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Guest Blogger: How to Assess the Eco-Friendliness of Your Home

Guest Blogger #991, Entry #2541, June 19, 2013

The prospect of adopting a green lifestyle has become rather trendy over the past several years. The result of this surge in popularity has been promising; more and more people are spreading the word about environmental awareness and urging consumers to take control of their future via the products and services they choose to support. Of course, this has changed the market for such consumer goods, raising production and lowering costs so that nearly everyone can now afford to make at least a modicum of change in their own lives on the eco-friendly front. And when it comes to your home, there is no shortage of ways to cut your carbon footprint and jump aboard the eco-friendly bandwagon. But before you get started, you might just want to take the time to consider what you’ve currently got going on in your home. Here are just a few tips to help you make such an assessment.

eco-friendly kitchen

Eco-friendly kitchen ideas

Image via: Alison Glen

What level of eco-friendliness is your home? 

Your main difficulty with looking for ways to determine the relative eco-friendliness of your home is knowing what is considered green and what isn’t. Often, homes employ some environmentally sound practices without even realizing it. For example, you probably conserve energy to some degree, simply because it is economical to do so. If you tell the kids to turn the lights off when they leave a room and you’ve set your computer to go into sleep mode when inactive for a few minutes, then you are practicing an eco-friendly activity and saving energy within the home. That said, most modern homes are not inherently geared towards environmental preservation. So the first step towards making an assessment could be to start following green blogs so that you can begin to get an idea of the scope of green living.

Conserving Energy & your Carbon Debt

Once you’ve started to understand the many ways in which you could transform your home to make it do more for the world around you, it will be a little easier to make a clear assessment of just how high your carbon debt is. From there you can begin to consider upgrades that will help you to conserve energy (CFLs, programmable thermostat, energy-star appliances, tankless water heater, etc.) and water (low-flow toilets, aerated faucets, drought-resistant landscaping, and a gray water system). And you can start to look at the products you bring into your home every day, like the food and clothing you buy for your family, as well as furniture and housewares.

eco-friendly bathroom finishes

Eco-friendly finishes can enhance any room

Image via: Catherine Monaghan of Kitchens Southwest

Of course, remodeling and repairs will also provide you with the opportunity to turn over a new leaf since you can replace outdated goods with greener items. You might install organic or recycled-fiber insulation and double-paned glass to cut down on your need to generate hot and cold air. Or you could use reclaimed hardwood for cabinetry and flooring. Some products, like your furnace and AC unit, may even allow for a transfer of warranty so that the chain of title allows the homeowners after you to continue to benefit from energy-saving models for years to come. Although it’s not always easy to turn an objective eye on your lifestyle, it’s important to do your part to protect the environment, especially when you own a home and you have total control over how eco-friendly your property is.

For more green living ideas on Stagetecture, click here.

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Stagetecture combines my passions - architecture, home staging, organization, food recipes, decor, and everything home! Poke around, stay awhile, there's something here for you!

-Ronique Gibson, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP

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