10 Eco-friendly Home Construction Options for Any Budget


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When your old appliances wear out, consider replacing them with newer, more eco-friendly models.
When your old appliances wear out, consider replacing them with newer, more eco-friendly models.
Hemera/Thinkstock

Home appliances are tools. And like any tool, your washer, dryer, water heater and dishwasher will eventually wear out and need to be replaced. This fact of homeownership is also a great opportunity: When a major appliance wears out, some smart shopping can lead to major energy savings with an efficient new model [source: Energy Star].

The first step to making an energy-conscious appliance purchase involves learning how efficiency is measured for that appliance. Knowing what an appliance's ratings mean can help you shop smarter and faster.

Likewise, make sure you know what size appliance you need. Buying an air conditioner that's too small will lead to hot summers and a constantly running appliance. But a too-large air conditioner might not adequately remove humidity in your home and will waste energy when it's running [source: Energy Star].

Once you've found your new appliance, check to see if there are ways you can save energy through better installation. Can your water heater be moved to shorten the length of your hot water pipes? Are your air conditioning ducts properly sealed and insulated? Now is the time to address these issues and maximize your energy savings.

New, efficient appliances aren't always cheap. But evaluating your needs and researching your options can help you strike a balance between price and performance that will improve your home's eco-friendliness, regardless of your budget.

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Sources

  • Consumer Reports. "Tankless water heaters." October 2008. (Dec. 31, 2010)http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/appliances/heating-cooling-and-air/water-heaters/tankless-water-heaters/overview/tankless-water-heaters-ov.htm
  • Efficient Windows Collaborative. "Benefits: Energy & Cost Savings." (Dec 29, 2010)http://www.efficientwindows.org/energycosts.cfm
  • Efficient Windows Collaborative. "Weatherization Assistance." (Dec. 29, 2010)http://www.efficientwindows.org/weatherization.cfm
  • Energy Star. "Air Seal and Insulate with ENERGY STAR." (Dec. 28, 2010)http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=home_sealing.hm_improvement_sealing
  • Energy Star. "ENERGY STAR Qualified Products." (Dec. 31, 2010)http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=find_a_product.
  • Gaulkin, Zachary. "Shopping for Smart Thermostats." This Old House. (Jan. 1, 2011)http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/article/0,,349567,00.html
  • Hillsdale County Community Center. "Impervious Surfaces." (Dec. 22, 2010)http://www.hillsdalecounty.info/planningeduc0004.asp
  • Howard, Brian Clark. "20 Adorable Draft Snakes Fight Chills." The Daily Green. (Dec. 29, 2010)http://www.thedailygreen.com/green-homes/latest/door-draft-stoppers-draft-snakes-460109
  • The Jonah Center for Earth and Art. "Eco-Friendly Landscaping." (Dec. 27, 2010)http://www.thejonahcenter.org/pdf/ecofriendlylandscaping.pdf
  • Lake Superior Streams. "Pervious Pavement." (Dec. 22, 2010)http://www.lakesuperiorstreams.org/stormwater/toolkit/paving.html
  • Manfredini, Lou. "Get a 'green' thumb: Grow an eco-friendly lawn." TODAY. May 31, 2007. (Dec. 21, 2010)http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/18926195/ns/today-today_home_and_garden/
  • Putnam, David. "WINDOWS: U-Factor, Solar Heat Gain Coefficient…what does it all mean?!" GetWithGreen.com. June 13, 2008. (Dec. 29, 2010)http://www.getwithgreen.com/2008/06/13/windows-u-factor-solar-heat-gain-coefficientwhat-does-it-all-mean/#hide
  • Tennessee Valley Authority. "Choosing a Water Heater." Energy Right Solutions. (Dec. 31, 2010)http://www.energyright.com/waterheat/choosing.htm
  • U.S. Department of Energy. "Insulation Fact Sheet." 2008. (Dec. 25, 2010)http://www.ornl.gov/sci/roofs+walls/insulation/ins_01.html
  • U.S. Department of Energy. "Your Home's Energy Use." (Dec. 27, 2010)http://www.energysavers.gov/tips/home_energy.cfm
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. "Beneficial Landscaping." Oct. 16, 2009. (Dec. 7, 2010)http://www.epa.gov/greenkit/landscap.htm

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