Go Green at Home - Inside and Out

by Lauren Caggiano

What images or emotions come to mind when you think of the color green? Green is often associated with vibrancy, renewal and growth—among other things. There’s a reason a particular shade—Greenery—was named the PANTONE Color of the Year in 2017. It lends itself well to dwellings and homey spaces. After all, who wouldn’t want to feel content and at peace at home? Green makes us feel good—and there’s a lot to be said for that!

You are in good company if you share this sentiment. According to an article on proudgreenhome.com, “a majority of Americans say having a healthy home is important to them (98 percent), and define such a space as one that has a calming atmosphere (91 percent), is energy efficient (93 percent) and is filled with natural light (92 percent) and fresh air (96 percent), according to a recent online survey among homeowners conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of VELUX skylights.”

Beyond the emotional aspects of going green, there’s also the metaphorical meaning. Today’s consumer is more informed and socially conscious than ever—and that’s a good thing. Oftentimes, the first place people make lifestyle changes is at home. Whether you are a newbie or long-time and veteran home owner, we have some tips for you to make your humble abode more energy efficient, inside and out.

GREEN INSIDE THE HOME

AIR QUALITY
  • Embrace houseplants. Certain varieties are known to reduce indoor air pollution.
  • Avoid using candles, which are major sources of indoor air pollution. You might consider diffusing essential oils instead.
WATER CONSERVATION
  • Check your home for leaky faucets or toilets and fix if necessary.
  • Don't leave the water running while brushing your teeth or washing your face and hands.
  • Cut your shower a few minutes short and consider investing in a low-pressure showerhead.
  • Cut down on your laundry and dishwasher use. Hand wash items whenever feasible.
RECYCLING AND TRASH
  • Properly dispose of electronic waste at a collection center, like Goodwill.
  • Properly dispose of any medications, instead of flushing them down the toilet. Pharmaceutical toxins end up in our rivers, which isn’t good for the earth or people!
  • Recycle whenever possible and consider re-using common household items like plastic bags.
  • Purchase and use cloth bags for your groceries.
  • Buy recycled paper products.
  • Use store-bought environmentally friendly cleaning products or consider making your own from scratch.
ELECTRONICS AND TECHNOLOGY
  • Install LED lightbulbs.
  • Purchase ENERGY STAR certified appliances, which are more efficient and can save you some green on utility bills.
  • Put your computer on sleep mode at night to conserve energy.
  • In the summer, open windows and turn off the air conditioning when bearable.
  • Replace your furnace filter regularly.
  • Program your thermostat so that you aren’t heating or cooling an empty home.
LIFESTYLE CHANGES
  • Go meatless one night a week. Our dependence on meat contributes to global warning. According to PETA, “the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has shown that animal agriculture is globally the single largest source of methane emissions and that, pound for pound, methane is more than 25 times as effective as carbon dioxide at trapping heat in our atmosphere.”

Download our home cleaning guide

GREEN OUTSIDE THE HOME

PLANT
  • Plant shrubs or a tree in your yard. Trees provide shade to naturally cool your home and help to offset air pollution.
  • Plant a garden. This cuts down on the environmental footprint resulting from transporting produce cross country.
  • Start a compost pile.
  • Make your own weed killer.
LEAD BY EXAMPLE
  • Host a neighborhood park or street clean-up. Encourage children to participate so that they learn the value of environmentalism early on.
  • Coordinate a garage sale to encourage re-using items so that fewer things end up in landfills.

 

A greener home is easier than you might think! Like most habits, it takes some time to acclimate, but it will quickly become second-nature. What practical tips do you have for making the transition to a more sustainable lifestyle at home? We’d love to hear your comments below.

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