Tips for greening up your own home as well as information on builders of green homes.
No matter which room(s) of your house you're trying to green up, make sure to use green cleaning products throughout. Environmentally friendly cleaning products prevent chemicals from entering our water channels or contaminating your home.
The average washer uses 41 gallons of water per year and is the second biggest water-user in your home. If you are in need of an upgrade, consider a low water using, energy efficient model. If everyone in the US installed water efficient appliances,these energy efficient homes could save 3 Trillion gallons of water each year. (Source: EPA)
Wash clothes in cold water when possible. This cuts down on the energy used for your water heater.
Water flushed from your washer may contain harmful chemicals. Consider green cleaning products for laundry.
Air dry clothes. This may mean two sets of clotheslines - one for indoor and one outdoor. If you're looking for a reliable outdoor clothesline with a ten year warranty, consider a Breezecatcher line.
As if you needed an excuse ... an Energy Star rated dishwasher saves resources over hand washing! Modern dishwashers are designed so no pre-rinse is needed. You'll save more than 5,000 gallons of water each year!
Don't forget to opt for green cleaning for your kitchen. You don't want to have chemicals on surfaces which food contact, nor should chemicals be on your dishes.
In most households, the refrigerator is the single biggest energy consuming kitchen appliance. Replacing a refrigerator bought in 1990 with a new Energy Star qualified model would save enough energy to light the average household for nearly four months (Source: EPA).
Toilets account for the largest percentage of water used in homes. Consider a WaterSense labeled dual-flush toilet or a composting toilet.
Right behind toilets, for water consumption, are showers. Consider replacing your showerhead with an environmentally friendly model that uses 2.5 gallons per minute or less.
Remodeling? Consider a unit which stores used sink water for toilet flushing. Now that's green!
Replace your incandescent bulbs with bulbs that have earned the Energy Star. Not all CFLs produce that obnoxious traditional fluorescent light - there are soft white options available, as well.
Consider putting green technology to work for you. Choose to integrate solar power or wind power into your HVAC needs.
I often forget to turn the heat down before I head to bed. Since installing a programmable thermostat, I don't have to remember! There are even models that connect to your smart phone, allowing you to turn the heat up or down when you're on the go.
If possible, replace old single-paned windows with Energy Star rated double-pane models. If this is cost prohibitive, seal the elements out with new caulking or weatherstripping around existing windows.
Evaluate your insulation. This is what keeps the heat in and the cold out in the winter, and vice-versa in the summer. If your home, like ours, was built without exterior wall insulation, consider blown-in insulation. By inserting a hose into a small hole, existing walls can be brought up to the proper R factor.
Choose Energy Star rated appliances and electronics. Turn off and/or unplug items not in use. Consider using one power strip which can unplug multiple items at once.Unplugged homes are energy efficient homes!
Don't forget to unplug those chargers! Phone, tablet and laptop chargers use just as much energy whether attached or not!
I love Earthships: They are creative and quite beautiful self-sufficient, energy efficient homes built with used tires and other creatively re-purposed materials. The ultimate in sustainable building!
For a gallery of breathtaking design, visit Green Home Design Architect. I'm a bit of a stalker of this site, filled with beautiful interior and exterior pictures of sustainable building, as well as eloquent information.
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