You’ve taken the plunge! You’ve purchased your first home, a bigger home, or maybe the home of your dreams. Perhaps you’ve given some thought to decorating, upgrading systems, and making your home the perfect oasis for you and your family.
As many of us now frequently consider the environment when making important decisions that could indeed affect “Mother Earth,” the time in your life when you’ve purchased a new property might be the time to start thinking about living “green”. There are a number of small – and large – things you can do to be kinder to the environment and to keep your family healthy, and right after you purchase a home – when you’re adding your own touches and so forth – is a good time to institute some of those green things.
Use non-toxic paint
Did you know that traditional latex and oil paints can leak harmful gases that can cause health problems for those who live inside your home? It’s true, but there are a number of excellent options that can assist you in avoiding point toxins. Choose No-VOC and Green Seal-certified paints as you begin to decorate your new home. These paints don’t contain any heavy metals or carcinogens or any other environmentally-harmful compounds that simply aren’t healthy for you or the world around you. These paint types are readily-available, similar in price to traditional paints, and easy to use.
Install healthy flooring
If you’re redoing the floors in any of the rooms in your home, consider something other than carpet, which holds allergens, and vinyl flooring, which contains large amounts of formaldehyde as well as several other chemicals. Instead, look for real wood, linoleum, cork, tile, or stone when choosing floor materials. If you’re choosing wood products, look for sustainably-grown hardwood or CARB-compliant woods. Usually, your flooring dealer can point you to environmentally-sound products, and many will be stamped with labels that declare them to be ecologically-safe and good for your family’s overall health as well.
Consider a whole-house water filter
Rather than just putting filters on your kitchen faucet or elsewhere in your home, consider purchasing and installing a whole-house water filtration system. This provides clean, healthy water from every tap in your home, greatly reducing the amount of mercury, lead, chlorine, pesticides, and VOCs you’ll consume. The cost is under $1000 for a system that should last the average household for about 10 years.
Upgrade your HVAC filters
While you should always be diligent about changes in your HVAC filters, it’s a wise idea to consider HEPA filters, especially if you or members of your family deal with respiratory issues such as asthma or chronic or seasonal allergies. A HEPA filter is especially effective in homes with pets and smokers because the fine mesh filter can trap pet dander and tobacco smoke.
Think about solar panels
Finally, choosing solar panels provides you with completely clean electricity and that wonderful feeling that you’re genuinely making your home an eco-friendly place to live. Before you install, however, check local zoning laws, and if you have an HOA, read their guidelines to determine whether solar panels are allowed.
Remember, creating a green home is so much more than just turning down the heat or turning off the AC. You can make “green” a part of your everyday life by making just a few tweaks in your home and in the way you live. For more information on sustainable products or services in your area, check with your realtor, who can often refer you to reputable companies and tradespeople that possess the same eco-friendly goals as you do.