Going Green, Simple and Cheap: Basements & Attics
Many people are completely intimidated by the concept of going green. It really feels like if you don’t start using a rain barrel, install solar panels on your roof, eat, drink and breathe 1000% organic, and compost every living thing under the sun, you’re a failure. But I’m here to tell you that simply isn’t true! There are tons of ways to be green simply and cheaply – and I know because as a young mom, I’m forever on a tight budget. So read on to find out my simple ways to go green, room by room.
Basements and attics are a funny thing. They can be great spaces for storage, or to potentially become more livable square footage with some effort. However, they also have the potential to be disastrous with leaks, mold, unwanted creepers and crawlies, and general pack-rat inducing tendencies. So you have to tread carefully with these extra spaces so you can keep the balance of usefulness par with the effort of maintaining the bonus space.
First and foremost, the greenest thing you can do with a basement or attic is use it. I’d like to suggest three ways to improve such a space so that no matter how you deign to use it, you’re getting the most green bang for your green buck.
Nothing is worse than an energy suck, especially in a space you may only be using to store old clothes and memorabilia. There are plenty of green-based insulation products out there, and some are even eligible for the Cash for Caulkers program (extra bonus!). Insulating your space will not only save you on energy costs, but will make the space more comfy to be in — which means you’ll be more likely to spend time organizing your baby pictures or setting up your home gym.
Chances are, your plumbing and/or ductwork snake through one or both of these spaces. And chances are, you’re losing energy efficiency through those pathways due to lack of small-scale insulation. Simple pipe wraps can be purchased nearly everywhere, and with one little piece of foam, plastic, or fabric you can conserve the energy needed to heat up your hot water and chill out your A/C, saving you more on your energy bills and reducing your carbon footprint to boot.
Since these spaces are the most prone to unwelcome visitors, natural disasters, and major appliance failure, make sure you keep up with basic maintenance before a small leak becomes a flood or one little spider becomes an infestation. Look for natural insect and rodent repellents to help stop a problem before it starts. Check out cracks in the walls or floors or places condensation gathers and repair them. Also, make sure to get your furnace, water heater, and HVAC checked out by a professional at least once a year to make sure everything is working efficiently as possible.
Whether your basement or attic resembles a museum or a man cave, these simple steps to protect the space from unwanted tragedy will not only save you money in the end, but will also help save Mother Earth along the way.