Living in Green: 7 Ways to be More Earth Friendly at Home

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If your goal for Spring is to go green, there are many easy ways to make your home and lifestyle more sustainable. From simple swaps like ditching harsh chemical cleaners for natural alternatives, to changing your lightbulbs to power savings LEDs, these small differences add up to one big payoff – better living.

With modern advancements, we no longer have to choose between sustainability and quality. So next time you’re faced with two options, do yourself a favor and go with something that contributes to your health as well as the well-being of the planet. If you’re ready to take the leap, join us as we go through the seven best ways to give yourself and your home an eco-friendly makeover.

Build a Strong Foundation by Choosing Sustainable Woods

Close up of quality, natural wood flooringNot long ago, builders and furniture makers simply went out and purchased wood. They paid no care to where it came from or how it was sourced. But with the current ecological climate as it is, deforestation and concern for native habitats on the rise, vendors have realized the importance of selling and producing eco-conscious products. Although it sounds counterintuitive, sustainably sourced wood is a great option when it comes to making green choices.

You may be asking yourself, what classifies wood as sustainable? The answer isn’t as straightforward as you think. While all trees will grow back, given a proper amount of time and energy, some grow much faster than others. Sustainable woods are also grown in habitats that are carefully monitored for changes and signs of imbalance. Suppressed timber, which comes from trees removed from overly dense forests, is also a smart choice.

Invest in Floors That Last

For flooring, other great options include Bamboo, Cherry, Maple, Birch, Doug Fir, and Oak. Fortunately, the reclaimed and industrial trend is still going strong. As the name implies, timber salvaged from river bottoms, old buildings, trees and other locations are great material sources for wood floors and custom pieces. Their unique colors, tones, and textures make this resource an excellent option for adding visual warmth to the home. From wide plank to restored vintage parquet, wood floors are an investment that will pay for themselves.

Embrace That Vintage Charm

Cabinets, dressers, headboards and many other beautiful wood items can last for generations when carefully looked after. Choose pieces that have been crafted with quality techniques like dovetailed or mortise and tenon joints. Check that pieces are carefully sanded and stained on the back. All exposed parts should be fitted and beautiful from every angle, ensuring it will stay sturdy through years of use.

For furniture, invest in high-quality classic pieces that will stand the test of time. By choosing timeless designs in rich materials, pieces can be restored, renewed and refreshed as the years go by. Not only will they get better with age, but quality pieces can stand being refinished when they start to show wear. Instead of buying something new, choose a piece you can cherish and keep your tastes and styles evolve. Vintage or antique pieces fit the bill, as they’ve already proven their time-tested durability.

Soft, fluffy white bedding

Refresh Your Fabrics

But green choices don’t have to be limited to couches, chairs, and tables, consider your linens as well. Check the labels on rugs, sheets, and towels to see exactly what they’re made of and where they come from. Organically sourced, pesticide-free wool is cool and long wearing as well as hypoallergenic. Cotton, bamboo, and rayon are also sustainable choices. Over the years, even some makers of synthetic fabrics, like polyester, have started producing materials made from plastic items like recycled water bottles and fishing nets from our oceans.

Light Up Your Life With LED

Lighting is one of the easiest places to start saving energy. One way to reduce your energy bill and help the environment is to replace all halogen lights with Light Emitting Diode bulbs, commonly known as LEDs. They use at least 75% less energy than traditional bulbs and are said to last longer and burn cooler, all while giving off the same number of lumens.

Having a longer lifespan means that fewer bulbs end up in landfills as they rarely need to be replaced. If you’re hesitant to make the switch based on the false notion that LEDs give off a harsh and unflattering light, think again. LEDs have come a long way since they initially hit the market. They now come in a variety of different wattages and hues and can more easily mimic the preferred, warm, yellow-based light given off by traditional light bulbs

Cultivate Your Green Thumb

When to comes to adding plants to your home, more is more. The benefits offered by indoor plants are endless. In addition to adding an organic element to the room, plants have been proven to purify the air, provide mood-boosting benefits and can even lessen feelings of sickness and depression. While indoor plants don’t usually require much care — or water for that matter — outdoor plants are another story entirely.

Leaves of an aloe vera plant

According to the EPA, almost 30 percent of water consumed daily in the United States is due to outdoor uses, especially irrigation. Make your yard more sustainable by switching out thirsty plants for something native and drought resistant. From cactus to bougainvillea, agave, and lavender, the diverse selection of plants available offers options for any garden. Check your local nurseries for a native and adapted plants section.

Upgrade Your Appliances

We love the idea of using vintage items in your home – not when it comes to appliances. Modern-day units offer more than just the ability to get the job done. Today’s homes are equipped with a barrage of different units that do everything from monitor water use when doing laundry, to adjusting your home’s temperature via Bluetooth. Smart home technology allows for greater freedom, increased convenience and lower energy use overall.

When you’re looking to upgrade your appliances, look for those that boasts an Energy Star rating. For example, Energy Star rated dishwashers use an average of only 5.8 gallons of water per cycle, while older models can consume up to 10! Not only are these modern iterations less wasteful, but they run quieter, clean better and last longer than their older counterparts.

The same goes for fridges, heaters and laundry units. If upgrading isn’t in the cards just yet, make sure that your appliances stay clean and are well maintained. Vacuum the lint from dryers, make sure ducting stays clean and replace filters on HVAC systems. Also, check with your local utility company as it may offer rebates for purchasing Energy Star appliances.

Spread The Word and Get Out There

From upgrading our homes to driving a hybrid car, there are so many things we can do to embrace the use of eco-friendly living. But even with all these upgrades, the most important thing to remember is to spread the word.

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Whether you get involved with your community, join a bike to work program, start rideshare or head your neighborhood garden, instilling the value of taking care of the planted is a priceless tool. Let the green choices you make be an example to others and take it one step at a time. Significant changes start with simple decisions, so get out there and show us how you go green.
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