February 5th, 2014
As consumers become more aware of how their choices can impact the economy and environment, homeowners are taking strides toward becoming greener. From building materials, low-flush toilets and energy-efficient light bulbs, there are several ways homeowners can reduce their carbon footprint, support the environment and save money.
How going green saves money
One of the largest costs of owning a home is controlling the temperature. Heating and cooling systems can cost thousands of dollars each year in energy consumption. Green upgrades and renovations can greatly reduce the cost of heating and cooling by improving insulation and better technology. According to INSWeb, homeowners can save up to 30 percent off their monthly bills by utilizing green technology in the home.
In addition to heating and cooling, smaller changes at home can save huge amounts of money over time. Energy-efficient light bulbs are some of the easiest and least expensive ways to make a home greener. These light bulbs use less energy and last longer, meaning you can save money on both your utility bill and the cost of replacing lights. While major appliances like dishwashers, washing machines and dryers can save the most amount of energy and money, nearly everything that uses energy can be upgraded to a green version to cut back on consumption and expenses.
Green homeowners insurance
Beyond saving money each month on utility bills by reducing the amount of water and energy you use to run your household, you can also save money by getting a green home insurance policy. Homes that meet certain standards, including those that achieve the Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design standard, can qualify for a special type of homeowners insurance.
Because green homes are often built using green and sustainable materials that can cost more, a green homeowners insurance policy will help cover the cost if these need to be replaced. Additionally, green coverage will mean that any energy-efficient appliances will be replaced to the same standard. Some homeowners who may have made the jump to become energy independent by installing solar, wind or geothermal power in their home can also get these sources covered under a green insurance policy.
Not every homeowner will make such big changes to their home in order to make it green and sustainable. For those who make smaller upgrades, there are still ways to save on a homeowners insurance policy. Studies have revealed that many green upgrades reduce the risk of accidents and damage in a home, making them a lower risk for insurance companies. The sentiment also extends into car insurance, as owners of hybrid vehicles are known to be safer drivers.
If you already have a policy, call your representative to see if you are eligible for a discount or see what upgrades could reduce your monthly premium in the future. If you are looking for new coverage, take the time to shop around and see what is offered for green homes. It is important to remember to get any green building materials covered by insurance if your home needs to be repaired or rebuilt.