A green home is a happy, healthy, eco-friendly home. And there are many ways that every homeowner can make their home more eco-friendly. Let’s take a look at practical tips for making each area of the home just a little greener this year.
1. Choose Native Plants and Xeriscaping
Re-naturalizing a lawn can create a beautiful and natural landscape, but can also reduce the need for watering. Choose climate-appropriate native plants to take advantage of the natural environment. Try to choose plants that require little maintenance and are drought-tolerant. Where possible, reduce grassy areas and consider xeriscaping or putting in grass that can resist periods of drought.
2. Be Water Wise
Increase the green factor of your landscaping by watering manually and only during dawn or dusk hours to increase water efficiency.
3. Use Organic Pest Control Methods
Reduce your need for chemical fertilizers that can pollute streams and oceans. Try using organic pesticides or natural methods of pest prevention in the garden.
4. Choose Efficient Lighting and ENERGY STAR® Appliances
Save energy on outdoor and indoor lighting by using energy-saving bulbs, motion sensors, or solar-powered lights. Choosing ENERGY STAR® labeled products is the best way to conserve energy on indoor appliances and electronics, from your refrigerator to your television and stereo.
5. Choose Reused/Repurposed/Reclaimed Furnishings
Opt for greener furnishings by purchasing furniture made out of reclaimed materials.
6. Choose Low-VOC Furnishings, Paints, and Other Home Goods
Look for items that improve indoor air quality by limiting volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Check the labels on upholstery, paints, adhesives, solvents, mattresses, or anything you bring into your home. You can find a database of products listed in the EPA’s Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) program to help you buy green.
7. Upgrade Your Heating and Cooling System
Heating and cooling tend to be the largest energy guzzlers in homes today. Fortunately, there are many ways you can increase the efficiency of these home systems, like:
- Programming thermostats
- Resealing air ducts
- Improving insulation
If your heating and cooling system is fairly old, replacing the system entirely with ENERGY STAR® products can increase efficiency by up to 30 percent, saving you bundles on your monthly bill.
8. Seal Cracks Around Windows and Doors
Weather-stripping is another way to increase energy efficiency and also reduce your monthly bill. Much of your monthly energy dollars may be literally slipping away under door cracks and through window seals. Take some time to check the home and re-caulk windows and doors, seal leaky areas, install storm doors and windows, and add weather-stripping where appropriate.
9. Reclaim Your Power
Electricity is another area where one can build a greener home. Buy green power and use solar panels to reduce pollutants and lower your carbon footprint. Solar and wind energy systems have come a long way and can help you go green and also save significantly on your monthly energy bill.
There are a great many ways to go green in the home. From the simple act of turning off a light when you’re not using it to harnessing the power of the sun, opportunities to go green abound. And while “going green” might sound like an overwhelming task, just remember that the only important thing is taking small steps when you can. Good luck!