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There are plenty of reasons to make your home eco-friendly. While reducing your humble abode's negative impact on the planet sounds like a lot of work, there are actually several easy ways to make it more environmentally safe and without breaking the bank.

Controlled Water Usage
Sensible water usage is the perfect place to start making your home environmentally friendly. When it comes to smart water usage, consider the following:

•  Wash your clothes in cold water and air dry them in order to help save energy, which will save you money.
•  Only run the clothes washer or dishwasher when you have full loads.
•  Repair leaky faucets, especially in drought prone locations.
•  Install water-saving toilets, low flow shower heads and install aerators in faucets
•  Place timers in the bathroom to keep showers shorter.
•  Outside of your home, plant native vegetation because they typically require less water, pesticides and fertilizer.
•  Wash your car on the lawn, and buy a hose nozzle that restricts the flow of the water.

Prevent Air Leaks
Insulate, repair, plug, replace all potential areas where the air within the home can escape, caulking around the windows, applying weather stripping around doors, leak proofing your home and watch your utility bills drop. Keeping warm and/or cold air from escaping your home will help keep the HVAC system from working so hard to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature.

Consider Composting
The food waste dumped in landfills produces methane, a toxic greenhouse gas. Composting your food scraps (except for meat) will help you reduce your carbon footprint. Coffee grounds, tea leaves, vegetable and fruit peelings, eggshells, just about any organic matter, can be placed in a backyard compost bin or pile. Combine it with yard trimmings and water and voila - you have a nourishing soil enhancer.

Let the Sun Shine In
The most environmentally sound and least expensive light and heat source is just outside of your windows. Open up the shutters, drapes and blinds and let solar energy (the sunshine) brighten and warm your home naturally. Another option is Photovoltaic materials and devices that can convert the sun's rays into electricity. Solar power can be used to generate electricity for your home, improved indoor lighting and heat water.

Naturally Clean Indoor Air
Skip the retail air fresheners which are loaded with toxic chemicals. Instead, fill a small pot with water and a bit of cloves, cinnamon, or basically any herb you prefer. In addition, plants, while some may not add a scent to your home, are good at improving interior air quality and just about any plant with broad leaves will do. When the weather permits it, especially while spring cleaning, throw open your windows and let the fresh air in.

Upgrade to Programmable Thermostats
This device regulates the temperature in a home, based on settings you set for specified times of the day. For instance, turn off the AC or heat when nobody's home, lower the temperature when you're sleeping, etc. The added bonus of having a programmable thermostat is that you’ll save on cooling and heating costs.

Leave Harmful Toxins at the Door
Have you ever thought about all the substances that are on your shoes when you come home after a long day? Tracking in animal waste, antifreeze, oil, pollen, particulate pollution and you’ll never know what else into the home isn't a good thing. Add in the rest of the family's shoes, or the pet’s paws and . . . don't want to think about it do you? Well, there's an easy fix for this problem - invest in a doormat or better yet, leave the shoes outside on the mat. Less dirt and grime also means less mopping, sweeping and vacuuming, which means fewer chemicals, less water and energy usage and let’s not forget - less work.

Choose Non-Toxic Household cleansers
Find eco-friendly alternatives to cleansers that typically contain harsh chemicals that can, not only pollute the environment, but cause health problems. There are a number of biodegradable, non-toxic, cleaning products on the market, sold in some chain stores, natural grocery stores and online - just be sure to read the label. If the ingredients sound like a long pharmacy list, it's probably not eco-friendly. You can also make your own, starting with baking soda (add a little water to make a paste to use on stubborn areas) which makes an eco-friendly and inexpensive yet effective all-purpose cleaner. Need a disinfectant? Try citrus oil or tea tree oil.

Use a "Green" Housecleaning Service
If you don't have time to clean your home yourself, you should be able to find a "green" housecleaning service because they’re becoming fairly common. If you can't locate one in your area, or they're too expensive, try to find a housecleaning service that will use the methods and eco-friendly products you prefer.

Green Carpet Cleaning
If you haven't been following the "shoeless entry" rule, it's probably time to find a green carpet cleaning service in your area. Even if you have been have, it's a good idea to have your carpeting cleaned at least once or twice a year, depending on the activity level in your household. If you need specialized services for a residence other than your own, like a rental property, look for professional lease cleaners in Geelong. Just imagine the potential for toxins embedded in a rental property's carpeting!

Teaching Responsibility
Making your home environmentally friendly should be a group effort, helping everyone involved (including the little ones) develop a sense of individual responsibility. Developing small habits like not running the water while they brush their teeth, are little steps that even young children can adapt to. Also, follow your city's recycling rules and set up different recycle bins that your young children can easily use to do their part. This is also the perfect opportunity to teach them that their efforts will play a part in leaving resources for future generations to use as well.

Doing our part to live an environmentally friendly life used to mean just separating paper from plastic and placing it in their respective recycling bins, buying organics and using a recycled tote to carry them home. These days, there's a lot more we can all do to create a green and healthy home environment, inside and out.

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  • 2 months later...

We have been able to install some solar panels and it has been such a surprise! (And it's nice to get money BACK from the electric companies.....for once!) And we've renovated our house and took out a lot of the carpeting in it, mainly bamboo flooring, with carpet in the girls' rooms. And I've had to switch over to the non-toxic cleaners years ago....when someone who doesn't have asthma starts having a hard time breathing....you rethink how you clean. There are wonderful alternative cleaning products out there, and some DIY stuff that are NOT expensive. Great tips here. :)

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