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Making Your New Home Green

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As you settle into your home, think about ways to make it green. You can purchase items made from sustainable resources, use eco-friendly cleaning products, and make your home more energy efficient.
One of the most key elements of going green is consistency; you can spend one day or do one act that is environmentally conscious, but the only way to really have an impact is to change your behavior. Also, the more publicly people change their lifestyles, the more that is going to speak as an example to others. It’s more effective than just talking. Now that you’ve moved into your new home, you have an opportunity to start fresh and to make your life a little greener.

Room by Room

Kitchen

Many of the ways to have a more eco-friendly kitchen are pretty much standard at this point. For one thing, having recycling bins for bottles, cans, and paper is almost a no-brainer. If you want to take out the garbage even less often, start a compost pile with the organic waste you’d normally throw out. You can also consider reusing certain store-bought food containers (like glass jars) for storage instead of getting rid of them. Harmful chemicals can be bad for the atmosphere, environment, and even your family.

TIP: There are a number of eco-friendly cleaning products available at the supermarket. You can even make your own eco-friendly products out of common household items like vinegar and baking soda.

As far as cooking is concerned, you are going to reduce your carbon footprint by making food fresh instead of heating prepared meals; a lot of energy is used getting them made, frozen, and shipped to the store. If you happen to be cooking food that was grown in your own garden, you’re doing even better!

Bedroom

When choosing your bedding, there are green options open to you. Organic fabric (whether cotton, hull, or buckwheat) is sold all over. Furnishing your room with natural wood or using second-hand furniture will give the environment a break by not adding fumes from varnish and finish to the air. There are furniture makers who use recycled or reclaimed wood and those who adhere to eco-friendly practices; purchase new furniture from one of these businesses. If you are going to paint your bedroom, look for paints with low VOC (volatile organic compound) levels. These are present in any kind of paint, as VOCs can be synthetic or natural. Opting for rugs made of natural fibers instead of carpeting and using energy-saving light bulbs are also going to make a difference.

Bathroom

The most impact that your bathroom has on the environment is in how much water you go through in there. Between the shower, the sink, and the toilet, there’s a lot of conservation that can be done. Part of that is simply using them less (cutting down on shower time, not leaving the faucet running while shaving or brushing teeth, etc.), but there are hardware changes that can make a difference too: for instance, low-flow showerheads and low-flow flush systems. if you are redecorating, purchase eco-friendly cabinets. Start showering with natural soaps, shampoos, and loofahs, and you’ll be cutting down on consumption of chemical products that harm the environment as well.

Other tips

"Lifestyle" is a pretty all-encompassing word. There is no way to cover every method of green living here. However, there are a few more things that are worth mentioning.
  • You can make pet care greener by buying organic food and eco-friendly cleaning products and toys.
  • Starting a garden is a great-looking and fun way to give something back to the environment.
  • Try and build good habits at work by reusing and recycling.
  • Make your commute more environmentally friendly; take public transportation or carpool.
  • At the supermarket, bring your own cloth bags. As much as possible, support local and organic farms.
Change can be tough. On the other hand, knowing that you are making positive alterations to how you live makes the process that much more rewarding and easier to stick with. After your move, turn over a new leaf, so to speak, and go green!

Patrick Hanan  Posted by Patrick Hanan on January 11, 2010

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