Kermit the Frog sings a song called “It’s not easy being green” but environmentally friendly decorating is now easier than ever. Whether you are building a new home, renovating an existing space or making small decorating decisions, there are many options available toward obtaining the goal of living in a “green” house.
Try to research energy-wise choices in effective insulation and efficient heating and cooling equipment by asking for manufacturers’ environmental impact statements and install high performance windows that feature double panes that conduct heat at a lower rate and have a film coating that reflects heat. All these items not only help the environment but will save you money.
When remodeling an existing space, salvage materials for re-use or for donation to a de-construction service. And likewise, purchase new and used building materials from a restoration center. We are lucky enough to have two centers in our area – theReCONNstructionCenterinNew Britainand the ReStore Home Improvement Center inSpringfield,MA. And more locally – The Habitat for Humanity Restore in Cromwell.
Appliances, especially refrigerators are the single biggest consumer of electricity. If you are in the market for new appliances, visit www.energystar.gov for tips and information on energy efficient ratings. You can also purchase slightly damaged appliances at deep discounts.
Most major paint companies now produce finishes with low-odor and zero VOC’s (volatile organic compounds). These products meet environmental requirements without sacrificing durability and indoor air quality. And always check out store clearance rooms for such items as ceramic tiles, light fixtures and cabinets. These are often pieces that were never claimed or returned for various reasons.
Soft materials can also be considered for their environmental impact. Buy recycled carpeting or choose natural fiber rugs or abandon altogether for hard flooring to minimize allergens. When reupholstering a piece of furniture, look to natural textiles such as organic cotton, hemp or linen.
Before buying new, consider what you already have and see if it can be used in a different way. Re-use items in creative ways for your home but if you are buying any products, check to see if the product or its packaging can be recycled.
You may not be able to implement all of these ideas but they are a starting point. Creating a “green” house has many benefits to the homeowner from reducing the operating costs of the home by increasing efficiency, conserving natural resources, improving the quality of your life to even increasing the value of your home – all positive changes!
We all have a responsibility in preserving our planet and we can each take small steps toward that goal. You see, being green isn’t so hard after all!