stylized graphic of a house with rooftop solar panels

As of the current state of our climate, it is important to be mindful about our living conditions. That being said, common tasks in our everyday lives can significantly decrease our carbon footprint. A major focus that may be overlooked after partaking in things such as recycling and dietary changes are sustainable housing modifications. Some of these modifications are pretty simple and can be done alone, while others are more complex, but altogether they may save homeowners and renters money while also saving the planet. Many argue that home modifications are expensive. In some cases they can be, but there are options for every budget that can help people save money while also reducing their carbon footprint. In 2022 the Biden administration planned to phase out incandescent bulbs by banning the production and sale of such energy wasting light bulbs by Aug, 1 2023. In addition to this, the government is offering incentives to homeowners who make energy efficient home modifications. The push toward more sustainable home life is becoming more evident as the state of the planet further deteriorates. 

Partaking in an energy audit also may help one understand the most efficient and inefficient energy processes in their home and to modify them accordingly. An energy audit is when a company or individual analyzes a home or building energy usage. They assess the structure, look at energy bills, and use technology such as thermal cameras to pinpoint areas of energy waste. Once this is done, a report is created with the overall performance of the home/building and includes energy saving recommendations, which can be anything from home upgrades to behavioral changes to help one make decisions regarding their own environmental impact and energy costs:

  1. Light bulbs: there are many benefits to energy efficient light bulbs. LED light bulbs last up to 25 times longer than the traditional incandescent bulbs. LED lights also utilize as much as 90% less energy than their incandescent counterparts, resulting in a lower electric bill. It may put some off that LEDs cost more than incandescent bulbs, but over time the cost of replacing incandescent bulbs means LEDs are more cost effective overall.
  2. Showerheads: many older showerheads use very high pressure that ultimately leads to water waste. In today’s market there are many water-saving showerheads that utilize significantly less water but are still satisfying to use. According to the EPA, “the average family could save 2,700 gallons per year by installing WaterSense labeled showerheads.” Furthermore, they reduce dependency on high energy water heaters. This would save over 330 kilowatt-hours of energy yearly, sufficient enough to provide electricity to a residence for a duration of 11 days. The EPA states that “if every home in the United States installed WaterSense labeled showerheads, we could save more than $2.9 billion in water utility bills annually and more than 260 billion gallons of water annually.”
    WaterSense: Meets EPA Criteria logo
  3. Native plants: opt for landscaping your home with native plants. Native plants often are low maintenance, good for local wildlife, use less fertilizer, and use less water, helping the environment and your water bill!
  4. Solar panels: although solar panels initially are expensive, they can help significantly reduce your fossil fuel emissions. Typically placed on a home’s roof, solar panels can additionally qualify you for rebates and credit from some energy companies.
  5. Tankless water heaters: energy used for heating water can be incredibly expensive, especially with a traditional water heater that is designed to store and heat water at all times. A switch to tankless water heaters means only the water you use will get heated. It has been shown that tankless water heaters can be 8-34% more efficient than their traditional counterparts.
  6. Window gaps: this may seem insignificant to many, but the presence of airflow through window gaps can significantly increase heating and cooling costs. It is possible to get such gaps tested and resolved by caulking or installing window strips.
  7. Switching appliances: dishwashers, air conditioners, washing machines, and dryers make a huge dent in the environment and on monthly energy bills. Opt for energy efficient appliances. As they are becoming more popular, they are becoming increasingly easier to find. Doing this will have a positive impact on the planet and your wallet.
  8. Faucet aerators: according to the EPA, replacing inefficient faucets or installing aerators with a WaterSense label can save a family over 700 gallons of water annually. In addition, this will help save on energy bills as less water will need to be heated because less water is used.

With the planet’s climate situation becoming more dire, it is important we act up and protect our planet before the situation becomes one in which people cannot do anything about. Upgrading your home can increase quality of life for yourself and those around you, including the environment. Simple tasks such as updating light fixtures or filling in window gaps can save you a lot of money in the long term and enhance quality of living. Furthermore, changes like these may also promote a healthier living environment by enhancing indoor comfort, air quality, and ventilation. A key takeaway is that home modifications/improvements should go beyond aesthetics. By making such contributions, you are fostering a better home and planet for future generations to come.



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Bathroom Faucets | US EPA, Accessed 20 Sept. 2023.

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“A Guide to Eco-Friendly Home Upgrades.” Unsustainable, 24 July 2023,

“Lighting Choices to Save You Money.” Energy.Gov,,longer%20than%20traditional%20incandescent%20bulbs. Accessed 20 Sept. 2023.

Melillo, Lisa. “Eco-Friendly Home Improvements That Make a Difference.” Bankrate, Accessed 20 Sept. 2023.

Showerheads | US EPA, Accessed 20 Sept. 2023.

Wakefield, Faith, et al. “5 Best Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs of 2023.” EcoWatch, 8 June 2023,,last%20upwards%20of%2025%20years.

Weintraub, Elizabeth. “9 Types of Green Home Project Upgrades You Can Do Yourself.” The Spruce, The Spruce, 31 Oct. 2022,