There is a belief out there that greening your home has to be expensive and that just isn’t true. So, in light of Earth Day’s 40th anniversary, we have a list of the top 10 things you can do to green your home for under $40.
Install a Low-Flow Water Fixture – faucets account for more than 15 percent of a typical household’s indoor water use and showers account for 17 percent. That adds up to more than 2.2 trillion gallons of water in the United States every year. Do your part to cut that by 40 percent by installing low-flow fixtures – available at some retailers for under $30 – and help to save a precious resource.
Invest Time in Air Sealing & Weatherization – sealing the air leaks in your home, which can be easily achieved through basic caulking and weather stripping, can cut your cooling and heating bills by 20 percent or more, saving you hundreds of dollars per year. Air sealing conserves precious fossil-fuel reserves and reduces emissions of greenhouse gases. Weather stripping tape is available for about $5 while eco-friendly, non toxic caulk is less than $10.
Purchase Green Cleaners – asthma and allergy sufferers frequently feel healthier after saying no to conventional cleaners. It’s also an important part of Raising Healthy Children.
Start Composting – well-managed home compost avoids the release of methane, a potent global warming gas, and helps the government deal with waste. And composting improves soil quality, reducing need for water, fertilizer, and pesticides. Read more and watch a video on exactly how to compost at home. You can get going for just $20-30.
Recycle – You know this matters, but sometimes you forget. Remember that everytime you recycle, you’re saving energy and natural resources. Don’t live somewhere with curbside recycling? Use the Earth911 recycling center locator to figure out where to take all of your recyclables.
Use a Bathroom Fan – ensure your bathroom fan is turned on for 20 minutes AFTER your shower to avoid mold build up (and be sure your fan’s wattage is appropriate for your bathroom’s square footage!)
Take Your Shoes Off – another simple but important thing you can do. Taking your shoes off prevents pesticides and other chemicals from entering your home.
Ditch plastic water bottles – You already know disposable water bottles fill landfills, require large amounts of petroleum to manufacture and often don’t offer “better” water than you can find in your local tap. So, make 2009 the year you ditch the disposable bottle and use a water bottle more regularly. Just make sure you buy the right water bottle.
Replace Light Bulbs – If every U.S. home replaced just one light bulb with a Compact Fluorescent (CFL), we would save enough electricity to light more than 3 million homes for a year. And the reduction in greenhouse gases would be equal to taking 800,000 cars off the road. CFL prices have come way down – they cost as little as 50 cents each at many discount retailers and each bulb will save $30 or more in electricity costs over its lifetime.
Update Spring Colors with No- or Low-VOC Paints – maintain indoor air quality by eliminating harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by paints. You can now purchase No-VOC paints in any color and often for under $40 per gallon.