5 Tips for a Green Home
Energy.gov states that commercial buildings and homes consume about 40 percent of the energy used in the world, and most of this energy comes from fossil fuels. Homes also pollute our environment; trash, automobile fluids, paint, pesticides, animal waste, fertilizers, and other pollutants can find their way into the storm drainage system that flows into our oceans, harbors, and rivers. Making your home green can help minimize pollutants and reduce waste while saving you lots of money on utility bills.
Here are five strategies to help make your home greener.
1. Purchase low or non-VOC materials, and ensure proper disposal of VOC products
Those “fresh paint,” “new mattress,” and “new carpet” smells are not a good thing because these smells are produced by the evaporation of chemicals or off-gassing from the materials. Many household items such as cleaning supplies, carpets, building materials, furniture, and paints contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can irritate your respiratory tract and eyes, and may also impact your central nervous system. The Environmental Protection Agency’s research in human exposure to air pollutants shows that the level of indoor pollutants may be three to five times, sometimes over 100 times higher than the levels of outdoor pollutants. To curtail indoor pollution in your home, choose low or non-VOC products—they are usually labeled as such. Although they cost a little bit more, they are good for your health and the environment.
If you have just done a remodeling recently using VOC materials or moved into a new house, ensure you open the windows and doors and run fans sufficiently to air out the home. And to protect your environment from these toxic chemicals, ensure proper disposal of products containing VOCs. You can receive direction from your county or city’s hazardous waste collection areas.
2. Get a free energy evaluation of your home
Energy audits or evaluations help to determine the ways that you can conserve energy and identify specific costs linked to energy losses. These inspections project the potential savings you can make by implementing the recommended modifications or systems of your housing operations.
3. Opt for online statements and unsubscribe from junk mail lists
Most utility services providers and financial institutions give you an option to receive online statements, and you can opt for these instead of printed ones. You can switch to online statements by logging into the company’s website and changing your preferences. You can also reduce the number of mails you receive by opting out of unsolicited insurance offers, commercial letters, and credit card offers.
Decreasing the number of mails you receive lessens your impact on the environment in several ways. It helps us avoid cutting down trees that are used to manufacture paper. Which means, we will have more trees to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen. It also helps reduce the air pollution produced by the exhaust from vehicles and airplanes when delivering the mail.
4. Switch to CFL or LED lights
About 13 percent of the energy bills in an average home are attributed to lighting. Thus, an easy and affordable way to reduce your environmental footprint and energy consumption is to replace all your light bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) and light emitting diodes (LED) which use 75 percent less energy than the traditional incandescent bulbs. These bulbs also last up to 20 times longer than the standard incandescent bulbs. Remember, incandescent bulbs produce a lot of heat, and this causes your air conditioner to work harder in summer to cool your home.
Recycling is an excellent way to make a positive impact on your environment by reducing air pollution, preventing your landfills from overflowing, and conserving the energy required to create a brand new product. Thus, collect all the recyclable waste materials in your home and hand them over for recycling. You can also purchase recycled products for use in your home to conserve your environment.
Making your home greener helps you save money on utility bills, keeps your environment safe, and protects you and your family from health hazards caused by toxic materials around you. So, make it your priority to conserve your environment by living green.