Green Wednesday: Eco-friendly Tips and Tricks

From on April 16, 2008 in Green Remodeling

If the modern home improvement industry had to pick a favorite color, it would definitely be green. In recent years every aspect of home improvement, from new construction to interior decorating, has been reevaluated in terms of energy efficiency and environmental sustainability and markets and brains worldwide have been flooded with eco-friendly ideas and solutions. The home of the future may come eco-friendly by default but for now here are some tips on how to make your present home fabulously green. There are two rooms in your house that are the easiest to turn eco-friendly; the kitchen and the bathroom. These two rooms are the biggest energy consumers in your house on a daily basis. Some ideas for our two favorite rooms: Bathroom

  • Install low-flow shower heads and toilets. These simple upgrades save several gallons of water per day, which you’ll appreciate on your utility bill.
  • Use organic or all natural linens. Organic cotton towels and cloths are made without pesticides and are naturally dyed. Try a hemp or cotton duck shower curtain.
  • Remodeling your bathroom? Try to use recycled building products and fixtures. You can find recycled tile for floors, showers, baths, and countertops. There are plenty of colors and styles.

Kitchen

  • Energy Star certified appliances such as refrigerators, ovens, you name it. These appliances meet, and often surpass (you can compare brands to find the most efficient), strict government efficiency standards and are a huge eco-friendly addition to your home (this also goes for the washer and dryer).
  • Again, remodel with recycled building materials if possible. You may be able to find slightly used cabinets at a building salvage shop. Try recycled back-splashes and countertops.
  • Eat well. Eat sustainably. This may not seem very important as a home improvement tip but you’re the most important piece of your home and the effects are more far reaching than you’d think. Food you’ve grown yourself is always best. Otherwise, try to buy locally grown produce. This cuts down on fossil fuels used to transport food from some distant farm or factory to your plate.


Here are some general tips for your new eco-friendly home:

Home

  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact florescent bulbs. This is the easiest step of them all and saves a remarkable amount of energy. Compact florescent lights use 70% less energy and last ten times longer!
  • Install solar panels. Solar power is an excellent and ever more accessible residential energy resource. Just about every state and the federal government have tax incentives for going solar. Solar power provides a wide array of home energy options including solar water heaters, radiant heating and more.
  • Install energy efficient windows and doors. That Energy Star rating includes windows and doors, historically the weakest spots in the home for efficiency. If you’re remodeling, ask your contractor or supplier about window glazing.


These tips – some large, some small – just scratch the surface of the opportunities available for transforming your house into an eco-friendly home. An easy way to approach the idea is to simply expand those three R’s of sustainability (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) from newspapers and tin cans to everything, starting with your home.