Thursday, April 9, 2009

25 Ways to Create a Greener Home


I mentioned a little while ago how I started reading the book, Easy Green Living by Renee' Loux. It's been really great and would highly recommend it to you. She says that going green is a process, not something that happens over night. Start small, and slow make changes. My favorite quote so far is:
"Being green isn't a privilege or a luury, it's a responsibility we all need to accept, because a healthy, safe environment is a backbone of everything we rely on to live, thrive and survive."
Wow! So here are 25 Ways to Create a Greener Home:

1. Clean Kindly.
Use biodegradable soaps, and cleaners that contain plant-based solvents. Avoid chlorine and ammonia, and products that don't disclose the ingredients on the label.

2. Be wise with laundry. -Check
Only run a full load, and rinse in cold water. Avoid the dryer and line dry.

3. Choose natural personal care products and cosmetics.
Look for products that don't have petroleum-based chemicals and synthetic ingredients.

4. Go for recycled, naturally bleached paper produces.
If you are using paper towels, napkins, toilet paper, feminine products etc. Even better is to use cloth, where you can wash and reuse!

5. Use unbleached coffee filters for a dioxin-free cup o' joe.
Ick! I'm not a coffee drinker, but some how drink chemicals just sounds gross.

6. Install a water filter. Check!
I did a post on this awhile back. You'll have clean, safe water without all the waste and cost of plastic bottles.

7. Get a low-flow toilet, or make your existing toilet low flow.
Doing so may reduce your water usage from 7 gallons/flush down to a measly 1.5! For a really cheap solution fill up a plastic bottle and stick in in the back of your toilet tank.

8. Fix leaky faucets and toilets.
Normally it's cheap and easy to fix, so stop throwing money (water) down the drain an get it fixed.

9. Kick off your shoes. Check!
Not only is it polite to check your shoes at the door, but you'll also leave unwanted nastiness, and I'm not just talking about dirt. Shoes can track pesticides, fertilizers, and other toxic substances into your home.

10. Bring in houseplants!
Houseplants literally grow fresh air by producing clean, fresh oxygen and absorbing carbon dioxide and chemicals. Since indoor air is more polluted than outside, it is recommended 2 small (or 1 medium) plant for every 100 sq ft.

11. Plant a tree every year.
The houseplant reason, just on a much bigger scale.

12. Opt out of getting junk mail.
The average person receives 41 pounds of junk mail a year! Stop credit card offers by going to www.optoutprescreen.com. When you sign up for some make sure you request NOT to be put onto a mail list.

13. Go veggie 1 day a week.
Not only is it good for the environment and your health, but it's great on your wallet. After being a vegetartian for 9 years I have no problem with this. For those who are skeptics and meatlovers get this: "Eating 2-4 pounds less meat a YEAR will save as much water as not showering every day for a year!" (Based off a 5 minute shower)

14. Energy-efficient light bulbs save energy, money, and emissions. Check!
This is another one I've mentioned before. CFL produce just as much light, if not more, but only use a fraction of the energy.

15. Turn the thermostat down 2* F. Check!
2 degrees is so slight you won't even notice it! Even so, consider a programmable thermostate to lower the heat while you are away and sleeping. Every little bit helps.

16. Set your water heater at 120*F.
Most heaters are default set at 140*, I like my showers hot, but I think that's a little too much even for me!

17. Smarten your fridge and freezer. Turn their thermostats up and make sure the seals are snug.
Don't put yourself at a health risk, but if you have it cranked as cold as it can go and your food is freezing in the fridge (don't laugh, we froze eggs one time in college because our fridge was so cold!), chances are you can turn it up a notch. Too make sure the seals are snug see if it can hold dollar bill in place. If not, you are probabley using more energy than needed.

18. Use power strips and unplug appliances.
I know some people who have a 'charging station'. They have a power strip where they plug in laptops, cell phones, Ipods etc. Instead off unplugging them all the time to avoid their phatom power drawls, they can just flip the power switch on the power strip.

19. Choose green residential energy service options.
It may cost a little more, but most power companies offer renewable energy options either by wind, solar, biomass or geothermal sources. They produce much cleaner energy and has much less of an impact on our environment.

20. Buy local.
This is all around a great chose because it is typically cheaper, fresher, taste better, and saves energy because it doesn't have to be transported far. It also helps to support local farmers.

21. Go organic!
Straight from the book "Buying and eating organically grown food is one of the single most powerful green choices, period." I'll post the 10 food that should be bought organic and the 10 that you can get away with not.

22. Take a cloth bag or basket to the store. Check!
If every American (sorry Canadian readers, but just think how much bigger the impact) used just one less grocery bag, it would prevent 187.5 million pounds of waste. Most stores sell them at the checkout for $1. No matter how tight your budget you can find a way to purchase one or two. If not, reuse the bags the store gave you last week. Some stores even reimburse you a few cents for each bag you use, and the bag will pay for it's self.

23. Inflate your car's tires to their proper pressure to save gas and money.
Drive smart and you can help reduce emissions and replacing parts that will end up in the landfill.

24. Get a travel mug! Check!
Not only does it add waste, but most cups bleached with chlorine and lined with a thin film of plastic to prevent leakage.

25. Recycle your cell phone.
There are tons of organizations that recycle them: recyclewirelessphones.com, eco-cell.org, grcrecycling.com, recycleforbreastcancer.org. I've also seen local phone stores and places that have collect bins. Cell's contain toxic heavy metals that shouldn't be sent to landfills, so help them find a new use.

I was shocked as I was reading this at how much we already do, or are aiming to do. It makes me feel a little bit better on how I'm impacting our environment and that I am greener than I think. :-) What are you doing to reduce your impact on the Earth?

Next up is 7 Green Office Moves.

1 comment:

Jeff9 said...

Save money and the Earth and be clean at the same time! Get serious and add Bathroom Bidet Sprayers to all your bathrooms. I think Dr. Oz on Oprah said it best: "if you had pee or poop on your hand, you wouldn't wipe it off with paper, would you? You'd wash it off” Available at www.bathroomsprayers.com with these you won't even need toilet paper any more, just a towel to dry off! Don’t worry, you can still leave some out for guests and can even make it the soft stuff without felling guilty. It's cheap and can be installed without a plumber; and runs off the same water line to your toilet. You'll probably pay for it in a few months of toilet paper savings. And after using one of these you won't know how you lasted all those years with wadded up handfuls of toilet paper. As for water use a drought is always a concern and must be dealt with prudently but please remember that in the big picture the industrial water users always far exceed the water use of household users and in the case of toilet paper manufacture it is huge. The pollution and significant power use from that manufacturing process also contributes to global warming so switching to a hand bidet sprayer and lowering your toilet paper use is very green in multiple ways.