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Living greener can benefit both you and the environment. One of the best ways to adopt an eco-friendlier lifestyle is by making some modifications around your home that will be better for the ecosystem. Here are four tips to turn your home into a safer setting for the planet. Various appliance and utility options will save you long-run costs, make your home more sustainable to maintain, and help the environment. Here are just four options to get you started on improving your home. Switch to an Energy-Efficient HVAC System Some of the best heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to be developed in recent years are designed specifically to save energy. The standards for energy efficiency in HVAC systems in general have been raised, making more modern systems more cost effective and more environmentally friendly. Even with the reduction in energy use, your home’s indoor temperatures and air quality will still be regulated properly with the right system. Many of the top-rated HVAC systems nowadays feature programmable thermostats that can be set to turn on and shut off automatically instead of running continuously and wasting energy. Build with Recyclable Materials If you’re looking for additions to your home or trying to build a new home from scratch, using recyclable materials will put less strain on the planet’s natural resources. CBS News reports that certain homes are made from bricks that consist of glass, clay, and ceramics. Some of the remnants from demolished houses can also be salvaged and used to construct a new home. Recycled steel for the supports are both affordable and eco-friendly, and recycled timber can be used for new floors, cabinets, ceilings, and anywhere that new timber could be used. These recycled materials often are more durable, as well, making them both cheaper to buy and cheaper to maintain, as well as being more environmentally friendly. Install a Domestic Sewage System Human waste that travels through your pipes into a public sewage system may end up being untreated and released into local rivers or lakes or the ocean. To prevent this problem, you can have a domestic treatment tank installed on your property. For domestic use, miniature sewage system plants are installed underground on your property, safely treating and disposing of your home’s wastes. They are cost-effective, as well, as you only need them cleaned every 3-5 years, and otherwise are their own little ecosystem, using natural bacteria to maintain themselves. Use Native Plants to Decorate Your Yard As lawns and gardens are becoming more lavish, more foreign plants are being introduced to environments that they are either ill-suited to or else could dominate. Seeds from non-native plants can spread to the local environment and create harmful competition for the natural plant life in the area. Not only are native plants safer for the surrounding ecosystem, but they also won’t need as many resources to survive, as they are able to draw from the natural environment around them. Native plants are also likelier to have adapted to surviving local pest infestations and won’t require the use of as many pesticides. Overall, using plants that are native to your area is more cost effective and safer for the surrounding ecosystem than bringing in foreign plants. While not all aspects of maintaining the environment can be controlled by individual homeowners, there are some small decisions in the construction and maintenance of your home that can majorly impact the environment for better or worse. With the right modifications, you’ll be able to turn your home into a setting that helps promote more longevity for the earth and your family.
BrookeChaplan posted a blog entry in Brooke Chaplan's Green BlogAs winter rolls in, many people find their energy bills rising quickly. While it may be difficult to warm your home throughout the winter without seeing some increase in your energy bill, there are several things you can do to conserve energy throughout the winter. Remove Phantom Power Users Phantom power users are devices and appliances that use small amounts of power whenever they’re plugged in, even when they’re not in use. To prevent this, attach your gaming systems, televisions, and other similar items to power strips and turn the strip off when they aren’t in use. Get used to shutting your computer down completely when you aren’t using it. Turn off appliances that aren’t being used. Phantom power can add a significant amount to your energy bill each month and is particularly wasteful because the power is being wasted without any of the benefits of using the device. Have Maintenance Done Even if you don’t do it every year, which is advisable, you should still call out professionals like Classic Air and Heating to inspect and maintain your air system. During the maintenance process, your system will be cleaned and examined to ensure that it’s performing at its optimal level. As a result, your unit won’t have to work too hard to warm your home. Drop the Temperature Every degree that you drop the temperature in your home throughout the winter could save as much as 3% on your energy bill. Even reducing the temperature overnight, when you’re wrapped up in bed anyway, can make a substantial difference in your energy costs. You don’t have to freeze yourself out, but if you keep the temperature a few degrees lower and bundle up a bit, you’ll save money and energy all winter long. Invest in a Programmable Thermostat A programmable thermostat will allow you to reduce the temperature in your home when you aren’t there, saving on your energy costs while still keeping your home comfortable when you’re at home. Many models can even be controlled by your phone. It’s not hard to see that you can save money and energy by only running the heater in preparation for being home and not when you know you’ll be gone. Many smart thermostats also integrate into smart home systems that allow you to turn on and off different lights and fixtures to save even more energy. Block Unused Rooms If there are rooms in your home that you don’t use on a regular basis, close the door and block the bottom of the door with a towel or blanket. This will stop heat and cold from that room interfering with the thermostat readings. The more space you have in your home, the quicker the heat can dissipate. Closing off rooms allows your thermostat to take its readings based on the temperature of the main spaces of your home. Additionally, you’ll want to keep doors to high traffic areas open so air can circulate easier. Seal Doors and Windows Small leaks and drafts can add up quickly as the warm air inside your home is replaced with cold outdoor air. Take the time to caulk around drafts in your windows and, if necessary, purchase a seal to place against your doors. This especially important at night, when temperatures drop. Controlling your energy costs throughout the winter doesn’t have to be your biggest challenge of the year. By implementing these simple tricks, you can watch your energy usage decrease and your energy bills become easier to handle.