10 Tips to Make Your Home More Green
Going green doesn’t only benefit the environment – your family and your wallet benefit as well!
You don’t have to go out of your way much to make a big difference and go green. You don’t have to convert to solar energy or grow all of your own food – MSN offers some great, easy tips on going green and making a big difference! We all know that recycling, using greener cleaning materials, and consuming less add up to a greener world, but here are 10 more tips on going green.
1. Get some green appliances. Older appliances, such as that fridge in your garage, can end up costing you over $150 a year in excess energy bills, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA suggests that if any of your appliances is more than 10 years old, you should replace them with energy-efficient models that bear their "Energy Star" logo. Energy Star-qualified appliances use 10%-50% less energy and water than standard models. If only 1 in 10 homes used energy-efficient appliances, it would be equivalent to planting 1.7 million new acres of trees – that’s a lot of green!
2. Keep an eye on the temperature in your home. Almost half a home's energy consumption is due to heating and cooling. Try turning down the thermostat when the weather is colder and turning it up when it’s warmer out – you’ll feel this small change in your wallet. To make this even easier, consider investing in a programmable thermostat that automatically makes these changes for you. Also make sure to clean the air filter in your furnace regularly, and, if the furnace is more than 10 years old, consider buying a newer one with the Energy Star label, which will be about 25% more efficient than older models.
3. Save water. There are tons of water-saving tips out there, but here are a few of the most popular ones, according to MSN. You can cut your annual water consumption by an incredible 50% by simply putting an aerator on all of your household faucets. If you’re in the market for a new toilet, opt for a low-flow toilet, which uses less than half the gallons of water a pre-1994 model does. Another easy way to save water is to turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth, which saves roughly 4.5 gallons of water each time you brush.
4. Go green while you clean. Many popular household cleaners are potentially toxic to both you and the environment; instead, try out some of the newer eco-friendly ingredient cleaners. The eco-friendly cleaners substitute more natural (but still effective) ingredients for some of the more harmful ones. If you’re feeling confident, try making your own cleaning products using simple ingredients such as plain soap, water, baking soda, vinegar, washing soda, lemon juice and borax and save money at the same time.
5. Be energy efficient in your light use. Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs) use 66% less energy than a standard incandescent bulb and last up to 10 times longer. Simply replacing a 100-watt incandescent bulb with a 32-watt CFL can save up to $30 in energy costs over the life of the bulb…consider how many bulbs you have in your house – this one will add up quickly!
6. Use less paper. There is now the option to buy "tree-free" paper (100% post-consumer recycled paper) for everything from greeting cards to toilet paper. Also, removing yourself from junk mail lists will stop, on average, 560 pieces of mail from going to your home. That’s 560+ pieces of paper saved and a lot of trash bags. To stem the flow into your own home, contact the Direct Marketing Association's Mail Preference Service at P.O. Box 643, Carmel, NY 10512, or download the online form. You can opt out of credit card or insurance offers at OptOutPrescreen.com or by calling 888-567-8688. Finally, instead of bringing 50 paper or plastic grocery bags home with you a week, take your own cloth bags. This will help you go green and making loading and unloading groceries much easier.
7. Choose bamboo for your hardwood flooring needs. Bamboo is a much more environmentally friendly flooring material than regular hardwoods due to its high yield and the relatively fast rate at which it replenishes itself. While it takes 50-100 years for typical hardwoods to mature, it takes just four to six years for bamboo to mature.
8. Reduce plastic use. MSN estimates that each year Americans throw away some 100 billion polyethylene plastic bags — from grocery and trash bags to ultra-convenient sandwich bags. The plastic in these bags are made from petroleum, which contributes to global warming when it is processed and burned. Also, sending these plastics to the landfill increases greenhouse gases. By simply reducing, re-using, and recycling your plastics, you can help combat global warming.
9. Use healthier paint when it’s time to update. Conventional paints contain solvents, toxic metals, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can cause smog, ozone pollution, and indoor air quality problems that create negative health effects, according to the EPA. When you use these paints in your home, these unhealthy ingredients are released into the air where they can cause detrimental effects to the environment and the health of your family. A healthier and greener option is zero- or low-VOC paint, made by most major paint manufacturers today.
10. Go green in the garden. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use compost instead of synthetic fertilizers. Compost provides a full complement of soil organisms and the balance of nutrients needed to maintain the soil’s well being, without the chemicals of synthetic fertilizers, and produces healthier plants with less pest problems. Also, opt for native plants, which require less water and attention. Buy perennials, not annuals; perennials live for more than one year, which means you don’t have to buy new plants every year. Finally, the EPA estimates that American households use 80 million pounds of pesticides each year, releasing toxic chemicals into the environment and threatening animals and people, particularly young children. Using an organic pest control method reduces threats to the environment and your family.
Going green doesn’t have to be hard and, oftentimes, it benefits you and your family as well as the environment. For more tips on how to go green, check out the original article from MSN.
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