GREEN HOME INITIATIVES

These days going green has become a popular lifestyle trend. Whether you are truly hoping to be more eco-conscious and reduce your toll on the environment; wish to lower your bills related to consumption; or hope to make the home more eco-friendly to appeal to buyers when it is for sale, there are things you can do.  Creating a green home does not have to be complicated or overly expensive.

Many of the 10 tips for a greener home outlined below can be done on a budget, or on a larger scale depending on your needs and intentions.

1. GO GREEN UNDERFOOT

Make sure you choose quality materials for your green home plans. If you’re thinking of installing a hardwood floor, consider reclaimed materials or look for newer wood products that are eco-friendly. You could also use more readily renewable materials such as cork, bamboo, or carpets made from natural fibres.

2. LOWER YOUR WATER FLOW

Target your bathroom, the source of three-quarters of the water used in a typical household. According to Statistics Canada, low-flow showerheads use up to 70% less water than standard shower heads and can save about 15% on the cost of heating the water.

3. DRY UP ANY DRIPS

Check for and repair leaky faucets to avoid wasting water. A tap leaking one drop per second wastes enough water to fill a bathtub every week, which could add up to 9,000 litres each year that you could save by simply replacing the old washer.

4. TURN DOWN THE DIAL

Either get into the habit of manually adjusting the temperature by a few degrees at night or when you leave the house, or install a timed thermostat to automatically regulate heat and cooling to use less energy.

5. BRUSH UP ON PAINT CHOICES

The volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other solvents in latex household paints have been recognized as a potential health hazard. Look for paints labelled as low-VOC or no-VOC, or consider natural sources such as milk paints. Recycled house paints also tend to have lower VOCs; look for paints labelled as “recycled,” “reblended,” or “reprocessed” (which typically contain some new paint).

6. GO NATURAL IN THE GARDEN

When you choose indigenous flowers, trees, and grasses for your yard or containers, you minimize the need for pesticides and watering. Native plants will be more acclimatized to the natural climate conditions.

7. CLEAN UP THE CABINETS

If you’re installing new kitchen cabinetry, avoid those made with particleboard boxes that may leach harmful gases like urea formaldehyde resin. Opt for cabinetry that’s formaldehyde-free, made from wood that’s been harvested sustainably, or built using plywood, wheatboard, or strawboard as their base.

8. DRAW THE CURTAINS

Take advantage of the insulating effect of your window coverings to shade from the sun and keep your house cool in the summer, and help retain heat in the winter.

9. RECLAIM AND RECYCLE

Where possible, use existing or recycled building materials and reclaimed lumber in your renovations. Find these through various suppliers, or look for salvagers of architectural antiques to add a vintage touch to your home.

10. ARE YOU GETTING THE BEST RATES AND TERMS

To maintain peak efficiency, have any combustion device (furnace, water heater, gas stove, or fireplace) or air conditioner inspected at least once a year, and follow recommended maintenance procedures. Filters in forced air furnaces, for instance, should be cleaned or replaced once a month.