Making eco-friendly change to a home doesn’t have to involve tearing down your house and replacing it with a teepee on a grassy knoll. Instead, your house can often stay the same structurally while you replace the inside components of it with interior materials that won’t continue to add to landfills around the country. Best of all, many banks such as Wells Fargo offer home improvement loans that may cover part of your costs.
While it’s pretty much impossible to remove old, artificial insulation from a home’s walls due to drywall being installed in place, the attic insulation can definitely be reached and replaced. Frequently, homes are built with the minimum insulation needed, but it doesn’t mean that it’s the best. Replacing it with an alternate such as GreenFiber Cocoon can improve insulation performance significantly. That lowers both heating and cooling bills in terms of demands from utilities. The insulation itself is made from recycled newspapers and treated with fire retardant.
The Living Room
Choosing furniture inside that utilizes all-natural ingredients and components can make a big difference over time. If enough people push towards this type of furniture, it creates new demand, and furniture suppliers tend to start shifting inventory from items with artificial materials to items made of natural products. Further, when these furniture items do need to finally go to disposal, they won’t add to piles of trash that won’t go anywhere. Because the products have natural components, they will break down at landfills back into the soil.
Rugs and wood flooring offer big alternatives to artificial materials used in carpeting. Using all-natural fiber rugs, wood floors can still have areas with material covers while the main covering utilizes natural planks that can degrade and break down when they are finally removed.
Appliances can be huge energy hogs if they are not up to standard. So the first thing to check is to make sure appliances being used have an Energy Star rating and meet the latest standards. Keep in mind an appliance that is eight or ten years old is probably costing far more to maintain than a new one with better technology. So the refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher and similar should all be checked and swapped out where possible to improve energy efficiency. Enough of these improvements may qualify you for an energy efficient mortgage.
In terms of trash, most people think in terms of garbage cans and removing everything in a plastic bag to the outside can. However, plenty of food trash can be combined into a composting pail outside instead, and used as a natural fertilizer for planting. This practice has been used in farming for decades, and homeowners with lots of backyard garden areas can do the same. Further, there are bio-degradable garbage bags, so the mess can be hauled out of the house cleanly and put into a compost bin to then “cook” and break down to natural, mineral-rich compost for plants and shrubs.
Paul Everett is a writer currently based out of Manhattan. He works hard to keep his apartment as green & eco-friendly as possible.