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Guest Article by Lisa Walker of Neighborhoodsprouts.org
Looking to move to a new rental? You might be filtering through potential options with parameters like square footage, the number of bedrooms, and amenities available. But at Trueworth Financial Planning, we believe there is another equally vital metric to consider: eco-friendly features. Both you and the planet will reap the benefits of going sustainable. Here, we share some key amenities to look for.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, American homeowners’ average monthly electricity usage is 914 kWh. This is enough to power multiple homes for the same period! One of the most significant expenses on your electricity bill is the cost of lighting. You can lower your bill (and reduce your energy consumption) by opting for smart lighting. Compact fluorescent bulbs and LED lights will be essential in your new home. Opt for dimmer switches and motion sensors, so you’re not wasting energy when you don’t need it.
Water-Efficient Appliances and Plumbing
Water consumption is a serious issue to watch out for. With low rainfall rates across the world and extreme water usage, it will be critical to do your part by watching your consumption. Opt for water-efficient appliances over regular ones. For example, water heaters don’t waste water when heating or faucets with a reduced water stream. Low flow toilets are also a viable option – according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, toilets are the main source of water consumption in households. Low flush models help reduce consumption by more than 20%!
Solar panels are growing in popularity as homeowners take advantage of solar schemes and tax rebates to equip their homes. When you’re browsing properties, you could look into the solar usage of the building and if it relies on solar energy. Although it is unlikely that a residential facility is 100% powered by solar, even partial sun’s energy offers significant environmental benefits. Going solar will guarantee cost savings, not to mention reduce reliance on traditional energy sources such as fossil fuels.
Insulation is an important one to watch out for. If your potential home has too many leaks in insulation, you’re going to rely on energy to compensate. This will drive up your electricity bill and stand against your sustainability ethos! Ensure that your window openings are correctly sealed to prevent heat from going out and cold from coming in. If you find any leaks, filling them with caulk is an easy DIY fix you can complete yourself. You could also ask about the kind of insulation used in construction – for example; cellulose insulation will be more energy-efficient than insulation in newer builds. Older homes typically need their insulation to be replaced or repaired, so be sure to inquire into that as well.
Minimize Transportation Costs
Driving everywhere may be convenient, but it’s terrible for the environment. When looking for homes, why not look at neighborhoods that have everything you need? This way, you’re reducing your reliance on gas and energy to fuel your car. For example, look for a rental close to work, so you cut down your commute, or for a home with easy access to good schools, shopping, and health care. Public transportation routes near you will be a bonus! Sites like Rentals.com offer easy ways to find properties in a competitive area like Sacramento with these amenities in your price range. You’ll be able to filter through metrics like location, number of bedrooms, and more to find your perfect rental.
Going eco-friendly can improve the quality of your life significantly. And the fact that you’re doing your best for the environment certainly helps too! After all, being good feels good!
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