DIY - Home Improvement

6 Eco-Friendly Updates to Make to Your Los Angeles Home

After a while, every home will need to have some updates. If your Los Angeles home is feeling old, tired and dated, then you might be thinking about moving to a bigger or a newer place – but the economy might be worrying you, leaving you wanting to spend your money as wisely as possible. The good news is that there are several things you can do with your home to modernize it, make it feel fresh and new again, and better accommodate your current needs and lifestyle. 
No matter what your home needs done to it, renovations are the perfect opportunity to improve the eco-friendliness of your home, reduce your carbon footprint, and make sure that you are being as kind as possible to the planet. There are several environmentally savvy things that you can do to your Los Angeles property to improve its impact on the planet and your carbon footprint, and the good news is that you don’t always have to spend a ton of money. And, many of the eco-friendly updates you can make in your home could even help you save or perhaps make extra money in the future. Here are some ideas to keep in mind. 

#1. Solar Panel Installation

If you’re going to invest some money into making your home more environmentally friendly, then solar panels are the way forward. When installed on your home, they will generate green, renewable energy from the sun which you can then use to power your home. While you’ll need to pay for the panels to be installed, the energy that you generate will be free – and you can decide whether to use a combination of grid and solar energy in order to save money, or even use solar panels exclusively for free green energy for your home. 
Consider using this site to find solar financing options in Los Angeles from the best solar company in the Los Angeles and Bay areas – Semper Solaris.  The cost of solar panels can vary depending on where you are in the state of California, and there are solar tax credits in Los Angeles to take advantage of if you need an incentive to finally get the panels installed. Compare solar costs in Los Angeles, San Diego, and the Bay Area to help you determine how much you will need to invest plus how much you’ll be able to save and make back in the future. 
You can find some of the best solar providers in Los Angeles offering a wide range of different products to choose from when it comes to green energy for your home. You’ll also be able to learn more about the various federal, state and local incentives for going green with solar panels such as the incentive program from the LADWP. And, choose from solar panels manufactured by a range of trustworthy names like Panasonic, with options for traditional and thin cell panels made in the U.S. Although they’re not yet ready for residential use, if solar panels are an upgrade that you’re considering making in the future, then it might be worth registering your interest in upcoming, cutting-edge solar technology like biohybrid panels, which are around a thousand times more effective than their traditional counterparts. 

#2. Buy Reclaimed and Recycled

Whether you’re building an extension onto your California home or are getting new furniture and fittings for your rooms, you can be as eco-friendly as possible from the start by opting for reclaimed and recycled materials. For example, if you are building additional space onto your home, you might want to consider roofing materials made from recycled rubber, or if you’re adding decking to your outdoor space, look for wood that’s been made from recycled materials, or at the very least has come from a managed forest with the main aim of protecting the environment. Most home builders can be very flexible when it comes to the materials that you choose for adding to your home, so it’s worth adding recycled materials to the plans for any extensions or changes that you are making. 
In addition, when it comes to furniture, don’t get caught up with buying all new and shiny items. Not only will it save you a great deal of money, but buying reclaimed and recycled furniture also keeps these items out of landfills and helps you do your bit when it comes to fighting mass production. There are plenty of items that may be used and unwanted, but still have plenty of life left in them. You can choose from buying items that have already been upcycled or if you’re into DIY, you could even consider doing your own upcycling and make the furniture your own. With the right tools, you can upholster old furniture to look brand new again, give old wardrobes, tables, drawers and chairs a fresh lick of paint, or even build your own furniture from old pallets and other wooden items that would only have been thrown away otherwise. The options are endless, and you end up with completely unique pieces for your home.

