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If you’re putting your home on the market among the Columbia houses for sale or anywhere else, the more eco-friendly your home is, the better. It’s one of the most important considerations for many homebuyers today, with the demand for more environmentally-friendly, energy-efficient features holding steady even in the competitive real estate market.

A recent report by the National Association of Realtors found that nearly two-thirds of realtors surveyed said promoting energy efficiency would be a good way to attract more buyers. But even if you don’t plan to sell your home, making it more eco-friendly can mean lower utility bills while also reducing your environmental impact.

Consider Options for More Energy-Efficient Heating and Cooling

If you live anywhere subject to weather extremes, your heating and/or cooling costs can be sky high and typical solutions aren’t great for the environment either. For example, traditional heating methods using fossil fuels like oil or natural gas come at a high cost to the environment, contributing to climate change, air pollution, and the potential for oil spills.

The government’s symbol for energy-efficiency, Energy Star, reports that geothermal heating is one of the most efficient and effective heating technologies available today, utilizing the earth’s natural heat, including steam and water. This source of energy is limitless, with a geothermal pump taking heat that’s stored underground enhancing the efficiency of a home’s heating system as well as keeping the home cool during a hot summer. While it’s not cheap to install, it will add to the resale value of your home and there are often incentives to help offset the cost offered from the government and utility companies. If geothermal heating isn’t an option, at minimum consider thermal shades. Adding them to your windows will help your home retain heat during the colder months of the year and block the sun in the summer.

Get Smart Appliances

Smart appliances, from dishwashers and refrigerators to washers and dryers are able to monitor their own energy use, reducing waste. While they aren’t the cheapest option available, over time you’ll save big on your utility bills and you’ll be significantly reducing your impact on the environment too. If you can’t afford to replace all your appliances at once, changing them out one at a time can help make it easier on your wallet.

Replace Your Standard Light Bulbs with LEDs

One of the cheapest and easiest changes you can make is to switch out your old light bulbs for LEDs. LED bulbs are a lot more energy-efficient, using 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs yet you’ll still get the same level of brightness. They last longer too as they contain electrons that flow, creating photons (the light we see) while generating almost no heat. Those traditional bulbs Edison invented uses filaments that produce heat and light.

Compost

We humans throw out a ton of garbage, creating overflowing landfill spaces which release methane, a strong greenhouse gas. By composting, you’ll immediately reduce the amount of garbage you contribute to that while saving water at the same time. Compost helps the soil hold onto moisture and benefits the environment as it recycles organic resources.