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In recent years, many people have decided to make small but important changes to their homes in order to make them more environmentally friendly. In fact, it’s so easy to adapt your home, you’ll wonder why you didn’t think of it before. Here are a few tips about simple changes you can make that won’t disrupt your normal family life but will make your home more sustainable and reduce negative impacts on the environment.
To begin with, think about the materials you choose for things such as home improvements. If you’re having some work done to the roof, for example, or installing insulation, check out materials that are “green” – preferably made from recycled materials and Energy Star-rated. You will find lots of information on the Energy Star website, including explanations about how you can make your home more efficient and ways in which you can save energy.
For example, when it comes to windows and doors, it may be wise to rethink the treatments you use. Perhaps you love the fact that your front door has a window because it lets light into the hallway. However, steps you’ve taken to insulate and heat your home are going to be undermined because warmth will leak out through the glass. Instead, switch to a solid front door made from eco-friendly wood – that is, one that can be recycled and is more energy efficient.
If you haven’t already chosen Energy Star-quality windows, you could be losing as much as 30 percent of the energy generated by heat and air conditioning through them. Windows should be suitable for your climate zone, and if you add attractive wooden shutters you will create a beautiful, practical and environmentally friendly design effect and save even more heat loss, which could help reduce your energy costs. With a huge number of shutter styles to choose from in a range of materials that are ethically sourced, you will be doing your energy consumption and your interiors a big favor.
Think About Your Décor
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If you’re planning on decorating, why not opt for paint that is made from natural ingredients and free of VOCs (volatile organic compounds), or at least branded low-VOC? These are made from eco-friendly and safe plant oils and extracts. Giving the children’s bedrooms a makeover can be entertaining for them too if you choose the color scheme and paints together.
It can also be fun shopping for furniture made from recycled wood and materials such as teak, rattan and the increasingly popular bamboo. If possible, avoid mahogany and hardwood timber products that are not from managed forests. There are department stores and websites that specialize in contemporary furniture in sustainable materials that look fabulous. These often include soy-based foam cushions, eco-friendly leather and natural hemp fabric.
Finally, having improved your energy consumption by insulating and sealing your home, and opted for eco-friendly décor, it pays to encourage family members to conserve energy, not waste it. Switching devices and lights off when not in use can then become an automatic response for everyone.