Going green can be intimidating when you do not know where to start. You do not need to spend a fortune to complete home improvements that are beneficial for the environment. When going green in your home improvement projects, make the decision to purchase green products rather than standard products.
Building with Wood
When updating your deck, fence, or cabinets, you will want to look for green wood. You can purchase Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) approved wood, which is lumber taken from a healthy forest. This wood is spotted in home improvement stores and can by identified by a green logo with a half-check/half-tree and the initials FSC.
If you want wood that will not rot or attract attacking insects, you will want to purchase pressure-treated wood that uses the copper formula ACQ, not arsenic or chromium. If you use this type of wood, be sure to use stainless steel nails and screws to avoid them rusting.
There are numerous types of green flooring options for inside your home. An easy home improvement project can be replacing your floor with true linoleum, cork, or bamboo. These types of floors are not only more durable than standard flooring, but they are environmentally friendly.
True linoleum floors are made from natural and rapidly replenishing ingredients. Cork floors are made from the waste after wine corks are punched out. They reduce noise and have excellent insulating qualities. Bamboo floors are pressed and glued together, as well as being very durable and renewable.
Electricity and Energy Bills
A simple green home improvement involves merely switching your current light bulbs out for fluorescent bulbs. These light bulbs last up to ten times as long as standard bulbs while only using one quarter of the energy. This simple switch can help you save up to 30% of your electricity bill each year.
Another effortless improvement involves painting the walls in your house a light color since this will distribute light more effortlessly than dark walls. Be sure that the paint you select complies with VOC (volatile organic compounds) standards. VOCs contain pollutants that can damage the ozone layer and play a role in the production of smog. The fewer VOCs your paint contains, the better the paint is for the environment and your green home improvement project.
Going Green in the Kitchen
There are two ways you can go green in your kitchen: changing your countertop and your appliances. One environmentally friendly countertop is called Paper Stone. This type of durable, heat-resistant countertop is made from a combination of paper and fibers in resin. Paper Stone looks like stone, but does not involve land-damaging quarrying.
Terrazzo is another green counter top made of recycled glass and crushed stone being held together by cement. This countertop is low-maintenance, long-lasting, and 95% of the materials are recycled. You can also purchase energy-saving appliances next time you need to replace an appliance. These appliances are noted by the Energy Star logo and can save up to 50% of your energy use.
Greening Your Bathroom
Since 75% of all water used in your home is used in your bathroom through the combination of the shower, toilet, and sink. Easy home improvement projects involve a simple change of fixtures. To reduce the water in your shower, you can purchase either a low-flow or adjustable water head. You can also replace your toilet with a dual flush toilet, offering either a full or half flush.
Free Green Home Improvements
If you do not have much money to spend on these home improvements, there are free options to these projects. To help save electricity, you can unplug electronic devices when not in use and shut off all lights when you leave the room. If you have been using the computer and need to leave the house, shut down your computer to save electricity.
To conserve water, only run full loads of dishes and laundry and turn off the water while brushing your teeth. Dishwashers and laundry machines use the same amount of water and energy whether the load is light or full, so make sure the loads are full so you are not wasting water.
Going green does not have to be a difficult process; it is all about the decisions you make when doing home improvement and maintenance projects especially when working with a professional contractor. Even if the “green products” happen to be expensive, remember that they will save you money on your electric and water bills, so going green in your home improvement projects will not only help save the environment, but your wallet as well.