How to Make Your Home Green and Healthy
Guest article | 30 January 2013
For many individuals, worries about the home…
…are not limited to its attractiveness or overall appeal
For many individuals, worries about the home are not limited to its attractiveness or overall appeal. Businesses offering healthier and greener homes are now booming thanks to a changing culture and an awareness of our home environment, and how it impacts on our health. You may want a healthier home that is more comfortable for family members with asthma or allergies, as well as aiming to reduce your carbon footprint. There are many ways to radically change your home to make it more energy efficient, more environmentally friendly and even healthier. If you are ready to make the upgrade to a healthier and greener home today, then read on to learn more.
Reduce Electricity Consumption
One of the best ways to make your home greener is to use less energy in the home. The most obvious way to do this is to buy appliances that are energy efficient, and use them sparingly. In addition, you can use less heating or air conditioning during the day. By setting the thermostat in your home just a degree or two higher during Summer, or cooler in the Winter, you can save a substantial amount of electricity, and reduce your costs, over time.
Seek Out Alternative Energy Sources
Another way to reduce consumption of electricity in the home is to seek out alternative energy sources. Both solar and wind power are great ways to avoid electricity or gas use, and it is easier than you might think to get started. More than four million Australians have solar panels on their homes, and government incentives can make the project even more appealing. While the initial costs of setting up a solar panel or a wind turbine are both high, the benefits of reduced energy costs make the investment more than worth the expense.
Eliminate Allergens With Smarter Flooring
Young children and the elderly can both suffer from severe respiratory problems as a result of too much dust in the air, and anyone with allergies or asthma can also be uncomfortable or have trouble breathing. Hard flooring, such as vinyl design flooring, will be much easier to keep clean and free from dust. Carpet flooring, on the other hand, stores dust in large quantities and exposes residents to allergens throughout the night. In addition, vinyl flooring is often more affordable and easier to install than carpet. Keep in mind that some hard flooring types can contain volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, which can also trigger allergies and respiratory problems. Vinyl designer flooring is overall the healthiest choice.
Choosing the Ideal Window Coverings
There is an ongoing debate over whether blinds or curtains are the smartest window treatment option. Curtains tend to be less energy efficient, and they are more likely to let in additional solar and heat gain from the exterior. This makes curtains less desirable in climates with high temperatures for much of the year. Blinds, on the other hand, can block out the sun more effectively. In addition, they are adjustable so that you can choose how much sunlight to let in the home. Unfortunately, however, blinds are not ideal for asthma sufferers. Dust collects quickly on the small slats of blinds, making curtains a healthier choice in certain cases. The best solution, if you can afford the considerable outlay, is to opt for double glazed windows.
Use Sustainable Building and Remodeling Materials
Many of the most commonly used home improvement and building materials are surprisingly harmful for the environment. Thankfully, there are a number of alternatives that can make your home a safer and greener place to live. Recycled materials or reclaimed wood can be a great way to avoid using precious natural resources. When choosing lumber, a smart choice is a fast-growing tree like bamboo, which is both affordable and sustainable. For home building, choose structurally insulated panels, which can go on to save you huge amounts of money in the future. This incredible insulation can mean that homeowners use less than half the air conditioning of an average family. Environmentally friendly and sustainable materials can be slightly more expensive overall, but you will find that they end up saving you money in the long run.
Using these helpful tips can make a big difference in your home. Sustainable or recyclable materials are environmentally friendly options, reducing energy consumption or seeking out solar alternatives helps to reduce your monthly energy bills and opting for curtains and hard flooring over blinds and carpets can drastically improve the air quality. Even if you can’t tackle everything on this list, make an effort to focus on just one or two in order to upgrade your home.
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