This is a guest post by Paul Denikin, author of DadKnowsDIY.com. Paul began learning the ins and outs of do-it-yourself home repair while making his home better fit and more accessible for his daughter, Maggie, who has special needs. Paul wants to continue to help special needs parents like himself, and offer them a source for ideas. And that’s why he created DadKnowsDIY.com, a website that offers home improvement project how-tos and other accessibility information. When Paul isn’t being handy around the house, he likes to take Maggie to the movies on the weekends.
Purchasing a foreclosed home from a bank can be intimidating. The rules are slightly different, there are likely repairs to be made, and it can be risky. However, with the help of a good agent and some research, you can be the proud owner of a previously foreclosed home. Now all you have left to do is make necessary repairs. Though this too can seem challenging, think of this as an opportunity to turn your new home into a structure that is environmentally friendly. Here are a few ways you can make your new home more eco-friendly as you return it to its former glory.
1. Energy Star Appliances
If you need to replace something like a refrigerator or microwave, you should look into Energy Star appliances. Not only do they limit your energy consumption but they also dramatically lower your electric bills on top of a potential tax credit. These appliances may cost a little more but will save you money in the long run.
2. Water Conservation
One of the best things you can do to limit water waste is invest in a low-flow toilet. These toilets use less water per flush and cost about the same as any other toilet. With the modern wave of eco-friendliness, the selection of such appliances has increased dramatically.
Another beneficial and cheap way you can reduce water use is an aerated faucet. Both showerheads and sink faucets offer a variety of aerated options. Aerated faucets use both water and air to limit water but maintain water pressure. These also run at about the same cost as their less efficient counterparts.
If your foreclosure has a pool, make sure you have the proper equipment to keep it well-maintained. A poorly-kept pool can lead to water waste and unnecessarily high energy costs. So, be sure to give your pool and any equipment available a once-over to assess where replacements or repairs are needed.
3. Recycled Insulation
Green insulation, made from a treated composition of recycled fibers, is a cheap option if your new home needs insulation replacements. It runs 25 cents per square foot. When compared to the typical 73 cents per square foot of fiberglass insulation, the eco-friendly version seems like a no-brainer. Of course, if the home’s insulation is still acceptable, keep in mind that throwing out usable material to replace it with environmentally-friendly materials is not a very eco-friendly action on your part.
4. Alternative Flooring
Hardwood and laminate are some of the most popular flooring options but are also some of the least eco-friendly. Laminate creates more plastic that may never fully break down, while hardwood supports deforestation. Fortunately, you have some alternative options in the event that you need to replace your floors.
Bamboo is an extremely sustainable wood alternative. Bamboo can grow up to three feet in 24 hours and creates a durable flooring material when sealed. It only costs $2-$5 per square foot, comparable to the cheapest hardwoods. Other options that are more costly but more environmentally responsible are tile (between $3 and $10) and reclaimed wood (between $7 and $10 per square foot).
Turning a foreclosed house into an eco-friendly home is an exciting and rewarding journey. Not only do you help the environment but you also help out your family’s budget by reducing the overall cost of living. Between the low price of bamboo floors, Energy Star tax credits, and reduced water usage, your modifications will pay for themselves in no time!
Becca adds: Our home wasn’t a foreclosure, but it is an older house that has needed various repairs and renovations–and I can say that making environmentally-friendly choices has worked for me! We have bought Energy Star appliances each time an old appliance is run into the ground, and we have aerated faucets in kitchen and bathroom.