Choose at least one action you will take in the coming year to make your home a safer, more comfortable and more sustainable place to live.
Building a New Home or Addition
- Can you find an existing home to meet your needs?
- Research what building materials are plentiful locally and what construction methods match your climate and terrain.
- Assess your need for space. Smaller homes can save time and money.
- Oreint your home to get more sun in the winter and less in the summer. Consider solar energy.
- Find a contractor who will employ efficient framing techniques, use recycled lumber and avoid lumber from old-growth forests.
- Consider a plumbing system that reuses waste water from your sinks to flush your toilet.
- Invest in overhanging eaves and good water protection to avoid wood decay.
- To save energy, seal the building well and use nontoxic insulation.
- Insulate crawl spaces and wall cavities. Invest in extra attic insulation or a radiant barrier.
- Stone patios and terraces have less environmental impact than a wooden deck. For decks use plastic lumber, recycled wood or ACQ-treated lumber
Buying or Renting a Home
- Can you use less space? Extra square footage means higher prices, maintenance costs, energy and resource use.
- Choose a well-built home to avoid repairs, high energy costs and adverse health effects. (bullet)Look for quality doors and windows, nontoxic interior materials and overhanging eaves.
- Look for homes with energy-efficient appliances and lighting fixtures, and good insulation.
- If you buy or rent in a new development, ask if environmentally friendly construction methods and materials were used. By showing interest, you help create a market for green building.
- Try to find a home close to public transportation and within walking or biking distance of stores and services.
- Look for revitalized urban neighborhoods and avoid developments contributing to urban sprawl.
Renovating Your Interior
- Sign up for audits with your water and utility companies, they’re often free. Set up a schedule for implementing their plans.
- Install energy-efficient windows and doors. Some utilities offer rebates.
- Install low-flow showerheads and bathroom fixtures to save water and money
- Choose energy-efficient appliances.
- Maximize natural ventilation by installing operable windows and ceiling fans.
- Recycle or reuse doors, fixtures and cabinetry. Look for salvage yards that buy and sell reusable materials. Use natural wall and floor coverings which are nontoxic and made from renewable fibers.
- Use recycled or sustainably harvested wood.
Greening Your Existing Home
- Choose natural carpets or rugs made from wool, sisal, jute or hemp. Check old carpets for mold or mildew.
- Buy used furniture or pieces made from natural materials.
- Buy energy-efficient light fixtures and compact fluorescent bulbs.
- Weather-strip doors and windows. Fix leaky faucets and toilets.