6 Tips to Creating an Environmentally-Friendly Home
With climate change becoming more and more of a pressing issue in recent years, many homeowners are actively looking for ways to take action. Whether your main goal is to reduce your carbon footprint and help protect the environment, or to cut down on your utility bills each month, there is a clear benefit to making your home more environmentally-friendly.
This effort is not only better for the environment but also provides a safer and healthier space for homeowners. Taking steps to make the home more eco-friendly can lessen the occurrences of damp or mold since eco-friendly homes are less likely to emit any harmful gases of chemicals.
Not sure where to start? We reached out to some of the most credible environmental personalities today to get their expert advice on creating an environmentally-friendly home. Here’s what they had to say.
Reynard Loki, Alternet - “seal and insulate your home”
Beth Greer, The Huffington Post - “start by becoming aware of what goes in you, on you, and around you”
Gary Fuller, The Guardian - “insulation, home heating controls, and alternative means of transportation”
Marcia Yerman, The Huffington Post - “use non-toxic products”
Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times - “using alternative sources of energy, and using energy efficient electrical devices”
Maia James, The Huffington Post - “detox your cleaning products”
Seal and Insulate Your Home
One of the most basic ways to reduce heating and cooling costs — and reduce your home's carbon and energy footprint — is to create an indoor environment that is less affected by the outdoor temperature and that also keeps the artificially heated or cooled air you want inside.
By creating a tight barrier between the inside and outside environments, you prevent air leaking through your home's so-called "envelope" — the windows, doors, outer walls and other openings — which wastes energy and increases your energy bill.
Depending on what part of the country you live in, you can slash anywhere between 7 and 20 percent of your total heating and cooling bill simply by effectively sealing and insulating your home.
To see how much you can save each year from insulating your home, click here.
In addition to preventing unwanted airflow between inside and outside, sealing and insulating your home can also reduce noise from outside, prevent pollen, dust and other particulate matter from entering and help keep the humidity at the right level.
"If you added up all the leaks, holes and gaps in a typical home's envelope, it would be the equivalent of having a window open every day of the year," according to the EPA. To start your sealing and insulating project, visit the EPA.
Gary Fuller, air pollution scientist at King’s College London
I would suggest two things. 1) Insulation and home heating controls. This will help the environment, improve the comfort of your home and save money too. 2) Think about the way that your family travels. Make your car the last option when leaving the home; only use it when you can’t walk, cycle or take public transport. This would help with climate change and urban air pollution and keeps you fitter and healthier too.
One can turn their homes fully eco-friendly. The waste generated can be used to generate power through a low cost incinerator for organic waste.They are available in market and a size of a washing machine.
One can install solar power, which is now cheaper than conventional thermal power in many countries, especially in sun rich areas.
Using energy efficient electrical devices can reduce power consumption by up to 30%. Kitchen gardens where one can grow some vegetables is also possible. Such gardens do not require much area and can provide a family healthy dose of chemical free vegetables.
I try to keep everything within my home as natural as possible. This includes furnishings, like my sofa (no fire-retardants) and my carpets (without chemicals).
I use products for cleaning that are non-toxic, and often depend on vinegar and baking soda to accomplish different jobs that people resort to harsh cleaners for.
I have a lot of plants, which besides making me feel more grounded, are great for purifying the air.
Finally, I try to get people to take their shoes off before they come into the apartment.
And yes, the dog gets her feet wiped down with water or eco-friendly soap!
5 Steps to a Healthy Home
Your health starts in your home. If you want to get healthy and stay healthy, begin by taking 5 small steps to make your home toxin-free. It’s really pretty simple. Start by first becoming aware of what goes in you, on you, and surrounds you.
Here are 8 easy steps to decrease the amount of chemical toxins you are exposed to daily.
What Goes In You
1. Eat organic or pesticide-free foods whenever possible. Shop at Farmer’s Markets or plant your own garden.
2. Read labels and avoid food additives like MSG, trans fats (partially hydrogenated oils) and artificial sweeteners and artificial colors.
What Goes On You
3. Use natural, chemical-free body care products and cosmetics with the fewest and safest ingredients. Watch out for parabens, as well as the chemicals DEA (used as a foaming agent in shampoo and baby wash) and BHT (used as a solvent in lipstick and nail polish).
4. Be cautious of products with "fragrance" including shampoo, lotions, and perfume. They contain chemicals that are known to interfere with our hormones. Pick those made from essential oils instead.
What Surrounds You
5. Clean your house with non-toxic natural cleaning products. Try vinegar, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide. Avoid chlorine bleach, strong solvents, ammonia, antibacterial products made with triclosan, as well as synthetically fragranced candles, laundry detergents, air fresheners and dryer sheets.
For more practical, simple solutions on how to have a super healthy home or work environment, visit www.BethGreer.com.
Detox your cleaning products. Studies show that indoor air quality is often worse than outdoor. This is due in no small part to the noxious cleaning products and air fresheners many of us use in our homes. While anything in a natural foods store is probably better than what you'll find at a drugstore, there is a lot of greenwashing when it comes to cleaning products, an industry that is still insufficiently regulated. EWG's Guide to Healthy Cleaning Products or the Safe Product Guides on GimmeTheGoodStuff.org can help you identify truly nontoxic cleaning supplies. And I always tell my clients to skip air fresheners entirely; houseplants or bamboo charcoal fresheners like the Moso Bag will purify your air without adding harsh chemicals to your indoor space.