Making the choice to live more sustainably is both responsible and rewarding. Of course, while it might be easy to change some small daily habits, tackling the task of making your home more eco-friendly can seem pretty intimidating—especially if you don’t have the right tricks up your sleeve. Luckily, taking on one smaller project at a time is a great way to slowly but surely get your home into tip-top, eco-friendly shape.
1. Warm up with Mother Nature.
During colder months, your fireplace is likely your safe haven, providing warmth and the perfect lighting for a good reading session. However, most fireplaces are outdated and can be hard on the environment. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has several recommendations for making your fireplace more eco-friendly and efficient.
They suggest being particular with the wood (and pellets) you burn, making sure it’s dry or seasoned. It’s also important to weatherize your place by sealing and insulating cracks and crevices in your home, which can reduce your overall heating needs (and your monthly bill). They also suggest upgrading to a more eco-friendly, wood-burning fireplace that boasts the following benefits:
- 50 percent more energy efficient
- Saves you money, time, and other resources
- Uses 1/3 less wood fuel
- Reduces creosote build-up and chimney fire risks
- Reduces wood smoke pollution, including carbon dioxide, methane, and black carbon
- Can prevent fireplace-related health issues linked to cancer, asthma, and other serious conditions
2. Look down.
Floors go through a lot, what with being stepped and stomped and stood on day after day—which is why they inevitably end up (desperately) needing a facelift. So next time you’re considering what to do with your old floors, think about going a more eco-friendly route!
Some floor experts suggest the nail-down option for installing hardwood or bamboo floors: “This is the traditional method of installing hardwood or bamboo flooring, and it’s also the most economical method you can choose. The catch is that over a period of several years, the nails can loosen due to natural seasonal expansion and contraction from fluctuating humidity levels and result in a ‘squeaky’ floor.”
Other options include the glue-down method (which is the most stable method of installation but also the most expensive and labor-intensive) and the floating method (which works a lot like a puzzle). So if squeaky floors don’t bother you too much, then definitely take the more eco-friendly route. Plus, squeaky floors are a perfect opportunity to start working on your haunted house for Halloween.
3. The next green generation.
If upgrades aren’t in the budget right now, there are still (free) ways to be more eco-friendly in your home. One cheap way is to simply teach your kids the importance of conserving energy and other resources. While you might already have a few house rules in place (such as turning off the lights when you leave a room) teaching kids why it’s important to be more conscious of the environment can help them grow into crucial protectors of Mother Nature.
A good place to start is by simply explaining energy efficiency. Sitting down to explain what energy is, where it comes from, how we use, and why it’s important to limit its use can help kids understand their role within the environment. It can also lead to better habits around the house, as we tend to make better decisions when we understand their importance. Get creative with stories, experiments, or even crafts. However you get your kids involved, just do it! The earth will surely thank you.
Going green can seem intimidating at first, especially within your home. However, with a few simple changes and upgrades, you can take your home to the next green level, saving resources, energy, and money. Some upgrades can be costly and require some saving up, but ultimately making those sacrifices now can lead to a better, greener future. Good luck!
AUTHOR: FRANKIE WALLACE
Frankie Wallace contributes to a wide variety of blogs and writes about many different topics, including politics and environmental protection. Wallace currently resides in Boise, Idaho and is a recent graduate of the University of Montana.