Why Should You Green Your Home?
Why exactly should you have an eco-friendly home? What can we possibly stand to gain by creating an eco-friendly environment? Well for starters, it will ensure that both you and your family are safe and out of the way of the threat of environmental toxins, which more times than not can go virtually undetected by us.
[Before you read on - if you missed Part One of the Greener Pastures series, catch up and come back to Part Two!]
There are 3 main benefits of having an eco-friendly home. The first and arguably most important advantage is your health. When you build an eco-friendly home, and you do it right, you begin reaping the benefits almost immediately. Building a home with green materials means there is far less toxic waste escaping into the air. The sealants, resins, and paints used are all eco-friendly as well, so there are no awful fumes to breathe in either.
Another great benefit of an eco-friendly home is the amount of money you save. The materials and appliances used in an eco-friendly home last a lot longer, and are quite a bit sturdier, than standard materials appliances. Some may cost more initially, but they result directly in lower utility bills by using less energy than ordinary appliances.
Finally, by eliminating the use of fossil fuels, which are one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gases, you can take your part in helping to preserve the environment. In place of these fossil fuels, you would be using renewable energy, as well as clean energy resources.
How to do it!
- Fluorescent bulbs. Fluorescent bulbs save up a lot of energy, so among the minor changes in your kitchen, the lighting should be one of them. Traditional incandescent bulbs eat up a lot of electricity, and really don’t last that long. It also might be a good idea to change around all of your lighting in your eco-friendly home!
- Use the right pan. A very simple solution to saving energy is using the right pan for the right job. Smaller meals should be prepared in a smaller pan, while larger meals…well you get the picture. Also, make sure to use the appropriate size burner, as you can waste 40% of the heat produced by using a pan that’s too small on a large burner.
- Buy locally. I can never stress this enough. Buy locally! What do you think burns more fuel? An 18-wheeler travelling 1500 miles or an old Ford pickup driving 15 miles? The other downside to buying imported meat and produce is that large companies have a bad habit of using lots of papers and plastics to keep food fresh. This is a no-no, as we all know how harmful papers and plastics can be on the environment.
- Use recyclable razors. Years ago, recyclable razors were generally pretty scratchy and irritating. Today, some recyclable razors are comparable to the high end ones. They may not be as pretty, but they do the job, and do it right. Refillable blade razors are a great option as well!
- Natural fabric shower curtains. PVC has many, many harmful chemicals lying within it (as you can undoubtedly smell). Well it’s time to switch to natural fabric shower curtains. Hemp, nylon, and canvas are among the frontrunners for shower curtains, as they are highly durable, eco-friendly, and even machine washable. You won’t even have any problems finding the right color to match your eco-friendly home.
- Change over to organic towels. Bamboo and organic towels have so many more benefits than those old, traditional towels. They are insanely soft, don’t have any harsh dyes, come from pesticide and insecticide free plants, and dry rather quickly. Did I mention they’re insanely soft?
- Energy saving appliances. This is where you should really begin. Change out your old appliances for ones that will not only save energy, but conserve on water as well. There’s no shame in it, and you might even be able to increase your laundry output while still saving energy and water. Oh the benefits of an eco-friendly home!
- Hang laundry outdoors. During the fall and winter months, this isn’t really possible. But when spring rolls around, ditch the dryer and hang them outside! There’s nothing better than the scent of spring or summer on your newly dried clothes.
- Octopus Hangers. These were very popular years ago, but became obsolete when everyone just started using the dryer for everything. These hangers are perfect for light-weight clothes, as well as delicates, not to mention they look like a lot of fun (for those of us who are easily amused).
- Change up your fireplace fuel. Recently, I discovered a new type of wood for my fireplace. Well actually, it’s not wood, but recycled coffee grounds. It might sound weird, but these things burn for up to 3 hours!
- Insulation. As with the rest of your eco-friendly home, you should try your hardest to redo your insulation with a fairly new type of insulation, made up of recycled newspaper and treated with a natural fire-retardant, so you can rest easy.
- Furniture. Well this one might get a bit pricy, but it will truly benefit your cause, and look great in your new eco-friendly home. Eco-friendly furniture is made with natural glues, renewable woods, latex foam, organic fabrics, and wool batting. The best part is that if the whole “modern” look doesn’t suit your tastes, traditional looking eco-friendly furniture is on the rise.
Stay tuned for Greener Pastures: A Guide to Creating an Eco-Friendly Life (Part 3) to learn how to positively upgrade your home to accommodate your new eco-friendly living style!
If you missed Part 1 of the series, catch up and read it here: