Green Homes

Green homes start with small steps to save energy, water & keep the air inside your home cleanEveryone is talking about going green so we thought we’d give you a list of green home ideas. We believe that green is important today, to protect the planet our children will inherit. That’s because more and more people (6.5 billion in 2005 and more than 9 billion projected for 2050), need to share the earth’s resources.

Today we have rising energy prices. Pretty soon, parts of the US will realize that water shortages also demand better conservation … so let’s begin the journey together, one small step at a time.

What Going Green Means?

Going green means making smarter choices about … what we need (cloth vs paper napkins), what we buy (locally grown vs imported flooring), how we use things (for many years vs sending to the landfill in less than 6 months) and equally important, when we’re done with something how we reuse or recycle as much as possible.

Green homes include a focus on energy efficiency, less water waste, healthier indoor air and buying products that are good for you and your family, like natural cleaning products which don’t release chemicals into the air. We hope to grow this list, so send us your ideas and we’ll add them here.

Reduce Your Home’s Energy Consumption

  • Install and use a programmable thermostat(s) to save on heating and cooling costs.
  • Replace worn out weatherstripping around doors (especially thresholds) and windows.
  • Seal the joints on heating and cooling ducts that run through the attic and basement.
  • Switch to CFL bulbs which use 75% less energy and last about 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
  • Use solar landscape lighting for the driveway and walkways.
  • Shade your windows with trees, awnings or add a window tint.
  • Wrap your hot water heater with an insulating blanket.
  • Install light sensors to turn lights off when they’re not needed, i.e. in the basement, laundry room and overhead lights on your garage.
  • Change furnace filters every month.
  • Clean air conditioner coils and fins when grass and dirt start to collect on them.
  • Insulate hot water pipes in areas you don’t need to heat.
  • Get annual tune-ups for your furnace and air conditioner.
  • Buy gas stove with an electronic ignition rather than gas pilot light.
  • When updating recessed lights, use air tight models to reduce air flow.
  • Install reflective screens behind radiators.
  • Lower your winter temperature by 1 or 2 degrees, and even lower at night. Raise settings in the summer.
  • Close the fireplace damper when not being used.
  • Close off unused rooms and lower temperature.
  • Skip the dishwasher drying cycle.
  • Wash clothes in cool or cold water.
  • Clean clothes washer and dryer filters after every use, and the dryer vent several times a year.
  • Clean refrigerator coils annually.
  • Flush your garbage disposal with cold water.
  • Reduce humidity in the bathroom with an exhaust fan.
  • Buy high efficiency appliances, using Energy Star labels for your research.
  • Lower your hot water heater to 120 degrees.

Use Less Water at Home

  • Replace high volume shower heads with low flow heads, saving 2 to 3 gallons a minute.
  • Install aerators in faucets too.
  • Install low or dual flush toilets that can save more than 3 gallons per flush.
  • Only run the dishwasher and washing machine when full.
  • Fix plumbing leaks quickly as a dripping faucet can waste more than 200 gallons a month.
  • Water lawn early in the morning.
  • Take shorter showers and turn water off when brushing teeth.
  • Minimize use of garbage disposal. Build a compost bin instead.
  • Plant drought resistant shrubs and plants.
  • Put mulch around trees and shrubs.
  • Don’t run the hose while washing the car.
  • Use a broom, not a hose, to clean sidewalks and driveways.
  • Adjust sprinklers so only the lawn, not the house, gets watered.
  • Install covers on pools and spas.

Keeping Your Indoor Air Healthier

  • Avoid products that give off Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) – paints, flooring, wall treatments, furnishings, etc.
  • Use green plants to filter out common VOCs. Get a list of 15 plants at LivingGreen.com.
  • Using a vacuum cleaner with suction, rotating brushes and a HEPA filter.
  • Put a large floor mat at every exterior door.
  • Don’t allow smoking in your home.
  • Use fragrance-free or naturally-scented laundry products.
  • Stop using aerosol sprays — deodorants, hair sprays, carpet cleaners, air fresheners, etc.
  • Keep rooms ventilated with a filtered air- conditioning system.
  • Use sliced lemons and baking soda for a clean scent in the kitchen.
  • Test for radon.
  • Keeping humidity around 30%-50% to control dust mites, mold and other allergens.
  • Clean air ducts and change filters frequently. Learn more from Gina Chapman, owner of Mr Handyman in Richmond VA.

Buy Less and Recycle More!