It’s great that you’re interested in creating a more eco-friendly home for you and your family. Traditionally, our homes have been made with inefficient, sometimes toxic materials that threaten both the health of your family and the future of our environment. Thankfully, each day more discoveries are made that put us in tune with nature and our health. In this article we’re going to tell you five easy ways anyone can make their home more environmentally friendly, provide a healthier living space for their family and even save money along the way.
The first step to determining problem areas in your home is to perform an energy audit. You can perform one yourself if you have 12-months of utility bills using this Energy Star tool, but if it’s possible you should hire a professional energy auditor to come to your home and perform a thorough inspection of your energy efficiency.
Energy auditors can often be requested for free or a low fee by your utility provider.
Now, how to 5 simple renovations for a new green home:
1. Low or No VOC Paints
VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compounds, which should be your first clue. Low-VOC paints do not emit the toxic solvents that can cause serious health risks even after the paint has dried.
The quality and price of low or no-VOC paints has become comparable and even better than the alternatives, so if your home needs a new paint job, look for these options.
2. Environmentally Responsible Flooring
You don’t have to sacrifice looks to have green flooring. Hardwood flooring comes at a great environmental cost, and some carpets are made with toxic materials that slowly leech into your breathing air over the years. The alternatives are great looking and affordable:
- Bamboo – Bamboo grows quickly in the wild and looks great. It’s very simple to install and competitively priced.
- Cork – Cork is also sustainable, cheap, and incredibly durable. It lasts up to 30 years, twice as long as the best-maintained carpet.
- Recycled Glass – This material is ideal for bathroom and kitchen floors and even countertops.
When you replace flooring, look for a home remodeling company who is knowledgeable about green alternatives.
3. Energy Star Appliances
The benefits of Energy Star appliances go beyond their ability to preserve the environment; they are often higher quality, healthier machines which save you money.
Examples of items and appliances which can be Energy Star Certified:
• Washers and Dryers
• AC Units
Spending a bit more on energy-efficient appliances and electronics now will save you money in the long run with their improved durability and decreased energy consumption.
4. Energy-Efficient Windows
What makes an energy-efficient window? Two parts: what it’s made from and how much energy it releases (wastes). When replacing or remodeling windows, try to keep a green balance between these parts.
Glazing is an option to get the most out of your new windows without adding more panes. By adding safe chemicals like argon and krypton into the glass, you can greatly increase the window’s ability to insulate and resist damaging sunrays. The cost may seem high to glaze your windows, but it’s worth it to keep single or two-pane windows slim and effective.
5. Water-Saving Faucets and Shower Heads
This one is a now brainer. Much like green-alternative paint, water-efficient faucets suffer from their initial release as incomparable solutions. Things have changed, however, and there are an array of facets, hoses and shower heads designed to save water, control water temperature and still provide you with the pressure and consistency you need.
Shower heads are the cheapest place to start, and by far the easiest to install. Small changes like these can make a big difference to the environment.
Don’t Stop Now
Let this be the beginning of your eco-friendly home renovation. Each step you take to reduce emissions and waste in your home contributes to a happier and healthier environment for everyone.