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  • Save Money This Summer, Part II: Eco-Renovate Your Home

    Eco renovations are a useful consideration for realtors and could be a good selling point for a home that may have these extra features. The savings in utilities will appeal to potential owners and make it that much more sellable. The main objective is to save money, so maybe invest a little bit into the low-cost renos or spend a little more at first, but it will come back fast into your pocket as it has a high ROI.There are several ways that homeowners can save a few bucks with changes around the house ranging from minor to major renos:1. Paint: switching to a low or zero-VOC paint is not a new notion; the paint has existed over a decade. But now with the new surge of colours and availability, it seems more valuable than ever to jump on the train. Plus there’s that added bonus of not contributing to air pollution or inhaling harmful chemicals (and this is not just when you’re painting, VOC’s get released into the air constantly over time. Yes, even when it’s dry).2. Insulation: This is especially useful if you’re thinking about investing in a new heating or cooling system, or wanting to ramp up the effectiveness of your current system. A well-insulated house keeps your energy bills low, and the attic is the best place to start. There are many different types of insulation with varying degrees of environmental impact depending on the manufacturing process. A great one to consider is a BC-made mineral wool called Roxul Flexibatt™, made from natural basalt and recycled coal slag. It is composed of over 40% recycled material and found to potentially save 1000 times the energy it takes to manufacture it.3. Windows: Since energy efficiency is main source of savings in these eco-renos, your windows might need a lookover. A good set of windows can save energy costs by up to 20% in addition improving the overall look of the home.4. Lighting: We won’t pretend like energy-efficient lighting is a brand new concept. But still, many are turned off by the initial cost of CFL or LED bulbs in comparison to traditional (and cheap) incandescent ones. Ultimately, the cost at the end of the year, factoring in the cost of the bulb the year’s worth of energy costs will be lower for a CFL bulb than an incandescent. Also take into consideration the heated debate between Democrats and Republicans concerning the phase-out of 100-watt incandescent bulbs in 2012. Regardless of what comes out of US legislation, the facts concerning energy-efficient lighting do not change, and an upgrade to your bulbs will result in you giving the environment and your wallet a nice little boost.Depending on the age and current energy efficiency of your or your clients’ home, these eco-renos may offer a minor or major cost savings in the long run. Also consider the rebates offered by the government for these kinds of green changes. Not following us on Twitter or a fan on Facebook? Shame! (We love you anyway, but seriously take care of that).

    1. How Low-VOC Paint Works, Jennifer Horton. http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/home/low-voc-paint.htm
    2. Energy Efficient Lighting, Eartheasy http://eartheasy.com/live_energyeff_lighting.htm

    Photo courtesy of Anton Fomkin

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