Living in a ‘green home’ is great, but your home isn’t going to stay that way for long if you don’t maintain it properly, or you don’t lead a lifestyle to go with it. In the interests of helping you maximize the benefit of living in your efficient, healthy home – we’ve compiled a list of tips to help keep you in top form.
Conserving Water — What you can do:
• Install low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators
• Fix leaky faucets and toilets
• If you must water your lawn or garden, use timers and drip hoses early or late in the day.
Keep Water Clean
• Properly dispose of paints, motor oil and pesticides by recycling or taking them to a hazardous waste collection site.
• Use low impact gardening techniques that avoid pesticides and chemical fertilizers.
• Buy organic produce, grown with fewer pesticides.
Saving Energy — What you can do:
Use Energy Wisely
• Lower your thermostat in the winter and raise it in the summer.
• Have your furnace and air conditioner serviced and cleaned yearly.
• Turn down your hot water heater to 120-140°F.
• Check your refrigerator and freezer for leaky gaskets around the door.
• Caulk, weatherstrip and insulate walls, attics, basements, windows, doors and pipes.
Buy Energy Savers
• Install compact florescent light bulbs (CFL’s)where practical.
• Add dimmers and timers to light switches.
• Install a programmable thermostat.
• Look for the “Energy Star” label when buying new appliances.
• Choose electricity from renewable resources.
Reducing Waste — What you can do:
• Avoid wasteful packaging and single use products.
• Buy reusable, repairable, rechargeable or refillable products.
• Buy products made from recycled materials or in recycled packaging.
• Seek alternatives to harmful household cleaners, pesticides, paint removers and other products containing toxic chemicals.
• Bring unused products to household hazardous waste collections in your community.
Reuse and Recycle
• Try to reuse before you recycle
• Mulch or compost yard waste
• Sell or donate used clothing, furnishings, books, household items, etc.
• Recycle computers, TV’s and other electronics.
Home Improvement — What you can do:
• Buy non-toxic cleaners and other products.
• Follow directions when storing leftover products.
• Dispose of toxics at a household hazardous waste collection site.
Fix It Up
• Use low-impact products and materials
• Install energy efficient lights and appliances.
• Use woods from sustainably grown forests.
• Buy carpeting and other products that are made of recycled content.
• Look for indoor air quality information on products you purchase.
Lawn & Garden — What you can do:
Reduce Lawn Cover
• Create a low-maintenance yard.
• Reduce turf grass to less than 75% of the total area.
• Replace grass with native trees and shrubs, flowerbeds and ground coverings.
Let It Grow Naturally
• Use organic or low-impact gardening and watering techniques.
• If you use fertilizer, use a slow-release type no more than twice per year.
• Use a mulching mower to shred grass clippings and leave them on the lawn.
• Compost yard waste.
• Conserve water by mulching and using a soaker hose or drip system.
Green Shopping — What you can do:
• Buy in bulk.
• Rent or borrow rather than buy.
• When appropriate, buy reused, reconditioned or refurbished rather than new.
• Remember: recycling is the last resort when reducing or reusing aren’t possible.
• Avoid single serving and disposable packaging.
• Avoid things you can’t or won’t recycle.
• Buy reusable or refillable products and those from companies with good environmental habits.
• Buy goods manufactured locally.
• Donate or sell unwanted household items.
• Buy items with recycled content.