Going green is becoming more important to everyone. And depending on your plan, you can make changes gradually over time or in just a few minutes.

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Your Home’s “Go Green” Plan

I’ve made changes over the last few years to be more energy-conscious. But I still try to find new ways to go green at home.

Here are a few tips on how you can too: in 15 minutes, over a weekend, or when planning a remodel. Big or small, always remember that everything you do to go green makes a difference!

In 15 minutes…

  • Update lamps and light fixtures with energy saving compact fluorescent light bulbs.
  • In warm months, forgo rugs to keep floors cool; roll them out in cool months for a layer of insulation.
  • When you update your furniture with slipcovers, select organic fabrics.
  • Add UV film to windows to retain heat in the winter and block solar heat in the summer.
  • Install a programmable thermostat. Or, just turn down your thermostat in the winter and turn it up in the summer, and dress accordingly.
  • Unplug chargers and electronics when not in use as they continue to use energy otherwise.
  • Don’t wash your dishes by hand or pre-rinse. ENERGY STAR® qualified dishwashers use less water than hand washing.

In one weekend…

  • Install blinds to control the amount of heat entering and leaving through windows. Bamboo is an excellent choice as it is a natural, sustainable material.
  • Add rain-capturing planters to your deck or porch to conserve water and reduce your water bill.
  • Plant an herb garden on your windowsill. Enjoy a fresh supply of organically grown herbs year round, save money and bring the green indoors.
  • Create an in-home recycling area that inspires your family to recycle more.

With a little more time…

  • If you need new flooring, install lock ‘n seal flooring that doesn’t require harmful glue. Or, select materials that are naturally sustainable, such as cork or bamboo.
  • When remodeling, install countertops made from recycled or renewable resources. Ceramic tile, stainless steel, concrete, wood or butcher block, and other composite and recycled materials are good choices.
  • Add solar panels or a wind turbine to your roof to bring renewable energy into your home. Reduce your bills and our dependency on fuel sources that have an adverse climatic impact.

It’s easy to be green
Small actions go a long way! Turn off the water while brushing your teeth. Use cloth napkins instead of paper ones – this also adds a touch of elegance to your meal. Print on the back of scrap paper. You can even go green when you gift. I love to wrap presents in old newspapers tied with beautiful ribbon recycled from a gift or gift basket I’ve received.

My favorite “green” design products:

  • Energy Star® qualified appliances
  • Low- or no-VOC paints, finishes and adhesives
  • Natural cleaning products and simple combinations (like newspaper and vinegar for window cleaning)
  • Surfaces and finishes made from reclaimed materials such as wood, glass and metal
  • Organic, 100% nontoxic fireplace gel fuel for ventless gel fireplaces
  • Cork and bamboo flooring
  • Natural fiber textiles and fabrics
  • Outdoor solar lighting

Have you found a quick way to go green?

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