Boston Beacon Hill is well known as a green neighborhood. Whether it’s at the grocery store, where reusable bags are increasingly common, plastic bag,, where 8% of Beacon Hill residents ride bicycles, or at home, where upwards of 50% of waste is recycled or composted, we take significant steps to reduce our impact on the planet. Why not bring the Green theme to selling your Beacon Hill condo for sale?

Most Boston downtown homeowners do repairs or make major improvements to their Beacon Hill homes before they list them for sale. At the very least, it’s quite common to replace old appliances and light bulbs with more efficient ones. Is your Boston downtown condo already in top-notch condition? Then your focus is on decluttering and staging so that it will look its best when buyers come through with their agents. When you work at it from the angle of reducing waste and avoiding toxic materials, you can even save yourself some money along the way.

Why Go Green?

It’s cheap and trendy

When you use recycled or reused materials, you’re not only keeping them out of the landfill, but you have the chance to add character to your project that you won’t find in the big box stores. Start by repurposing your own materials. In older Beacon Hill homes, reuse those old windows as wall art, apply some rustic touches with re-sanded decking or fencing, or get creative with old kitchen or bathroom tiles. There are tons of DIY guides on the internet. Don’t have any cool stuff lying around? Head to the nearest thrift store! Vintage touches like light fixtures, drawer pulls and door knockers make the difference between “ho-hum” and “charming”. Portland is a city like no other, and your home can be just as unique!

Contrary to popular belief, going green does not have to be hard or cost money, in fact, it can even save you money.  There are many small things that you and your family can do within your home to save money while reducing landfill waste and the use of natural resources. Discover a few ways to go green and save some money by choosing a green home.

Compost Bin

Composting is free and can provide you with rich soil to garden with. You will never have to buy soil and can easily grow plants and vegetables.  To create your own bin, get a large trashcan with a locking lid, then drill about 25 holes all around the bin and attach the bin to the small platform (allows it to drain).  Once you start putting approved items in the bin outside and roll them around in the grass every few days.

Energy Efficient Light Bulbs

You can save approximately $75 dollars a year by replacing your traditional incandescent with energy-efficient light bulbs.  On average energy-efficient light bulbs typically use way less energy and can last much longer, not needing to be replaced as much.

Laundry

There are quite a few options to save money and energy when it comes to laundry.  Here are a few: wait till you have a full load of laundry to wash, line dry your clothes, wash your clothes in cold water, and when it comes time to get a new washer and dryer buy an energy-efficient one.

Weather-Strip & Caulk

One of the main ways we use a lot of energy, especially in hot and cold climates, is through air-conditioning and heating. One way to reduce the use of heating and air-conditioning is to properly weatherstrip and caulk all windows and doors keeping your home cool and warm when needed.

Reuse and Reduce

Use items more than once when you can to avoid throwing them out; this might mean buying quantity over quality.  Another way is to join The Freecycle Network or Buy Nothing group on Facebook you can swap used goods with neighbors for free and also keeping more waste out of landfills.

DIY Cleaning

Start making your own cleaning products.  Not only can you customize, make them eco-friendlier but you will also save money buying products.  On average, most DIY cleaners cost less than $1 to make per bottle compared to $5-$15 per store-bought bottle.

Unplug & Turn Off

Put all your major electronics on a power strip and shut off when they are not in use.  Even if your electronics are shut off, they still will continue to draw electricity thought out the day.  Another tip is to make sure you unplug your cellphone when completely charged and always power everything down while not in use to save on battery life.

Toilet

There is an extremely easy way to make your toilet a low flow toilet.  Simply add a brick, wrapped in a waterproof bag, or take a plastic water bottle and fill it with sand putting it into your tank.  This will reduce the amount of water with every flush. Once you are ready for a new toilet purchase a low-flush toilet.

Shower

Change up your showerhead with an energy-efficient shower head that will use half the amount of water.  These showerheads are low flow but will significantly cut your water bill down.  Another option is to install a tap aerator which will also cut down water usage without changing the water pressure.

It’s better for your health

Another important aspect of keeping your home eco-friendly is avoiding toxic cleaning products, paints, and other materials. The biggest risk that toxic materials pose is from Volatile Organic Compounds or VOCs. These gases released by everything from air fresheners to electronics to carpet pads, and there’s no way to completely eliminate them from your home. However, you can significantly reduce their levels by looking for low to zero VOC products and cleaning with fewer chemicals. At low levels, VOCs can cause headaches and nausea, and at high levels, they can cause cancer and damage to the liver and kidneys. As awareness grows about this health risk, homebuyers may be on the lookout for signs of poor indoor air quality, so be sure to keep it in mind as you prepare your home for sale! 

Support local businesses

Boston has tons of resources and shops where you can buy used building materials, home furnishings and new appliances and materials that are eco-friendly. Habitat for Humanity ReStores, Goodwill, locally owned thrift stores, the list goes on! By going green and shopping locally, your dollars will do far more to bolster the local economy than heading to a big-box home improvement store! 

Help a neighbor

It’s inevitable that the moving process will help you realize that you have stuff you don’t need. Rather than pulling a dumpster up to the house and throwing things in it, consider donating those items. You’d be surprised what can be reused, and it’s a tax deduction for you! Pick-up services are available from St. Paul and other organizations that not only resell your unwanted housewares, clothing, and furniture but also use the profits to do good in the community.

There are some things you can’t donate but definitely don’t want to throw in the municipal garbage – toxic materials like old paint, cleaning supplies, and batteries. For these, find out when your next neighborhood collection event is happening by checking out the City of Boston website. Most neighborhoods have one around springtime.

More Pro Tips From Your Energy Wise Realtor

For the past five years, one of my many real estate agent designations has been as a trade ally of Energy Trust of Oregon. This organization assists homeowners with energy-efficient features and improvements to their homes. You can save up to 30% on energy costs with Energy Trust of MA cash incentives! Here are some ideas to get you started.

Appliances are key

Your Beacon Hill home can be an energy guzzler or sipper depending on the decisions you make when you buy your materials and appliances. Energy-Star Certified appliances have the most buyer-appeal. Look for the certification when you shop for appliances and be sure you comparison shop to get the best deal. When you’re ready to get rid of old appliances, Energy Trust will not only pick them up for free, they’ll even give you cash for them!

Small energy savings add up

Potential buyers of your home love improvements that will save them money on their utility bills. Whether you sealed up gaps and cracks, put in new insulation, or replaced leaky windows, be sure to let your real estate agent know. LED light bulbs and motion-detecting fixtures are an often-overlooked but an easy way to boost your home’s green cred.

Make your home smarter

The “smart home” is no longer a sci-fi fantasy, it’s here! Energy Trust of MA (at the time this article is written) offers rebates for Nest smart thermostats, which can greatly reduce home heating and cooling costs. These devices can tell when you’re away and can even use local weather information to make energy-saving temperature changes automatically.

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UPDATED 2019.

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