Going GREEN isn’t only for the environmentally friendly; it’s also a great way to save money on energy costs and keep your home and family happy and healthy. Some of the most popular methods for going green include recycling and using less-harsh cleaning materials, but here are some more tips for making your home more green.
- Replace your old appliances with energy-efficient ones. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, replacing your old refrigerator with an “Energy Star” rated refrigerator can save you up to $150 a year. The EPA recommends that you replace any appliance that is over 10 years old with an Energy Star (more energy-efficient) appliance, which uses roughly 10-15% less energy than older models.
- Be more efficient when heating and cooling your home. Heating and cooling accounts for nearly 50% of your home’s energy consumption. You can take a few simple steps to reduce your energy consumption and thus, reduce your energy bill. Start by keeping your thermostat set higher in the summer and lower in the winter; clean your furnace’s air filter regularly (or consider replacing it if it’s older); utilize ceiling fans and shade eastern and western facing windows to help keep your home cooler during warm months.
- Practice water conservation. Low-flow toilets use less than half as much water as models designed before 1994 per flush-which will really help conserve water in your home. You may also want to consider putting an aerator on faucets in your home, which will reduce water consumption by 50% each year. You can also change some of your personal behaviors, such as turning the faucet off when brushing your teeth, to help save water.
- Start using energy-efficient light bulbs. Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs) can be found at your local grocery store, and each bulb will save you, on average, $30 in energy costs (switching from a 100-watt incandescent bulb to a 32-watt CFL). Additionally, CFLs last up to 10 times longer than standard incandescent bulbs.
- Install bamboo flooring. Bamboo is considered to be an environmentally friendly flooring material, since it takes only 4-6 years to mature, while typical hardwoods take 50-100 years to mature, and falls under the category of “hardwood” flooring. This means you can have the sleek look you want, while keeping your home green.
- Use zero- or low-VOC paint. Paints high in volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are very harmful for the environment and your home. VOCs cause smog, pollute the ozone, and reduce indoor air quality in your home, which can then cause health problems, warns the EPA.
- Use compost and native plants in your garden. Compost provides your garden with the nutrients it needs without adding the chemicals that synthetic fertilizers contain. Compost is also more likely to produce healthy plants, which can eliminate pest problems. You can also opt to use native plants, which require less water than non-native plants, plant perennials that will live more than one year, and use organic pesticides, versus chemical pesticides, which are dangerous to plants, animals, and humans.
For more tips on making your home more green, check out this article from MSN.