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Green Living

Posted by Tara Thompson 1 Comment

green-livingNow that you have moved into your new home, you may want to make your new home a “green home”. Not only will it save you money, it will reduce the impact of your ecological footprint on our planet Earth. Your ecological footprint is the human demand on the Earth’s power to regenerate and renew its natural resources. It measures consumption and waste and the planets ability to absorb and re-create natural resources. As you become more conscious of your ecological footprint, you may want to use the following tips to help “green up” your new home.

Monitor the temperature in your new home. Almost half a home’s energy consumption is due to heating and cooling.

• Purchase a programmable thermostat that will make these temperature changes for you automatically. In cold weather turn down the thermostat, wear a sweater or extra clothing and 68°F (20°C) during colder weather saves 3%-5% more heating energy. In warm weather higher the thermostat to 78°F and wear less clothing.
• Clean your furnace’s air filter monthly during heavy usage. Get a new furnace that has the Energy Star label. Today’s furnaces are about 25% more efficient than they were 20 years ago.
• Insulate your doorways and windows. Drafts also get in through gaps in floorboards and skirting boards, which also allows heat to escape in winter. Stop this energy loss by filling these gaps with newspaper, beading or sealant. Make sure your walls and ceilings are insulated. Install double pane windows to keep more heat inside your home. And remember to close your curtains at night to stop heat from escaping through your windows.
• Insulate doors and windows. Use toxic free caulk drafts. Cover outlets with switch plate covers. You are losing heat and cool air when the walls of your home are exposed to drafts. The drafts flow through the inside walls via plumbing and electrical chases and leak through the interior outlets and switches. Even internal walls allow energy loss. All of your home’s outlets and switches allow drafts.
• Insulate your hot water tank with an insulated jacket cover – it only costs a small amount of money and, with all the heat it traps in, it pays for itself within months.
• To keep your home cool in warm weather, pull down your shades and curtains on your windows. Wait to use your dishwasher, oven, and dryer until evening.
• Use fans instead of air conditioners. This works in our home, especially when our second floor seems hotter than the lower floors. Moving air feels cooler, so a slow-moving fan can extend the comfort range to 82°F.

Use less water Install a low-flow toilet. They use only 1.6 gallons per flush, compared to 3.5 gallons per flush for pre-1994 models. If you have an older model, adjust your float valve to admit less water into the toilet’s tank.
• Place a brick inside your existing toilet tank to raise the water level quicker.
• Flush less. Flush only number 2’s. Urine can wait.
• Put an aerator on all household faucets and cut your annual water consumption by 50%.
• Change your behavior using a broom instead of the garden hose to clean your driveway can save 80 gallons of water and turning the water off when you brush your teeth will save 4.5 gallons each time.

Wash conscientiously
Use your washing machine and dishwasher only when you have a full load. Use biodegradable washing powder suitable for low temperature washes. Studies show that washing your clothes at 30°C (86°F) rather than 40°C (104°F) reduces electricity consumption on average by around 40%.

Here is a great blog piece about making homemade laundry detergent . You will learn how to utilize natural ingredients that will both save you money and be good for the environment. The author, Tiffany Washko, runs NatureMoms.com, which is a fantastic resource for green, natural living.

Hang it up to dry
On a nice sunny day, take your clothes out to dry. During cold weather, hang up towels, sweaters, and jeans on a drying rack inside.
Make sure your washing machine is spinning your clothes properly, reducing drying time. Drying through spinning is 20 times less energy intensive than with heat.

Get your house checked by a professional energy auditor
Ask your local electric or gas supplier to perform an energy audit of your house or apartment. Then put the recommendations into practice. If they don’t currently offer such a service, ask them to introduce it.

Changing your floors to bamboo.
Bamboo is considered an environmentally friendly flooring material due to its high yield and the relatively fast rate at which it replenishes itself. It takes just four to six years for bamboo to mature, compared to 50-100 years for typical hardwoods. Just be sure to look for sources that use formaldehyde-free glues.

Safer paint
Repaint your house with latex paint instead of oil-based paint. Latex paint releases significantly fewer harmful fumes while drying.

Go solar!
Turn your own home into a clean power station by fitting solar panels on the roof of your home. The electricity you generate from this alternative energy source could quickly cover the cost of installation. In some areas you may even be able to sell your excess back to the power company. Photovoltaic cells or small-scale wind power could also be an option.

There are real estate companies now that specialize in green living. For example, Green Home Residential is a Dallas-based real estate brokerage specializing in green, sustainable, and high performance residential real estate. They believe knowledge is power and consider it their social responsibility to share the benefits of adopting a green philosophy. Stephanie Ebbesen is the broker/ owner of Green Home Residential and is motivated to increase awareness through education about Environmental Conservation. All politics aside, a truly conservative approach, Stephanie facilitates her clients to lower consumption costs, increase the indoor air quality, and lessen the materials used in residential construction. Way to go!

And finally, there are also moving companies that specialize in green moving to help you relocate in a more eco friendly manner!

Happy Moving,

Tara Thompson

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