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8 Surefire Ways to Turn Your Home Green

8 Surefire Ways to Turn Your Home Green

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April 26, 2010

With everyone interested in "going green" these days, it can be tough to separate the myths from the facts. In order to really save on your utility bills and be kind to the environment, rely on the tried-and-true practices and products that really do turn your home a brighter shade of green.

Going Green in 8 Easy Steps

  1. Unplug it! Just because that appliance is off does not mean it is not drawing power. These "energy vampires" pull power continuously, even when they are not in use. Unplug anything you can as soon as you are finished using it.
  2. Switch to new light bulbs. Incandescent light bulbs pull a lot of power and produce enormous amounts of heat. Make lights a non-issue by switching to environmentally-friendly CFLs in all your fixtures.
  3. Use fireplace inserts. Keep your beautiful old-fashioned fireplace but give it an energy-friendly update with a fireplace insert. Available for both gas and wood burning fireplaces, inserts can retain up to 60 percent of the heat from your crackling beauty.
  4. Let your lawn go natural. Native grasses and ground cover are meant to handle the conditions of your particular climate, and are naturally resistant to bugs, drought, and disease. That means you can cut out the pesticides and fertilizer that non-native grasses usually require.
  5. Invest in dual-flush toilets. Dual-flush toilets use less water but still do their job just fine. If you don't want to replace your toilet, invest in a retrofit device that makes your existing toilet more environmentally-friendly. At about $100, the savings definitely makes the initial cost worthwhile.
  6. Turn down the heat! When you're not home, turn down the heat or the air conditioning. Set a programmable thermostat to ramp the comfort back up about 30 minutes before you are scheduled to arrive home. In the wintertime, opt to wrap up instead of turning up the temperature. In the summer, use fans to move cool air around instead of cranking the AC.
  7. Make your own compost. Keep your garden productive by putting your organic waste to work. A good, rich compost is as easy as a basic compost pile, and it prevents the need for potentially dangerous fertilizers.
  8. Do your research. Not sure if an appliance or material is as green as it claims? Research their reputation, and look for the tried-and-true logos, such as the Energy Star or Green Seal designations.

Having a greener home doesn't mean pricey changes. These tried-and-true choices can assure more money in your pocket!

About the author: Shannon Dauphin is a freelance writer based near Nashville, Tennessee. Her house was built in 1901, so home repair and renovation have become her hobbies.

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