Home Design: 5 Unexpected Ways to Go Green
You’ve probably already been advised to make the typical green improvements — LED lighting, solar panels, double-paned windows, weather-stripping–or have invested in a few energy-efficient options. But your budget only extends so far and you can only do so much without refinancing your mortgage.
However, there are a wide variety of more affordable green options many homeowners don’t know about. So consider some of these sustainable options for your home that help the environment without breaking the bank.
1. Repair, Don’t Replace
Instead of replacing items in your house with the latest and greatest, try repairing or updating them instead. While it may seem smart to invest in new technologies, it also means throwing away old appliances, TVs, and furniture in landfills, which hurts the environment. By repairing or upgrading your old items, you cut down on what goes into landfills while still keeping accessories relevant to your home design.
Homeowners can call on professionals to help them upgrade their accessories, such as cabinetry contractors who charge to refinish or reface, along with upholstery professionals who can give old furniture a brand-new look.
2. Use Recycled Wood Products
Whenever we use anything made of wood or paper, there’s a chance a new tree was cut down to create it. However, homeowners can check to see if recycled paper products or wood went into furniture or paper product production. Homeowners should check for labels that show if any wood products — especially furniture — were made from recycled timber. It would be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, which helps to protect forests and cut down global warming. There are some paper goods that are also certified by the Council, such as tissues and toilet paper, that homeowners can purchase and use.
3. Clean With Non-Toxic Products
Many household cleaning products, such as bleach, contain indoor air pollutants that hurt the environment, and in large doses, can hurt you as well. When you decide to purchase cleaning products for your home, you should do some research for cleaning products that are natural and organic and contain fewer pollutants. You can also make your own cleaning products if you find the right recipes, but you may be better off asking a cleaning professional just in case.
Composting is a good way to put nutrients back into the soil and cut down on the waste that goes into landfills. You should check with your community to see if there’s already a program in place. You can also build your own compost bin in the backyard or indoors and then put it into your garden like you would mulch. There are plenty of ways to build a compost bin and not have it stink up the house or the backyard, so don’t be deterred from this recycling option.
5. Conserve Water
While you’ve probably heard about low-flow shower heads, faucets, and dual-flush toilets before, homeowners should also consider ways to keep water use down at home on an everyday basis. Shower more instead of taking baths, turn the water off while brushing teeth, and only water the lawn when needed — you should do as much as you can to cut down on water use in your home and yard. By doing so, you help save water in your community and the environment. The EPA has many recommendations that include upgrades to the home along with personal daily practices to help conserve water.