of the way, but they can still cause harm and they still serve to create a toxic environment.
Either keep them safe and out of sight, or look to swap them for organic, natural products. There are cleaning products that work just as well, but don’t contain any toxic ingredients, and there are paints that contain very little VOC, which is one of the main harmful chemicals.
There is a natural alternative for most of the harmful substances that the average American stores in their garage, so be sure you look into these.
Insulate the Garage Door
A lot of the heat in your home is lost through your garage door. When it comes to energy, we’re a very wasteful nation on the whole, and this is one of the areas where we take things to the extreme. But it’s also something that is very easily remedied.
Garage Door insulation kits can be bought cheaply online, with retailers like GarageDoorNation supplying the US with the tools they need to turn their old, metal, heat-sapping garage door into an energy-efficient one. It’s not just about heat either. On those blisteringly hot summer days when you turn the AC all the way up, that garage door is responsible for allowing a lot of heat into your home and letting all of that cooling air out.
Insulate the Walls
Don’t just insulate your door, give the walls the same treatment. With a little insulation you can turn cold, unforgiving walls into something that holds the heat in the winter and allows for the spread of cool air in the summer. You can do as little or as much as you like, knowing that the better the job and the bigger the spend, the more money you will save in the long term.
You should also wrap pipes, protect ductwork and do all you can to prevent energy loss through the ceiling.
Even the smallest crack can cause a significant loss of energy from your home and the garage is where you will find the most cracks and holes in the average American home. These are in the walls, the door and even the floor. A quick inspection and a little filler is all you need to fix these, but doing so will help to lock more energy into your garage and, by definition, your home.
A few cents in filler could save upwards of $50 every year!
The average American wastes as much as 40 swimming pools of water every year. That’s a lot of water, and a signify amount of that goes on washing cars and watering the lawn. But you don’t need to waste freshwater on these simple jobs and can do just as good of a job with rain water collected in a barrel.
By setting up a simple funnel system to the roof of your garage you can catch all of this water in a large barrel, conserving it to use on your yard and your car. You won’t need to worry about water conservation during droughts and you can also help to reduce your household’s water usage.
Once your garage is 100% eco-friendly, then you can look forward to reduced energy bills and to a safer environment for your children and pets. You will need to spend a little time and effort in the beginning, but the increased value in your home, as well as the reduced bills and the extra peace of mind, will make it all worthwhile.