Today’s environmentally conscious homeowners are demanding and getting improved energy efficiency, better indoor air quality, and smarter use of building materials. These “green” building initiatives not only protect the environment but also improve comfort and boost home value.
The following are five ways to make a home significantly more “green.”
Invest in a Central Vacuum Systems
Central Vacuum Systems have a unique role to play in “green” homes. By removing 100% of vacuumed dirt and dust, they ensure healthy indoor air and reduce the discomfort of allergy sufferers by more than 60%. Central vacuum solutions offer benefits like improved indoor air quality.
And while improved indoor air quality is great for allergy sufferers, another benefit to a central vacuum system is that, unlike standard upright vacuums, which are often discarded every few years, the only thing that is discarded is the dust collected. Central vacuum solutions keep up worry-free cleaning for decades and often come with a lifetime guarantee, ensuring they are a functioning part of your “green” home for decades.
Central vacuum systems not only dramatically reduce dust and waste, but they also help dimish noise pollution in the home. Central vacuum solutions feature sound-dampening designs that keep homes peacefully quiet.
Add in HEPA Filters
Changing out the standard filters in the home is another excellent way to go “green.” Just like central vacuum solutions, the best vacuum for allergies, HEPA filters can dramatically reduce air pollution in your home.
HEPA is the acronym for High-Efficiency Particulate Air or High-Energy Particulate Arresting. This specialized air filtration technology was originally used in medical and industrial facilities that required medical-grade air quality. Now, they are available for residential use and are highly recommended. HEPA filter technology can replace standard filters found in air purifiers, air filters, and HVAC systems.
HEPA filters work by trapping air particulates in its complex sheaths of fibers. Large air pollutants are trapped through sieving and inertial impaction. In this method, the particles collide with the fibers and become trapped to it. HEPA filter fibers grab or intercept medium-sized particulates as they move through the filter. Smaller contaminants dissipate through the complex web of fibers, colliding with a fiber and eventually becoming trapped.
HEPA filtration benefits a household in a variety of different ways. As mentioned, it offers a frontline defense against asthma and other allergy conditions due to air contaminants. Additionally, it protects against airborne diseases such as the flu, tuberculosis, and other respiratory viral and bacterial infections. By removing microscopic air contaminants, it can also greatly enhance indoor air quality and remove odors caused by cigarette smoke, pets, and vehicles.
Use Environment-Friendly Paint
Toxic interior paints are the culprits behind many common ailments that can affect everyone in the home from children to pets to seniors.
Describing a paint, finish or a lacquer as eco-friendly means that it doesn’t contain airborne chemicals or gases that will wreak havoc on the health of the home’s residents. These low-level toxic emissions are called Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that leach out into the air and cause symptoms like headaches, dizziness, visual and respiratory impairment—even memory loss.
The EPA notes that the effects of VOCs are about 2-5 times higher indoors than outdoors and, when stripping paint during a home project, studies show that this number can skyrocket up to 1,000 times higher.
The good news is that those looking to make their home safer and more “green” can be proactive and clean up the air with eco-friendly paint options like milk paint: a healthier alternative that is not a water-based, latex, or oil-based paint like many commercial options. Milk paint is made from milk protein and is often sold as a powder that can be mixed with water.
In addition to milk paint, other safe alternatives to conventional paints are mineral and plant-based pigments that are sustainably harvested from the earth. Using plant-based pigments is a more hands-on painting process that requires the pigments to be mixed with additional materials, but the end result is a less toxic and more “green” home, which is worth the extra effort.
Replace the Lights
LED and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) offer incredible energy and cost savings over regular incandescent bulbs. Both options do cost more upfront, but they produce less heat, use less energy, and last significantly longer than traditional light bulbs, so they’re ideal green lighting options for any home.
CFLs cost only about £2 more per bulb than the incandescent variety but offer overall cost savings, including reduced energy bills of more than £50 per bulb when compared to a 100-watt incandescent bulb. However, CFLs do have drawbacks: Some consider the light too harsh and unflattering to be worth the savings. And CFLs must also be properly disposed of, which some consider a hassle.
Therefore, as an alternative to CFLs, LED lights can prove to be an excellent option. The LED bulb is 80 percent more energy-efficient and lasts 25 times longer than a traditional 60-watt light bulb. Philips claims the new LED bulb offers a very similar colour to the light from an incandescent bulb, and LEDs don’t have the disposal requirements that CFLs do.
Like all of the “green” home solutions on this list, composting is an excellent way to improve one’s quality of life while also helping the environment. When food waste goes to landfills, it cannot decay efficiently and produces methane, a greenhouse gas. Composting these organic materials that have been diverted from landfills reduces the emission of methane into the environment. A large amount of methane gas in the atmosphere is a known contributor to global warming.
In addition to the reduction of methane gas into the atmosphere, composting can also help reduce water waste because composted soil reduces the amount of water consumed by plants. Similarly, composting can also reduce plant diseases and pests, lessening the need for expensive chemicals and fertilizers.
To transform a home into a “green” sanctuary requires healthy and thoughtful choices. The products selected to bring into the homes make a significant impact on the quality of life and overall environmental impact. Whether it is changing the lightbulbs, opting to compost organic waste, or selecting the best vacuum for allergies, there are many excellent ways to turn any home into a “green” home.