Whether you’ve just purchased a home that needs work or are renovating your current space, get ready for an unexpected surprise or two, slight inconvenience and — of course — marked expense.

While logistic disturbance is temporary at best and unpredicted structural quirkiness status quo, you do have considerable control over maximizing renovation costs at the get-go. Going green with eco-friendly designs offer distinct ways to increase your home’s value. Here are six cost-effective, sustainable upgrades proven to protect your investment:

1) Re-Insulate

Drawing up eco-friendly plans and pricing out energy-efficient appliances without careful attention to insulation detail may result in an unfortunate waste of valuable resources. Evaluate current insulation structure, paying particular attention to attic, floors and walls. Loose-fill fiberglass or cellulose insulation can be blown in to supplement already existing forms. Adding insular value to any structure reduces heating and cooling costs. Just how much do you stand to save? Check out this state-by-state and home size breakdown.

2) Air Seal

Once the insulation is updated, you’ll want to make sure all air leaks are securely sealed. Caulking and weatherstripping are two relatively inexpensive ways to accomplish this. Caulking is commonly used to seal leaks from stationary sources, such as drafts arising from foundation cracks, duct and plumbing lines, electrical outlets and switch plates. Weatherstripping can be used to seal home components that move, like windows and doors. For up-to-date caulking and weatherstripping tips, tap into valuable resources at energy.gov.

3) Switch Out Doors

Curb appeal remains a big selling point in today’s market. New front and garage doors add vibrant style and draw. In order to maximize cost output and capitalize on productivity, research product lines that not only are visually appealing but include insulation properties as well.

4) Window Shop

If, after careful weatherstripping, you still discover unwanted drafts around your windows, it might be time to consider replacing them altogether. Luckily, energy-efficient varieties abound for all types of design and layout; many even include product rebates.

5) Freshen Paint

Brighten your already-existing color scheme or shake it up a bit by re-painting your home’s interior. Consider adding an accent wall, or using color to enhance natural light.

Warm hues such as red, orange and yellow exude energy and activity. They are perfect schematic choices for busy areas like your kitchen, playroom and exercise studio. Cool colors — blue, green and purple — tend to widen perceptual view. These shades make a small room appear larger or cramped space feel less tight.

Choose low or zero VOC — volatile organic compound — paints. If you’re handy, you can even make all-natural milk paint as a Do-It-Yourself project.

6) Re-Claim Wood

Composite wood is a cost-effective, eco-friendly construction material made from locally-sourced recycled plastic and leftover lumber pulp. If you are thinking of adding or replacing outdoor decking and fences, consider that composite products are splinter-free and slip resistant. They do not need sanding or painting, nor do they possess toxic chemicals.

Reclaimed wood can also be used indoors for everything from flooring to countertops. Initial costs are generally higher than those of traditional wood products. But in the long run, re-claimed wood’s low maintenance and lasting versatility make it the more economical choice, especially in light of supporting our carbon footprint.


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