Is it possible to be both eco-friendly and thrifty around the home?

Saving money and living green are scorching hot conversation topics. People want to be kind to the planet by living a little greener. Hanging on to more green, to stash away for a rainy day,  is now hip. But, can you be eco-friendly on the cheap? More specifically, can you do budget conscious projects around your home to spruce it up and still practice green living?

The short and sweet answer is yes. Take a look at the Master ROI Table over at GreenandSave.com. The table features three sections: Green “Tune-Up”, Green Remodel and Green Advanced Systems.

Surprisingly, by going around your home and performing some basic “tune-ups”, like replacing old shower heads with low-flow types , homeowners can do the earth a good turn and achieve an ROI (Return On Investment) of 50% to 100+%. The “tune-up” with the best ROI is installing (and actually using) a programmable thermostat.

Remodeling the kitchen or a bathroom are the projects to embark on if you are looking for the highest ROI from your home projects. Both types of remodeling can be very eco-friendly, and often save the homeowner money in the long run. Low-flow faucets come in a wide range of styles, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find one that compliments your remodel plan. Energy Star rated appliances can be installed, which will save you money through reduced energy bills in the future. Toxic free paint, with little to no VOCs , can be used for the walls.

Another great ROI remodeling project — one that takes less time to complete— is to replace existing floor coverings with hardwood floors. Consider using renewable flooring surfaces like bamboo or cork; both are affordable (averaging $3.50 per square foot, per GreenandSave.com) and look terrific.

If you decide to tackle a home project yourself, keep green practices in mind. The article 8 Ways to Green Your DIY points out money saving tips like reviewing what materials you already have on hand and borrowing one-time use tools (you can rent tools ,too, from building supply stores). The article also includes links to DIY sites which have plans, photos and videos for numerous home projects.

Are you considering listing your home on the market? If so, you will want to freshen up your curb appeal; green gardening can save a lot of time, money and frustration. If you add any plantings, use plants that are compatible with your climate zone. Consider using plants native to your area; they often require less attention to produce beautiful garden beds. Have a fussy spot that won’t grow grass well? You could replace it with an appropriate ground cover.

Planting a tree or two, in the correct areas around your home, can help reduce your heating and cooling energy bill. Evergreens planted on the north side of your home will serve as a wind break in the winter; deciduous trees located on the south side will let the sun warm your home while leafless in the winter, and help provide shade in the summmer.

Green and frugal don’t have to be miles apart, nor do they need to be frumpy and unattractive.  Living green just takes a little research to develop a plan, which then often pays off by keeping more cash in your wallet. Let’s help keep the conversation going— what green living ideas or websites do you find helpful?

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