If you’ve been wanting to reduce your carbon footprint but don’t know where to start, here’s a look at a few expert tips for home improvement that will help you on your way.
Downsizing may sound like a strange way to be more eco-friendly and save money, but it works. This is especially true if you have a large home that you no longer have a use for (i.e. the kids have grown up and moved out, you’re no longer married, the costs are too high, etc). Moving to posh furnished apartments in Washington D.C. or another popular city/state is ideal. You get to relocate to an apartment that is decked out with everything you need to live a comfortable life. Not to mention, there’s less square footage to have to cover when it comes to heating and cooling your residence.
It doesn’t matter if you own your home or live in one of the posh furnished apartments, you can save your electricity. CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) can save as much as ¾ of the electricity incandescent light bulbs use, and they can even save you money on your electricity bills by reducing them as much as 1/3. Sure, CFL bulbs cost more, but they save energy, money, and last much longer. A $2 CFL bulb can last up to 10,000 hours while only using about 27 watts but they do that while generating the same amount of light as an old-fashioned 100-watt incandescent light bulb. They cost around $0.50 each, but they only last around 1,000 hours.
It’s important to live a sustainable life, and one way to do that is to save water. Upgrading your water fixtures can reduce both your energy bill and your water bill. You might even get incentives and/or rebates to make this switch as well. Each generation of ultra-low flow fixtures that make it to the market tends to conserve more water when compared to the generation that preceded it, while not compromising when it comes to performance. When you shop for faucets, showerheads, and toilets, look for products that have EPA WaterSense on the labels.
Low VOC Paint
When it comes to VOC (volatile organic compound) emissions from commercial and consumer products, stains, paints, and other types of architectural coatings are responsible for nearly 9%, which makes them #2 behind automobiles as a source of this type of emissions. This means that low VOC paints or plant-based paints are essential if you want to cut those emissions. If you’re painting or sealing wood, opt for products that have no or low VOCs. D, low odor, low toxic caulks and adhesives are your best options due to the fact that they emit fewer fumes while they also quickly stop the release of chemicals.
Fuss Free Flooring
You might want to consider replacing your carpet with flooring that’s easy to keep clean like bamboo. Bamboo is a grass that grows quite quickly and it can be selectively harvested on a yearly basis. This reduces our dependence on other timber resources that are limited. Flooring made from bamboo is harder than maple or oak and extremely durable.
Also, if you’re considering using bamboo in your home, you might want to think about installing some countertops made from it. Not only are they an option that’s environmentally friendly, but they can also be fabricated in a variety of patterns and styles, and can even be prefinished with a type of finish that’s safe for foods – like beeswax or mineral oil.
If you have a greener home, you’ll be able to save more money because you’ll be using water and energy more efficiently. You’ll also be giving your family and yourself a healthier lifestyle because the air quality in the home will be better. This is beyond your main goal or being more environmentally astute due to your using materials that are recyclable and more renewable. The best part is that you’ll be accomplishing all of this without having to compromise your budget, aesthetics, or even quality. With the easy tips listed above, you can tweak your home to make it more eco-friendly and reap all of the additional benefits in the process.