What Is Green?
Let’s define it: a green home is environmentally friendly through its materials, appliances and everyday products. Eco-friendly living starts with small steps that reduce your carbon footprint while keeping your home a beautiful place to live and grow.
In the kitchen and laundry room
Choose sustainable cabinetry and countertops. There are many green cabinet options on the market today. These are made from rapidly renewable resources and salvaged materials such as wheat board, bamboo and synthetic resin. Available in a variety of finishes, these eco-friendly materials help homeowners effortlessly achieve an eco-friendly designer style.
Kitchen and laundry appliances are typically the highest home energy consumers. Select ENERGY STAR® rated appliances in these rooms to save on utility bills. Eco-friendly appliances have come a long way, and are now aesthetically pleasing and packed with features.
Use natural fibers such as wool, buckwheat or organic cotton as fillers in pillows, furniture and even dog beds. They last longer than foam filling, which can break down and isn’t reusable. These same natural fibers can be used for bedding and throws, and come in many colors and patterns.
Lighten up and cool down
Replace traditional light bulbs with new fluorescent versions that use less energy and save on electricity bills. Install dimmers to conserve energy and to easily and quickly alter the mood of a room. Put ceiling fans to work. In the summer, use the forward setting to push air down and cool the room. In the winter, use the reverse setting to circulate warm air and heat the room.
Make an entrance
Make seals on entry doors and windows secure, and check them often. An air-locked window will help keep the home warm in the winter and cool in the summer, saving you money on energy bills.
Salvage beautifully designed glass tile to reuse for backsplashes and other bathroom surfaces. This great do-it-yourself project will truly make your home unique. Install 1.6-¬¬ to 1.8-gallon toilets, low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators to significantly reduce water consumption and water heating costs. You’ll be updating your bathroom at the same time.
Bamboo is a great alternative to wood floors: It’s durable, sustainable and comfortable underfoot. Or, undertake a do-it-yourself project and install lock ‘n seal wood floors or interlocking carpet squares. These systems are installed without environmentally harmful adhesives; plus, it’s easy to change when you’re ready for something new.
Recycle, reuse and repurpose
Recycle and reuse as much as you can. When shopping, look for products made from recycled materials and those that use minimal and recyclable packaging. Finding treasures at thrift and antique stores helps us repurpose what other people have given up, extending the life of a product. You’ll also find unique décor items.
Quick green tips
- Open your refrigerator door as little–and for as little time–as possible. When cool air escapes, your fridge works harder (and uses more energy) to maintain temperatures.
- During winter, heat rooms naturally by opening shades and letting in light. On hot days, keep curtains drawn to minimize the energy needed to cool your house.
- In cool weather, keep cold air out in style with draft stoppers placed in front of doors that lead outside. This low-tech yet effective solution is available in many styles and colors. Or, make your own by rolling durable fabric around sock bundles and tying the ends with matching ribbon.
Think about how you can reuse or refurbish products before you throw them away or buy something new. Have you gone green lately?