Would you like to “green” your living space? Maybe you aren’t sure where to start. A good idea is to start slowly – it may not be a good idea just to pitch out everything “non-green” and then go out and replace it. A good place to start might be a particular room. Here are some easy steps for greening your living space.
1. Turn lights off when you leave a room, but also wait before turning them on. Many times, there is plenty of daylight in a room and we turn lights on out of habit rather than need.
2. Put timers on your home’s lamps. These inexpensive little devices can be purchased at most home improvement stores, and they can help save a bundle by turning lamps off and on at predetermined intervals.
3. Houseplants not only add literal green to your living space; they also help clean the air. Spider plant, English ivy, various palms, and ficus species have reputations as being good air cleaners. There are many more, too.
4. If you have carpeting, see if you can pull it up and use the natural wood floors beneath. If you don’t have wood floors beneath your carpet, you can put down linoleum (a natural flooring option that is not to be confused with synthetic vinyl flooring) or recycled/recyclable floor tiles.
5. When you clean, try using natural or homemade cleaners rather than chemical-based ones. Even if you don’t think the chemical cleaners are potentially harmful, the cleaners themselves are not “green” because they are not biodegradable. They must be disposed of carefully and in a particular way.
Natural cleaners, such as white vinegar, baking soda, and almond oil (for wood surfaces and furniture) do not have hazardous warnings on their containers, and are not considered “harmful or fatal if swallowed.”
6. Invest in a good broom and sweep your floors regularly, saving vacuuming for once a week or so. This saves electricity.
7. If you’re in the market for new furniture, consider buying antiques or other used items. If you want to buy new items, look for furniture made from sustainable woods, such as bamboo or mango.
8. Make sure your insulation is up to date, and that windows and doors are sealed against air leaks in the wintertime.
9. In the summer, try using fans in the night and early morning to draw cool air in; then move the fans out of the windows late in the morning before the temperature heats up.
10. Make use of the winter sunlight in the winter, and shade your windows with curtains and blinds in the summer. Awnings are another option for keeping out the hot summer sun.