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Your home is an investment in your future. Although the investment may include an extended VA home loan, a mortgage isn’t the only thing you’re investing in. You’re purchasing a place to live, a home in which to make memories, and a location to find comfort. It is a place that you plan to fill with personality, furniture, and improvements.

Many homeowners want those improvements to reflect their love for the environment by making it as eco-friendly as possible. They strive to make improvements that will make a positive impact on the environment.

The best time to act on these desires is often between the time that the VA home loan is obtained, and before you move in. Some of these tips are better taken care of before you fill the house with possessions. Still others you can implement after you move in. To get the ball rolling, we have provided two great ideas to go green before the move and after you settle in.

Before the Move

Zero- or low-VOC paints

If you’re looking to repaint the home, use a heavier type. The conventional paints are filled with solvents, volatile organic compounds, and toxic metals. These can cause smog, indoor air quality problems, and ozone pollution. They continue to affect the environment even after the paints dry. Choose a zero- or low-VOC paint instead to lower the impact the paint will have on the environment.

Bamboo floors

If you’re looking to tear out some carpet/tile to put down hardwood, consider choosing bamboo over the traditional maple, cherry, oak, or walnut. Bamboo is considered by many as one of the most environmentally friendly flooring materials around. That’s not because it degrades better than any other wood out there, but because bamboo is one of the most replenishable trees in the world. In just four to six years you can bring a bamboo tree from adolescence to full maturity. It takes fifty to a hundred years to do that with many of the trees typical hardwood floors are made from.

After the Move

Greener appliances

All of your appliances together are estimated to make up almost 20% of your typical home energy bill. You can reduce their effect on your finances by simply updating them to more energy efficient versions. If your appliances are 10 years old or more, it’s time to upgrade.

Sometimes “greening up your appliances” can mean something as simple as getting rid of ones that you don’t need anymore. An extra freezer, toaster, or washing machine isn’t doing anyone any good.

Plant shade trees and shrubs

Sometimes the only thing keeping you from enjoying a cooler summer is a plant or two to block the direct rays of the sun. Plant shade trees and shrubs around your house that can act as insulation. The plants need the sunlight anyways, so put them in a place that will intercept a lot of the heat. The less work your air conditioning has to do, the better for your energy bill and the environment.

These are just a few of the ways you can increase the green quality of your home. Find creative new ways to increase the energy efficiency in your new house. Also fill your home with easily renewable resources wherever possible.

If you’re just closing on a house with a VA home loan, consider how your home can be maximized for environmental protection and begin implementing those changes immediately. Your environment and budget will thank you for it in the long run.

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