Going ‘Green’: Tips for Finding and Maintaining an Eco-Friendly Living Space

Solar energy“Eco-friendly,” “green,” and “environmentally responsible” have been off-putting for a lot of Americans for many years. Not just anti-tree-hugging conservatives who look askance at anything that remotely links science to the environment. These are terms that have discouraged people who are inclined to adopt an environmentally friendly lifestyle, but who believe that the cost of doing so would be prohibitive and impractical.

Nothing could be further than the truth, however. You do not need to install costly solar panels on top of your house, or go off the grid in order to protect Mother Nature. There are countless ways you can make a difference in your day-to-day life.

Go non-toxic

It’s shocking to find out how many common household materials and cleaners represent a real threat to healthy living. VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are present in carpeting, upholstery, paints and cleaning substances that are used in millions of American households. If you’ve looking for a green-friendly home, opt for a house that doesn’t make extensive use of industrial carpeting or paints based on toxic chemicals that negatively impact indoor air quality. Note that paints, which do not contain solvents such as acetone or formaldehyde, are considerably healthier and more eco-friendly.

Carpeting is used in approximately 70 percent of homes in the United States, which exposes millions of Americans to dangerous VOCs every day. Seek a home that emphasizes hardwood flooring or tile, rather than wall-to-wall carpeting. VOCs are emitted by the carpeting material, but also by the padding adhesive. Headaches, respiratory problems, nausea, and fatigue are frequent symptoms of the VOCs present in carpeting material. If you do purchase a home with carpeting, consider removing it and going with an alternative surface.

Energy audit

Once you’ve purchased the house of your dreams, have an energy audit done to determine how you can improve your home’s energy efficiency and where you might adopt eco-friendly tactics. It’s a good way to increase your home’s value by improving its energy efficiency. One thing you may find out is that you can save significantly on your energy costs by replacing incandescent light bulbs with more efficient and longer-lasting LED and CFL bulbs. CFL lighting is about four times more efficient than incandescent lighting. LED and CFL bulbs, though more expensive, are a much better value in the long run because they use less electricity but last up to 10 times longer. Because they don’t burn out as often, they’re a more eco-friendly alternative to incandescent bulbs, the use of which reduces the number of bulbs that end up in landfills and the environment at large.

Non-toxic landscaping

If the previous owners of your new home used chemical pesticides and fertilizers, you can transform the space into an environmentally friendly landscape by introducing plants that flourish in your area without the use of toxic chemical substances. Try planting herbs and clover that need little more than sufficient rainfall to thrive.

Finding ‘green’ homes

Finding environmentally healthy homes in your area is considerably easier than it was just a few years ago. There are websites dedicated to putting you in touch with homeowners who are committed to sustainable eco-friendly living. Greenhomesforsale.com is an online venue for homeowners looking to sell a home with green features. Clearly, the more successful you are at finding a home with environmentally friendly features, the easier it’ll be to adopt a truly eco-friendly lifestyle.

Today, it’s not necessary to settle for a living space that’s not conducive to healthy living. You can find homes in your area that are built sustainably. And there are many ways you can transform a home that contains toxic materials into a healthful, environmentally responsible home.

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