#3. Get Energy-Efficient Replacements

Get Energy-Efficient Replacements
The kitchen and the bathroom are often the first two rooms that you will want to renew and renovate when it comes to updating your California home. And, if you’re ripping out your old kitchen and bathroom and getting all new fixtures, then it’s the perfect opportunity to make the two most-used rooms in your home much more energy efficient and environmentally friendly. 
The kitchen is most likely to be the room in your home that uses the most energy, with appliances like the fridge and freezer needing power all day every day. Add your oven and hob, microwave, washing machine, dryer and dishwasher to the mix, and you can see why the kitchen is easily going to be the room that takes up the most energy from your home on a daily basis. The good news is that if you are refurbishing your kitchen, there’s plenty that you can do in order to make sure that it’s using a minimal amount without losing efficiency. If you’re upgrading your appliances, shop around for appliances that are energy efficient and come with settings that you can use for keeping energy use as low as possible without losing out on quality. 
The bathroom is the second most-used room in the house for most people, and while it may not have as many appliances in there as you will in the kitchen, it still uses up a lot of resources. Your electric shower, a heated towel rail, and extractor fan all use up plenty of energy every day, not to mention the amount of water that you use in the bathroom. But there are upgrades that you can make to turn your bathroom into a greener room overall. First of all, opt for a shower head that uses as little water as possible without losing out on any water pressure. You might even want to consider a timer so that you don’t end up staying in the shower too long. And you can upgrade your faucets to those that only run water when it is needed to avoid wastage. If you need a heated towel rail, it’s a wise idea to get one that comes with a timer so that you can set it to switch off after your towels are warm and dry. 

#4. Consider Whether Renovation is Needed

Consider Whether Renovation is Needed
When it comes to certain areas of your home, you might be surprised as to how little work is actually needed in order to get the look and feel that you desire. One such area is the kitchen – unless it’s really old and shabby or you want a complete redesign, it might not be worth ripping the entire kitchen out and having a new one built. Decide whether you really need a brand-new kitchen, or could you get the results that you want from simply re-facing, rather than completely renovating? 
For example, painting your cupboard doors a fresh color, using tile paint or stickers to cover up old and worn tiles, varnishing counter tops, and replacing your appliances with integrated, energy-efficient models can be a much more environmentally friendly – and far cheaper – option for upgrading your kitchen compared to having a new one. And if you are going to repaint your kitchen, then opt for low-VOC paints. These are earth-friendly, plus much safer for you and your family as they contain fewer toxic chemicals, if any. You can also find no-VOC paints which are practically odorless, splatter resistant and made from 100% acrylic. A self-priming option will allow you to get the job done even quicker while avoiding using any toxic chemicals on your walls. 

#5. Take Advantage of Natural Ligh

There’s definitely plenty of natural light in the sunshine state, so if you are considering renovating your Los Angeles home, then the windows should be a top area of priority. There are several things that you can do when it comes to upgrading your windows in order to make your home more environmentally friendly. Letting in more natural light by going for larger and wider windows is a great idea and often, it won’t cost you much more compared to replacing your windows like for like. The more natural light you allow into your home, the less electricity you will need to use in order to keep it well-lit – and, natural light is often better for studying, working, or even cleaning in – in fact, everything that you need to do around your home is usually best in a natural light. On top of that, the sun’s light can also help to keep your home warm and it’s great for your mental health and well-being. 
Go for double- or even triple-glazed windows, as these will help to properly regulate the temperature in your home, whether you’re keeping it warmer during the winter months or cool in the hot summer. And, double glazed windows will also help keep noise pollution in your home to a minimum, helping it to be a nicer and more peaceful place to be.

#6. Donate Your Unwanted Items

Last but not least, any home upgrade work or renovations are likely to produce at least a few unwanted items from your home. Perhaps you’re getting rid of old furniture that you no longer have any use for, or they do not fit the new look you’re going for with your home, or maybe you’ve had a big clear out of old clothes, gadgets and other items that are gathering dust in your place. 
Throwing everything that you don’t need out might be the easiest option, but unfortunately, it’s not the most eco-friendly. In fact, tons and tons of the things that we throw away from home clearances end up in landfills around the world and even in the ocean, so it’s worth finding alternative things to do with your unwanted stuff. And as the saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, so the first thing to try is to see how much money you can make from selling the items. Have a yard sale, list on eBay or Craigslist, or sell on Facebook marketplace to people in your area – you might be surprised when you see which items will actually sell. Or if you are feeling generous, you could get in touch with local charities helping people in the state of California or elsewhere. You can donate your unwanted home items, clothes, and anything else to charitable organizations that help homeless people get back on their feet into a new place, or to single parents who are struggling to make ends meet. Even taking the items to your local thrift store where they can be picked up by people who are looking for something on a budget is a better idea than letting them go into a landfill. 
If you are looking to renovate your Los Angeles home, doing so with the environment in mind is the best way forward.

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