These days there are all kinds of ways to make wise environmental decisions. You can ride a bike instead of drive, recycle your paper and plastic, or plant a tree in your front yard. You can make green decisions in your home as well. Many homeowners are now choosing to use Earth-friendly building materials in building construction and energy-efficient appliances for use when the house is built.
Use recycled products in construction
If you want to incorporate elements of green design in your home, you can start by looking for materials made from post-consumer or post-industrial recycled content. These materials have been recycled and can be recycled again. You can also look for wood that is certified as “sustainably harvested by the Forest Stewardship Council. Even more practically, choose to buy your materials from nearby manufacturers to cut down on the emissions needed to transport them.
Improve your energy efficiency
If you’re renovating your home, try incorporating green techniques and products that weren’t there before. Plug up holes in your attic or basement, replace roofing or siding to improve insulation, add weather stripping around doors and windows to prevent heat or cool from escaping. Older homes might have been equipped with single-pane windows. You can replace them with double and triple-paned windows that can improve your energy efficiency and provide savings within just a few years.
Replace old appliances
Newer appliances are more energy efficient than older ones. You can tell for sure if the newer models are better if they are stamped with the Environmental Protection Agency’s EnergyStar label. They have been designed to be 20-30 percent more energy efficient, which means they can save you money and decrease your carbon footprint.
Read the Green Home Guide
If you want other ideas about how to build sustainably or improve your energy efficiency, you can visit the U.S. Green Building Council’s Green Home Guide. It provides a free online resource that homeowners can consult when working on green remodeling projects. You can also try the REGREEN website. It is maintained by the American Society of Interior Designers and the Green Building Council and it offers “interactive tools and basic guidelines written so even do-it-yourselfers can understand.”
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