Your eco-friendly green home

green home

When I was in junior high school, my dad painted our house green. That’s not what we mean by a green home today, is it? We mean a sustainable home. Today, you can build a new home to earn LEED certification. (That’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design.You can read more about it in my post How to have an awesome sustainable home.) LEED is green, but can you have a green home that wasn’t built that way? 

Yes, but you probably can’t get it as green as a LEED-built home. On the other hand, you can make it more eco-friendly all at once or gradually, depending on your budget and tolerance for disturbance.

If you live in an apartment, you don’t have as much freedom to make alterations, but you can still make your home greener with sustainable practices at home. After all, a green home means a new way of thinking and living as much as a new way of building or remodeling.

Today, compared to a standard home, a green home means one that

  • uses less energy, water, and other natural resources 
  • is healthier to live in
  • costs less to live in

A resource-efficient green home

If you build a LEED home, it will have an energy-efficient HVAC system and water-saving plumbing. If you are renovating and do not need to replace these major systems, you can still make your home more energy-efficient. For one thing, you can make your existing HVAC system run more efficiently simply by installing a programmable thermostat. You can even save energy in your choices of window treatments

The Energy Star program certifies energy efficient appliances, building materials (doors, windows, and insulation), electronic gadgets, office equipment, and more. Energy Star-rated products cost more up front than products that lack the certification, but they cost less to operate. They will save money by saving energy. 

As for water, modern building codes require low-flow fixtures. If you live in an older home, your fixtures waste a lot of water. For example, toilets once used as much as 5 gallons per flush. Modern ones use only about a gallon and a half. Even something as simple as getting new low-flow shower heads enhances sustainability at home. 

Bosch WAT28401UC 500 2.2 Cu. Ft. White Stackable Front Load Washer – Energy Star

High Sierra’s Solid Metal Handheld Low Flow Shower Head Kit

BAXIA TECHNOLOGY BX-SL-101 Solar Lights Outdoor 28 LED Wireless Waterproof
Security Solar Motion Sensor Lights, (400LM, 4 Packs)

A healthy green home

Indoor can often be more polluted than outdoor air. Nowadays, we try to eliminate drafts by sealing the inside off from the outside. That means that indoor air pollutants have nowhere to go. 

Therefore using paints, carpeting, and upholstery that emits volatile organic compounds can make you sick. A green home doesn’t use any building materials that have these toxins. 

It also combines natural ventilation with a mechanical heating and cooling system. 

A cost-efficient green home

It might cost more to build a sustainable home. It certainly costs a lot to make a standard home green. But after all that work is done, the home costs less to live in. For one thing, it can use up to 40% less energy. Cooling and heating a home accounts for  20% of America’s annual energy use. Our appliances and gadgets use a lot, too. 

How much do they use? Check out our Electricity Cost Calculator. Once you know what they cost to operate, you can make some decisions. Maybe it makes sense to replace them with something more energy efficient. Maybe it doesn’t. Or maybe you might decide to use some of your things less or use something else you already have instead.

Often, green homes take advantage of alternative energy, such as solar, biomass, geothermal, or even small wind turbines. Once these systems are in place, the sun and wind are free. These systems further reduce reliance on electric and gas utilities. Short of installing any of these systems, you can make your home more eco-friendly by using outdoor solar LED lights. They do not get electricity from the grid.

A sustainable home may also have some less obvious cost benefits. With a healthier home, you’ll spend less on doctors and medicine. You might be able to get a green-home discount on your insurance policy. Or even your mortgage. Because green building and remodeling use durable and high-quality materials, you’ll pay less for repairs. 

And when it comes time to sell your home, it will bring a higher price.

Other environmental benefits

 If you are planning major renovations, green homes use fewer natural resources than conventional homes. Instead, they use sustainable building materials, including recycled materials or materials salvaged from demolition projects. For natural resources, they often use bamboo or other fast-growing, renewable material. They use wood certified as environmentally responsible by the Forest Stewardship Council.

Finally, green building or remodeling generates less waste than conventional practices. Landfills everywhere are grateful for your commitment to sustainability at home.

Shop related products:

The Visual Handbook of Energy Con-
servation: A Comprehensive Guide to
Reducing Energy Use at Home /
Charlie Wing

How to Build With Bamboo: 19 Projects You Can Do at Home Paperback / Jo Sheer

Honeywell TH9320WF5003 Wi-Fi Touch Screen Programmable Thermostat
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