This year our ambitions went beyond our wallet and current technology, but we did make a few changes at home to prepare for the future.
EV "ready" garage
We built a garage this year, and opted to bring in a 100 amp, 240 V electrical service (instead of a more typical 60 amp service) so that we could eventually install a level two EV charger. We had hoped our next car would be an EV, but unfortunately they're still out of our price range for the time being.
Furnace and water heater upgrade
Late last winter our furnace started making the wrong kind of noises. We looked into upgrading to a heat pump, but given our climate (in Wisconsin, USA) we still would have needed a back-up heat source. Since we currently don't need whole-home air conditioning, we decided to stick with a natural-gas burning furnace. However, we upgraded from an 80% efficient unit to one that is 95% efficient. We also got a multi-stage blower, which would be required later if we were to add a heat pump, and is more efficient than a standard blower. This furnace should last long enough for heat pump technology to improve, and prices to come down.
At the same time, we decided to upgrade our 80% efficient, 10 year old water heater to a 95% efficient unit. Doing both at the same time allowed us to seal off our chimney, improving the air-tightness of the house.
Turning lawn into garden
Since moving into our house about three years ago, we've been converting lawn areas into gardens -- some for annual vegetables, and some for perennials and wildflowers. By doing so we're creating a more diverse ecosystem in our yard, making a portion of our diet more sustainable, and helping support root systems that reduce soil runoff.