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Living the green way

published: 2015-02-16 12:17

When you live a green lifestyle you not only have a positive effect on the environment, you also see a reduction in the costs required to maintain a household. You might be surprised by just how much energy is being wasted in your home through cracks, air leaks, and poor insulation. An energy audit conducted by a green builder can help you access where your home loses the most energy.

Solar window array. (Photo Credit: Michael Shealy via Flicker)

Improve insulation

Older homes may be lacking in proper insulation, in extreme cases there may be no insulation other than the air space between the interior and exterior walls. While you might think that the only way that you can improve insulation is by tearing up your walls, that is simply not true. There are many methods of insulation that can be utilized in a home, with little intrusion. Foam insulation can be sprayed between walls through small holes that can be easily concealed after application. Recycled paper sprayed with fire retardant can be blown into attic crawl spaces. Any improvement in insulation will result in lower heating and cooling costs throughout the year.

Replace older windows, add shutters, or both

Older windows are often single paned. Over time, the seals around the glass can begin to fail, letting in a lot of air. In order to solve this problem, windows should be resealed with caulk or other approved materials. If you can't bear to part with older windows, adding fashionable shutters can help increase the energy efficiency of your home. Of course, the best option is to replace older windows with modern double paned and argon filled windows, and also to add shutters. This will ensure that your window area is as energy efficient as possible.

Choose green cleaners and products

Just because a product is green does not mean that it does not pack the cleaning power of its chemical peers. Even using a few cleaners can expose your family to a myriad of chemicals that can even lead to allergic reactions. Choose green cleaners on the understanding that they are produced in an environmentally sustainable manner with no animal testing. You can also use products such as orange oil, vinegar, borax, and others, to mix your own natural cleaners. There are many websites online dedicated to this subject. Mixing your own can help mitigate the extra cost involved with the production of green cleaning supplies.

Reusable shopping bags and buying foods with less packaging

One of the easiest ways for households to reduce waste is by the use of reusable shopping and produce bags. Many supermarkets provide these for very little cost but you can also make your own out of material scraps. Reusable produce bags are also very handy to have since so much produce is bought that has to be put in a separate bag and weighed.

Starting small

Making greener choices for your household can take some time to implement. Beginning with small changes and moving on to larger ones can help ensure that you stick with your new green plan. Before you know it, you will be saving time and money while helping take care of the natural environment around you. A greener household is a choice to invest in the wellbeing of future generations.

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