Read these 5 Green Home Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Green Living tips and hundreds of other topics.
A great way to begin sustainable living is to purchase or make natural cleaning products. Natural cleaning products clean, disinfect and deodorize the same way conventional cleaning products do except they use natural substances to accomplish this task instead of harmful chemicals and they are environmentally friendly. Natural cleaning products are readily available in most stores these days if you choose to purchase them. Be sure to look and see what the ingredients are instead of just looking at the front label. Some natural ingredients include baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), borax, cornstarch, lemon juice, mineral oil, vinegar and washing soda (sodium carbonate decahydrate). Some natural cleaning products are plant or vegetable based. If you choose to make your own, you will want to have the above items on hand as well as some pure essential oils if you wish to scent your homemade natural cleaning products. Another advantage of natural cleaning products is that they don't leave harmful chemicals behind. Approximately forty pounds of toxic chemicals are saved from the environment every time a single household switches to natural cleaning products. When purchasing scented natural cleaning products make sure the scent is from a plant or an essential oil, not a fragrance oil. Fragrance oils are not plant based and numerous chemicals are used in the making of the fragrance, as well as in the product, to get the scent to remain. Even if you use a house cleaning service you can find ones that will use natural cleaning products and who believe in sustainable living.
Eco furniture like eco fashion is catching on like wildfire among environmentally conscious consumers. Eco furniture is made from sustainable materials such as natural plant fibers, recycled materials and unbleached wool. Some of the natural plant fibers include bamboo, natural reeds and grasses. The wood in eco furniture is sustainably harvested. Although most eco furniture is higher in price than its traditional counterpart, if you look around you will find some mid-priced eco furniture. Purchasing eco furniture for your home is a great way to detox it. Organic bedding is a great place to start. Organic mattresses are generally made from wool or natural latex. Studies have shown that replacing normal bedding with organic bedding can provide relief from allergies, MCS (multiple chemical sensitivities), skin problems and may even reduce the risk of SIDS. When you use organic bedding it will benefit the environment and ensure your body is free from the chemical residues found in most conventional cotton bedding products. Conventional cotton growth is dependant on herbicides, pesticides and other chemicals. Knowing this you can begin to understand why choosing organic cotton is not only better for your health but better for the environment. Organic sheets and blankets are generally made of cotton or hemp. When converting to organic bedding don't forget to choose new pillows. You can find organic pillows in a variety of organic materials including wool and bamboo. Organic bedding and eco furniture are great ways to green your home and let others know that you care about the environment.
Eco real estate development is rapidly increasing due to the growing demand of the health conscious and ecology minded set. From offices to homes, college dorms to apartment buildings, using green building materials to create sustainable building complexes is the wave of the future. Choosing a green home design also means choosing green building materials such as a green alternative to home insulation. For example, instead of choosing fiberglass for your home insulation product, choose a home insulation product made out of recycled denim, soybeans or another environmentally friendly product. Creating energy efficient homes is essential to green home design. Solar panels, the proper R-factor of home insulation, choosing green building supplies and using sustainable building practices are all important concepts to consider. If possible try to choose green building supplies that are from local sources and come from rapidly renewable plant materials such as bamboo or straw. If you choose to use wood, ask if the lumber you are purchasing is from sustainably managed forests. Green building materials should be non-toxic, reusable, renewable and recyclable. Creating a green building does not mean you have to start from scratch. Older buildings can be green buildings by increasing the efficiency of resource usage and installing alternative forms of energy such as solar panels or wind power. If you are in the market for a new or used home check with your local real estate offices to find out if there are any eco friendly real estate agents in your area. Eco friendly real estate agents specialize in green buildings and would know if there were any eco real estate developments happening around the area.
Organic gardening is environmentally friendly and promotes sustainability. Once you start gardening, using organic gardening supplies such as organic compost and organic fertilizer will help you produce nicer looking flowers and produce and studies have shown that organic produce is healthier because it contains more nutrients than conventional produce. You will also find that an organic garden takes less work and resources to maintain than a conventional one. Beneficial insects are attracted to organic crops. You can purchase beneficial insects to release into your garden, or simply wait until they come. Beneficial insects help take care of the bad bugs eliminating the need for pesticides. Instead of spraying when you do find an undesirable bug in an organic garden, it is best to remove the bug by hand. There are numerous organic fertilizer products on the market, everything from bat guano to kelp. Before choosing an organic fertilizer it is wise to get a soil test done so you know if you need to treat a soil deficiency or simply maintain the health of your soil. Organic compost is a great way to start amending the soil you have. Simply choose a container and add items such as leaves, weeds, grass clippings, wood ashes and kitchen scraps such as vegetables, fruits, egg shells, tea and coffee grounds. Do not add meat to a compost pile. In the fall you can simply pile these items on your garden and let them rot. The rest of the year you will need to find a spot to make a compost pile. Be sure to turn it weekly for the best aeration.
A great way to green your existing home is to install solar panels. Environmentally friendly homes are all the rage these days. Green real estate is a rapidly increasing market due to the growing demand of the health conscious and ecology minded set. Installing solar panels and solar lighting outdoors will not only make your home environmentally friendly now but will add value and savings for years to come. Right now there are numerous tax rebates and other incentives available to help offset the cost of greening your home. If you are looking to green your yard or garden, solar lights are a great way to begin. Solar lights come on when the sun goes down and last through the night. There are many different varieties of solar lights on the market including solar spot lights for areas where more lighting is needed. Best of all solar lights do not require electricity. Other ways to create green real estate is with the addition of solariums and sky light windows. The more natural light a building gets, the less need there is for lighting powered by fossil fuels. Solariums are great places to relax, especially during the winter months, and growing a few plants will help improve the air quality of your home. Solariums are also great for collecting heat from the sun. Because these buildings are generally attached to your home they can help lower your heating bill. Converting your existing home to an environmentally friendly, green home is something you and your family can feel good about.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|