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Think Green - 18 Ways

Homeowners are better educated about green building than ever before through resources like the internet, but the best advocates who can educate them further are home builders.

Here are 18 ways to go green that anyone can practice with just a little thought and concern.

  1. Appliances - Conserve energy by buying appliances with an Energy Star rating and by adding timers and automated thermostats to control usage. Switch to fluorescent light bulbs and add natural lighting with additional windows and skylights.

  2. Repair - Repair leaky fixtures, install low-flow showerheads and faucets.

  3. Paints - Use water-based paints, finishes and sealants. Several milk-based paints are also available.

  4. Wallpaper - Look for wall coverings made of paper or natural fibers, printed with natural inks, rather than synthetic materials.

  5. Carpet - Windows - Choose carpet, rugs, window treatments and other textiles made from natural fibers (cotton or wool) which are untreated and free of such toxins as pesticides and chemical cleaners.

  6. Flooring - Ask for flooring products made from rapidly renewable resources (bamboo or linoleum); select solid woods for furniture and cabinetry rather than pressed wood that may contain formaldehyde or other chemicals.

  7. Recycle - Reuse materials, such as brick, stone, glass, tile or metal, in innovative ways. Old wood can be treated and used for accents.

  8. Longevity - Consider the lifecycle of furnishings and accessories before buying, choosing materials that can be reused or recycled when the item wears out.

  9. Disposal - Safely dispose of paint cans and other containers whose contents could contaminate the ground or water supply; recycle packing and shipping materials from newly purchased items.

  10. Sensors - Install lights with sensors that turn on when they detect movement and automatically turn off after a few minutes.

  11. Water - Do not let water run while brushing your teeth or when washing your face.

  12. Bath Tissue - If every U.S. home replaced one roll of 1000 sheet bath tissue with 100 percent recycled rolls, we could save 373,000 trees, 1.4 million cubic feet of landfill space, and 155 gallons of water.

  13. Scrape - When using the dishwasher, don’t rinse but scrape. Today’s technology and detergents make pre-rinsing unnecessary.

  14. Seal - Check your refrigerator seal by closing the door with a lighted flashlight inside. If light seeps out, the door needs to be adjusted or the seal replaced to avoid energy leaks.

  15. Buy Locally - Buy locally grown produce and other products and materials whenever possible to reduce additional energy required in transportation.

  16. Waste - Eliminate or reduce waste by choosing products that are biodegradable or recyclable.

  17. Reclaim - Look for reclaimed wood products salvaged from other structures and certified wood harvested from sustainable managed forests.

  18. Laundry - Hang damp laundry on outdoor clothesline or use an indoor drying rack.