While the Going Green initiative focuses on ways we can save our environment and its natural resources, you can save money at the same time. One primarily way to Go Green is reuse. Green also means finding alternate approaches to some of your typical daily activities.
Going Green strategies for the home will generally consist of these 5 elements:
For new homes, house orientation and design should take advantage of natural light to cut down on lighting requirements; and reduce heat gain in the summer and loss in the winter.
Construction/remodeling of the home should include renewable materials such as bamboo and the incorporation of recycled materials.
The green home will have energy-efficient appliances, windows, and water heating systems with ENERGY STAR® ratings. Other strategies include efficient bulbs and lighting features.
You can save water by replacing old faucets, shower heads, and toilets with low-flow fixtures. Green appliances include ENERGY STAR dishwashers and washing machines.
Tank-less water heaters save not only space, and energy for heating, but also wasted water.
Another strategy for going green is use of a programmed-water saving low-volume irrigation systems, rain collection systems, wastewater treatment systems, and hot water recirculation systems. You may be interested in a natural yard can substantially reduce the need to irrigation and maintenance.
Healthy Indoor Air Quality
Heating, air conditioning and ventilation system (HVAC) should be sized for an efficient and properly ventilated home. Use of fans in the bathroom and kitchen can help keep the air fresh to maintain healthy air quality.
When remodeling or building, the use of new Low-VOC paints, finishes, and wall papers, is suggested to reduce toxic emissions.
Outside the Home
Going green strategies for outside the home include preserving trees and other vegetation. Landscaping should include plants that are categorized for use in your hardiness zone and grouped according to water needs to reduce irrigation requirements.
Solid surface areas such as driveways should be reduced as much as possible for incorporation of additional grass, trees or gardens. To eliminate the increase in yard maintenance, inclusion of flower beds with perennial plants and flows and bushes that require no or low maintenance.
If you want to build green with plans to age in place, more information is available at http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/business-advisor/green-building-and-aging-place-design.
Find some additional going green tips below.
Go Green, Save Energy and Save Money
- Set your thermostat a few degrees lower in the winter and a few degrees higher in the summer to save on heating and cooling costs.
- Install compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) when your older incandescent bulbs burn out.
- Unplug appliances when you’re not using them to save stand by or “vampire” power. Use a “smart” power strip that senses when appliances are off and cuts “phantom” or “vampire” energy use.
- Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible. As much as 85 percent of the energy used to machine-wash clothes goes to heating the water.
- Use a drying rack or clothesline to save the energy otherwise used during machine drying.
- Seal Ducts
- Lower the temperature of your water heater
- Check the Temperature in Your Fridge and Freezer
- Wait to Turn on the Furnace
- Caulk Before Winter’s Chill
- Rake, Don’t Blow
- Deck the Halls with LED Holiday Lights
- Use a doormat right on the front doorstep so that you will spend less energy in vacuuming, mopping or sweeping the floor
- Observe the so-called “Earth Hour” where all lights and appliances are put off for an hour to sympathize to the global cause of saving Mother Earth.
- Insulate Your Pipes
Go Green, Save Water and Save Money
- Take shorter showers to reduce water use. This will lower your water and heating bills too.
- Install a low-flow shower head. They don’t cost much, and the water and energy savings can quickly pay back your investment.
- Make sure you have a faucet aerator on each faucet. These inexpensive appliances conserve heat and water, while keeping water pressure high.
- Plant drought-tolerant native plants in your garden. Many plants need minimal watering. Find out which occur naturally in your area.
- Fix Water Leaks
- Maintain Your Septic System
Go Green, Less gas and Save Money
- Walk or bike to work. This saves on gas and parking costs while improving your cardiovascular health and reducing your risk of obesity.
- Consider telecommuting if you live far from where you work or volunteer.
- Lobby your local government to increase spending on sidewalks and bike lanes. With little cost, these improvements can pay huge dividends in bettering your health and reducing traffic.
- Shop Online, But Avoid Rush Shipping With Uses More Energy Resources
Go Green, Eat and Drink Smart
- If you eat meat, add one meatless meal a week. Meat costs a lot at the store-and it’s even more expensive when you consider the related environmental and health costs.
- Buy locally raised, humane, and organic meat, eggs, and dairy whenever you can. Purchasing from local farmers keeps money in the local economy.
- Watch videos about why local food and sustainable seafood are so great.
- Whatever your diet, eat low on the food chain [pdf]. This is especially true for seafood.
- Eat Seasonally all year long
- Compost Your Pumpkins for your garden fertilizer
- Grow your own fruits and vegetables. It will help you to eat healthier and will reduce gas emissions with fewer trips to the grocery store or market.
- Bring a reusable water bottle, preferably aluminum rather than plastic, with you when traveling or at work.Skip the bottled water.
- Use a water filter to purify tap water instead of buying bottled water. Not only is bottled water expensive, but it generates large amounts of container waste.
Going Green By Thinking Before You Buy
- Go online to find new or gently used secondhand products. Whether you’ve just moved or are looking to redecorate, consider searching online to track down furniture, appliances, and other items cheaply or for free.
- Check out garage sales, thrift stores, and consignment shops for clothing and other everyday items.
- When making purchases, make sure you know what’s “Good Stuff” and what isn’t.
- Watch a video about what happens when you buy things. Your purchases have a real impact, for better or worse.
- Getting an Artificial Christmas Tree
- Buy Recycled Paper
- Borrow instead of buying.
- Borrow from libraries instead of buying personal books and movies. This saves money, not to mention the ink and paper that goes into printing new books.
- Share power tools and other appliances. Get to know your neighbors while cutting down on the number of things cluttering your closet or garage..
- Buy in bulk. Purchasing food from bulk bins can save money and packaging.
- Wear clothes that don’t need to be dry-cleaned. This saves money and cuts down on toxic chemical use.
- Invest in high-quality, long-lasting products. You might pay more now, but you’ll be happy when you don’t have to replace items as frequently (and this means less waste!).
- Keep electronics out of the trash.
- Keep your cell phones, computers, and other electronics as long as possible.
- Donate or recycle them responsibly when the time comes. E-waste contains mercury and other toxins and is a growing environmental problem.
- Recycle your cell phone.
- Ask your local government to set up an electronics recycling and hazardous waste collection event.
Go Green By Making Your Own Cleaning Supplies
The big secret: you can make very effective, non-toxic cleaning products whenever you need them. All you need are a few simple ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, lemon, and soap. Making your own cleaning products saves money, time, and packaging-not to mention your indoor air quality.
- Baking Soda – cleans, deodorizes, and scours
- Lemon – strong food-acid effective against most household bacteria
- Soap – unscented soap in liquid form, flakes, powders or bars is biodegradable and can be used to clean almost anything
- Borax – cleans, deodorizes, and disinfects
- White Vinegar – cuts through grease, removes mildew, odors, and some stains
- Cornstarch – can be used to clean windows and shampoo carpets and rugs
- Citrus Solvent – cleans oil, grease, and some stains (avoid this product if you have chemical sensitivities)
Go Green, Avoid Chemicals and Germs and Stay Healthy
- Kick Off Your Shoes at the Door for a Cleaner Home
- Consider a Home Water Filter
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