5 Big Green Changes for Your Home

5 Big Green Changes for Your Home

Going green usually means making small changes to your everyday life: we replace disposables with reusable items, toss toxic chemicals in the trash, or bike to the store. But what if you want to do more? When you’re ready to expand your green lifestyle, your home is a great place to start. To help you, we’ve put together our list of five big changes that will make your home clean, green, efficient, and safe.

1. Reuse greywater

America has one of the largest water footprints of any country – the average family of four sends over 400 gallons of water a day down the drain. But not all that water is the same: waste water contaminated with fecal matter or food waste (known as black water) requires intense treatment before it can be released into the environment or reused, but other waste water from sinks, washing machines, and showers (called greywater) is much less polluted. In most cases, all this water is mixed together before it makes its way to a water treatment plant, but it’s possible to capture the greywater in your home for reuse. You can install a system that will use dirty sink water to flush your toilet or separate plumbing can be put in to capture, filter, and store greywater that can then be used for irrigation or in the bathroom. Even small systems can reduce your family’s water use by over 20 gallons a day!

From Greenhome: Home greywater system

2. Get cork floors

Carpets provide a number of advantages, but they can also be a source of trouble for allergy sufferers. All those tiny fibers capture pollutants as they settle from the air, which means that every time you walk across your carpet you’re stirring up clouds of pet dander, pollen, and mold spores. If vacuuming isn’t enough for you, consider switching to clean, all-natural cork flooring. It’s softer and warmer than tile, and it’ll make it easy to keep your home clean and allergen free. Plus you’ll also be avoiding the dangers of synthetic pressed-wood options like laminate that are made with formaldehyde, a dangerous VOC.

From Greenhome: Cork flooring

3. Filter your water

Most of us are fortunate enough to have easy access to treated water, but even the highest-quality tap water will still carry contaminants like chlorine, lead, and pesticides. The best way to get the water in your home as clean as it can be is to install water filters on your taps, hoses, and showerheads. Look for reverse osmosis filters that also use activated charcoal to ensure you’re getting rid of stubborn pollutants like VOCs and bacteria.

From Greenhome: Reverse osmosis filter; dechlorinating showerhead filter; dechlorinating hose filter

4. Put in a Skylight

What better way to light your home than with the power of the sun? When you put in a skylight you’ll be reducing your energy use while brightening your home with beautiful, natural light. They can be surprisingly easy to install and are perfect for dark corners of the house like hallways, closets, and bathrooms.

From Greenhome: Sun tunnel skylight

5. Use a Solar exhaust fan

A hot, poorly-ventilated attic can add hundreds to a home electric bill. During the summer months, the sun heats up your roof (especially if it’s black), which in turn transfers that heat to the air inside your home. This effect can last into the night as well, since the heat trapped in your roof will continue to warm the attic long after the sun has gone down. An exhaust fan is a simple way to circulate the air in your attic and decrease the strain on your air conditioner. You can lower yours home’s reliance on environmentally damaging energy sources even more by using solar power. These fans are also a cheap, eco-friendly way to cool other areas like sheds, lofts, and garages.

From Greenhome: Solar attic fan; solar exhaust fan

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