View into Living Room from Patio of Modern House

Green and Easy

Clean your air ducts, change your light bulbs

If someone said you could save money, save the planet, and increase the value of your home all at once, you’d perk up and listen, wouldn’t you?

Well, that someone is right at your fingertips:  the Environmental Protection Agency.

If you’re interested in “greening” your home, you’ll want to check them out. Their website offers solutions for integrating green methods at any stage of homeownership, whether you’re building from the ground up, renovating, or just looking for some quick-fix improvements.  They even have a “Renters Checklist” page on their website in case you want to investigate and assess the green features of potential rental units.

 Here, we present ten easy fixes you can make in your home right now:

  • Switch to energy saving light bulbs – They use 25 to 80 percent less energy than traditional bulbs, and they can last up to 25 times longer.
  • Clean your heating and cooling system filters, and have them maintained annually by a qualified contractor. Typically, 20 percent of air is lost through leaks and poorly sealed ducts.
  • Program thermostats to regulate your home’s temperature.
  • Repair all leaks in toilets, faucets, showerheads, and pipes.
  • Use a low-flow showerhead to lower water usage by 25 to 60 percent.
  • Replace old faucet aerators with newer, more efficient ones.
  • Clean with products whose labels include: low-VOC, readily biodegradable, bio-based (e.g. pine or citrus), and solvent free.
  • Plug electronics into a power strip, and turn strip off when not in use.
  • Use durable and reusable items (e.g. rags, sponges, or mops) for cleaning chores, rather than disposable paper products. When purchasing necessary paper products, such as toilet paper, buy recycled.

The great thing about these fixes is that you can make most them even if you’re renting. As for the rest, like leaky faucets and filter maintenance, you can probably talk your landlord into making these improvements, especially if you’re armed with money-saving statistics.

Stay tuned for further posts on how to go deeper in the greening of your home.

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Elizabeth Salaam
Along with her work as Senior Contributing Writer for Girl's Guide, Elizabeth Salaam writes for the San Diego Reader. Her work has also been published in Elle Magazine. | Most inspired by: Contradictions. | Favorite room in my home: The Master suite. The windows have views for days! | Best design idea I may never do: Adorn my enclosed toilet room with library book wallpaper and a chandelier. | Will never: Bungee jump. | Have always been: Rebellious. | Dying to: Live in a Paris flat with herringbone wood floors.
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