You can learn to live "green" by adopting new habits and ideas that not only reduce the impact our lifestyles have on our planet, but create a healthier home environment. Here are some easy tips for living green in your new home:
Ceiling fans are far more energy efficient, economical, and quieter than air-conditioning units and they can cool almost any home if placed properly. It's a good idea to put one above each bed for comfortable sleeping. A much overlooked but practical space for a ceiling fan is in the stairwell because it assists with the overall cooling of your home and in the winter you can reverse the blade direction to help keep warm air on the main floor.
For some great tips to improve indoor air quality in your home like proper ventilation, check out the cool interactive home tour by GREENGUARD Environmental Institute. You'll find recommendations for some great eco-friendly building products as you click through each room.
When it comes time to clearing you lot, be sure to keep as many trees as possible close to where your home will be built. Trees are like natural air conditioners because they provide shade. A shaded house can be 10 degrees cooler than a house in direct sunlight.
Give your dryer a vacation by installing a clothesline (either the traditional long line or the more compact umbrella style) or incorporating a drying station in your laundry room design. If you like the idea of fast, free and fresh drying, but are concerned with the crisp texture of line drying, simply soften towels, socks and jeans with a 5-minute tumble in the dryer.
You'll find that there are lots of eco-friendly products to choose from when you begin building your new home. The more natural products that go into building your home, the healthier it will be. One product that is hard to overlook is wood. Wood floors will keep you warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
Once your home is built, it is important that you maintain it daily by using eco-friendly cleaning products. One of the most basic cleaning products are vinegar and baking soda, but thanks to most cleaning manufactures offering a green line of products, you can choose from a variety of your favorite brands.
Be sure that your windows are designed properly because by controlling the size and location you can effectively manage the amount of light and heat they let inside during different times of the day. Simple steps like drawing the blinds or curtains on a hot day to keep the cool air in and hot air out or opening opposing windows so air flows more efficiently can greatly reduce energy costs.
One of the easiest things you can do to save on energy costs is to install CFLs (compact fluorescent lights). Another great idea is to use dimmers because you not only can control the look and ambiance of a room but the energy savings are great. Dimmers will double the life of your bulb and use less wattage. You can enjoy multiple uses in one room, by selecting different fixtures with dimmers. And if you have children, sensors are a great way to be sure lights aren't left turned on.
Make putting your house to bed a nightly routine, which includes turning off all lights and lamps (nightlights work great in hallways), turn off all electronics, check that all major appliances are shut down properly and lower your HVAC.