Sunday, July 13, 2014

Making Your Home More Green

Nuvali homes in the Philippines are a great example of close-to-nature concept in real estate development. Nonetheless, living in a community that provides exclusive park-side dwelling is not a license to ignore what you can contribute in making your household ‘greener.’

Here are some practical ways on how you can make your home more ‘green.’

In the living room

1) Use green pieces of furniture. These are the furniture pieces manufactured using renewable woods, non-toxic glues and organic fabrics.

2) Use woven rugs made from all-natural jute fibers. These rugs are biodegradable and recyclable. If you cannot find such products, you may purchase rugs that are free from toxic and synthetic dye. 

In the kitchen

3) Buy appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines and refrigerators with high energy star ratings. The lower the energy requirement of using the product, the more energy-efficient the appliance is. Also, use clothes dryers only when needed.

4) Dispose of wastes using compostable garbage bags. These garbage bags biodegrade in as little as three months compared to the usual plastic-made garbage bag that takes several years to decompose.

5) Use recycled glass surface for your countertops instead of granite and non-renewable stone.

In the dining area

6) Use organic hemp napkins and crafted place mats especially during gatherings and special occasions. Refrain from using disposables.

7) Buy second-hand or slightly used solidly-built dining tables and dining chairs. Through this, there is no need to cut more trees to make dining room basics.

In the bedroom

8) Install a ceiling fan and use them during the winter season. Cool air goes down while hot air rises. The ceiling fan, when on a lower speed, then circulates the hot air.

9) Use bedding, pillowcases and blankets manufactured using organic cotton. The fabric is treated with water-based dyes.

In the bathroom

10) Install a recirculating pump beneath the sink. The pump delivers hot water in an instant which means you can save up to five gallons of water with each use.

11) Use low-flat toilets since they only need up to 1.8 gpf (gallons per flush). The pressure remains the same, so no need to worry about flushing.

12) Use bath towels and wash cloths made from organic cotton. They are non-toxic and gentle on the skin.

13) Use organic bath products (soaps, shampoos, conditioners, lotions, etc.). These products are made from plant-based materials. They do not contain synthetic fragrances that are reported to cause specific types of cancer.

14) Use recycled soap dishes and other containers.

In the entire house

15) Paint the walls using low VOCs paints. Volatile organic compounds contain hazardous chemicals.

16) Attach standard faucets with water aerator. It quickly pumps air so there won’t be a need to run the faucet in full.

17) Use curtain panels. Specifically, use thermal drapes that can block solar heat during summer and catch solar heat during winter. The use of such is particularly applicable for homes with drafty windows.

18) Use programmable thermostats. Set the thermostat at 78 degrees Fahrenheit during warm weather and 68 degrees Fahrenheit during hot weather. The air-conditioner will only operate when the designated temperature is reached.

19) Use energy star-rated air-conditioning system.

20) Use LED lights and/or CFLs. LED stands for light-emitting diode while CFL stands for compact fluorescent lamps. Their costs are initially higher, but these lights produce lesser amount of heat and energy.

21) Insulate the attic and walls using borate-treated recycled newspaper. Borate, which are natural compounds composed of oxygen and boron, is a fire-retardant.

In the garden and backyard

22) Plant trees which can block UV rays and provide shade during summer. Choose trees that shed their leaves during winter, allowing more sunlight into your home.

23) Plant native trees and shrubs, so minimal maintenance will be required, making the spaces more sustainable.

24) Don't use synthetic fertilizers and chemical pesticides. Use compost instead.

All of these features are important in reducing the impact of your home. Don’t fret because there are thousands of options in the market today especially that both manufacturers and consumers are increasingly becoming ethical producers and consumers. 

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