The Way to Green Up Your Home for Health, Savings
Did you know that indoor pollutant levels are often two to five times higher than outdoors? Using the principles of green design will significantly improve your home’s indoor environment, leading to better health and well-being for your family.
Simple home improvements can make a big difference, and they can save you money. Here’s how:
“Efficient use of water has become a national as well as a regional concern,” said Robert Brown, interior design faculty at The Art Institute of Tennessee -Nashville. When replacing appliances or fixtures, look for those that use less water, such as low-flow faucets and shower heads, dual-flush toilets, front-loading washing machines and newer models of dishwashers with two drawers so you can run small loads. Using less water can add up to big savings on your water bills.
With many Americans suffering from asthma and allergies, indoor air quality is more important than ever. Household pollutants like mold, radon, carbon monoxide and toxic chemicals from building materials, household cleaners and pesticides can be health risks. Start by reducing dust and improving ventilation. Clean furniture, floors and carpet regularly. Consider cleaning and sealing ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Ensure that range hoods and bathroom fans vent to the outdoors. Eliminate sources of asbestos and lead, and eliminate or properly store air fresheners, pesticides, certain cleaning products and paint, which can emit pollutants. When you redecorate or renovate, look for low or no-VOC (volatile organic compound) paints, stains, adhesives, carpets and hard-surface flooring, as well as wood and bamboo products manufactured without formaldehyde.
Help in making green choices
A Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-accredited interior designer can help you make sound environmental choices for your home. An interior designer who has achieved this accreditation knows effective green design solutions and keeps up with the newest information about sustainable products.
When remodeling or redecorating your home, reuse existing furniture and building materials where possible. Used furniture — either your own or items purchased at a garage sale or second-hand store — can often be reupholstered and refinished to look new. Purchasing materials with recycled-content is also an environmentally sound choice, helping ensure that recycled materials will be used again to manufacture new products. You can easily find construction materials with recycled content, including drywall, insulation, plastic lumber, kitchen countertops, glass tiles, carpet and padding — even steel.