Making a home eco-friendly seems like one of those things we should want to do. But what does it mean? How do you make your home eco friendly, and is it going to require thousands of dollars worth of solar panels and windmills? Don’t worry! You can have a home that’s “green” without spending a lot or going off-the-grid.
Believe it or not, there are many easy ways to green up your home — and most of them will save you money too.
Switch Your Bulbs
Save energy and money by switching to CFL or LED bulbs. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, residential LED’s use about 75 percent less energy and last 25 percent longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. In fact, “by 2027, widespread use of LEDs could save about 348 TWh (compared to no LED use) of electricity: This is the equivalent annual electrical output of 44 large electric power plants (1000 megawatts each), and a total savings of more than $30 billion at today’s electricity prices.”
Weatherize Your Home
You will save all sorts of energy and dollars by making sure your home is sealed tight against the elements. Insulation, moisture control, proper ventilation and air sealing are all important elements to making your home more energy efficient and therefore, more eco friendly. The U.S. Department of Energy explains that weatherstripping and caulking, particularly in areas that are exposed to the weather, such as window sashes, fireplaces, doors or attic access to name a few, are very effective. By placing weather stripping in a door frame, for example, you can keep the wind from blowing into your house, and then you won’t need to turn up the heat, but instead will be able to keep the heat you’ve already paid for inside your home.
Ghosts in the Outlets
Turn off electric appliances you aren’t using. You know that red light on your television that tells you that it’s off? Well, it might be off, but it’s still using electricity. Pull the plug on electronic devices and appliances you aren’t using (not the refrigerator or freezer), and you will save electricity.
Bamboo is the New Maple (or Cherry, or Oak…)
Want to replace your floors or buy new furniture? Choose bamboo! Bamboo grows fast. Very fast. And it can be made into everything from wood flooring and cutting boards to pillows and mattresses. Bamboo is quickly renewable. And it’s not a tree — it’s a grass. Instead of cutting down a 100-year-old tree for your new floor — try a year old grass that will grow again next year. Very eco friendly!
Go Local, Natural or Organic When You Can
Incorporate local, organic and natural products into your home wherever you can. Putting healthy foods into our bodies and using non-toxic cleaners and products in our homes can also help make our homes eco-friendly. By using our consumer vote (our dollars) to purchase products that make an effort to support sustainable growing practices, you not only help make your own home green, but you help others as well.
Go Low or Zero When it Comes to Paint
Use low or zero volatile organic compounds and finishes when you paint or stain. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air is one of the top five hazards to human health. VOC paints and finishes can release toxic compounds into the air for years after they are applied. Using low or no VOC paints or finishes makes your home greener and greatly reduces potential health risks.
Don’t Send Things Down the Drain
Dispose of toxic items properly. Even prescription medications can damage the water supply if you dump them down the drain. Water treatment plants don’t treat for paint, prescription medication or other items that they can’t control. Do the right thing and find out how to properly take care of used motor oil, paint and other items. This isn’t just green for you, it’s green for everyone.
Clean Your Air
Use cleaning products, like those from Amway, that are made with natural ingredients. Many of the cleaning products from a company like Amway are derived from citrus and coconut, so that you can have a clean home and breathe easier too. In addition, air and water purifiers, also available through Amway, help clean your air and water of contaminants that you can’t see — and that might find their way into your home from the outside.
“You don’t necessarily need extra time or money, or the powers of a superhero, to do your part to look after the planet,” says Joanna Yarrow, author of 1,001 Ways to Save the Earth. “Pretty much everything we do has an impact on the natural world. So changes to any of our daily activities represent an opportunity to look after the planet better without adding too much to our ‘to do’ list.”