Going Green: Saving Energy and Money with Eco-Friendly Home Updates

You’ve got an older home, but you’ve got eco-friendliness on your mind, and you want to do everything possible to add improvements that will benefit the environment. Check out these great ideas for accomplishing your eco-friendly goals:


If you live in an older home, you probably had a small thermostat that looked like this:

While these units worked, they were quite primitive. They included a tightly wound spring mechanism that expanded and contracted according to room ambient temperature and in turn moved a glass ball-like tube that contained liquid mercury. The mercury either completed or ended an electrical connection and that turned the furnace or AC on and off. You would set the desired temperature by hand and the thermostat would respond.

While new smart thermostats may have the same shape, this is where the similarity ends. If you’re living in an updated 3-bedroom apartment in Milwaukee, Chicago, New York City or any major city, smart thermostats are likely now controlled by your mobile device and they boast amazing setting capabilities.

They can work with remote sensors and interface with Siri, and the days of worrying about a neglected thermostat while you are on vacation can be a distant memory. If you’re a homeowner, you want to know how much your place is worth — the same goes for car value and other things you own — so adding these thermostats can surely up that value!


However, you spell it, greywater is a term that describes water used for washing clothes, dishes or yourself and your pets. If you can reclaim this valuable resource, you can irrigate your garden with it. While the are great greywater reclamation systems that you can install, you can also manually bail out your bathwater in addition to your dish sink water and dump it on your plants. A Texas radio talk show host used to tell the story about how he kept a number of five-gallon buckets in his shower so that he could capture as much greywater as possible. When asked why he went to so much trouble he simply said, “Because water is precious.”


Many municipalities will provide you with blue recycling containers and Austin, Texas goes one step further as they have made green compost containers available.

Residents can place plant debris, food waste and even cardboard fast food containers and pizza boxes into these receptacles and the city picks them up weekly. Be sure to take advantage of any recycling initiatives offered by your town, and if you live in a remote area, make sure you know where the nearest recycling center is located.


You have to think LED if you are going to be serious about an eco-friendly home. LED lights are getting cheaper, and some fixtures that do not even have traditional-looking light bulbs in them are made to last for 30 to forty years!

The fixture above looks like many incandescent fixtures, but it has no bulb, and you can buy it many places for under $20. Pair that with an app that interfaces with your LED system and you can control brightness and even different color hues directly from your mobile device.

Little things do make a difference and if all you can do is bail water from the tub, just start there. One step leads to another, and soon you’ll be making a big difference!