10 Tips for Earth-Friendly Home Improvements

With the rising costs of heating and cooling, plus growing concern about the environment, “green” is the new direction in home building and renovation.  An added benefit of earth-friendly remodeling is that it helps protect the health of your family by reducing pollutants within the home.  Here are some tips for making your next home remodeling project one that’s kind to the planet…

1. Maximize natural light.  Use skylights and well-placed mirrors to reflect natural light and help reduce lighting costs.

2. Use reclaimed or sustainably-harvested materials (such as bamboo or cork) whenever possible, and avoid wood composites that contain glue or formaldehyde.

3.  Try to buy materials produced within a 500-mile radius of your home to minimize the use of fuel for transportation.

4.  Choose paints low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs) instead of latex-based enamel.

5. Use more efficient insulation made from less toxic materials.  Some options today are formaldehyde-free and consist mostly of recycled newsprint, cotton or glass.

6. Install energy-efficient furnaces, air conditioners and appliances.  Statistics show that if one household in 10 bought Energy Star-rated heating and cooling equipment, we could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the same amount as taking 1.5 million cars off the road.

7. Opt for hardwood floors over carpets, which can emit harmful chemicals and harbor mold.  If using carpets, tack them down instead of gluing them to reduce toxic emissions.

8. Use pro-green roofing alternatives such as rubber and plastic or vinyl and cellulose fiber.

9. Replacing old light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) can trim 5 percent from your monthly electrical bill.  If every American home swapped just five incandescent bulbs for Energy Star CFLs, it would keep 1 trillion pounds of greenhouse gasses out of the air and save $6.5 billion in energy costs.

10.  To conserve water, install low flow toilets.  If you’re redoing landscaping, consider reducing the size of your lawn, or install environmentally friendly turf grasses that use less water and require less mowing and fertilizer.

Is the grass really greener on the other side? Take a virtual tour and find out at windermeremercerisland.com

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