5 Environmentally Friendly Home Updates Everyone Should Know How to Complete

April 28, 2011

This is guest post by Lou Manfredini, Ace Hardware’s home expert. Lou is a nationally recognized home and do-it-yourself expert who has an energetic and entertaining personality.  Lou is a master at giving tips on greening your home, home maintenance, home projects that can save you money, and do-it-yourself projects in a way that even the most novice do-it-yourselfer can understand. He has authored five DIY books and hosts a nationally syndicated TV program called House Smarts as well as The Mr. Fix It Show, Chicago’s number one Saturday morning radio program.

Turn your eco-friendly “to-do” list into a “to-done” list with these five simple, yet impactful, home updates.  The changes below can be easily incorporated into your regular routine, so you can help the environment without giving up your weekend.

Stop using CFL bulbs. Most people are surprised by this one, but while CFLs (compact fluorescent lights) use less electricity than conventional bulbs, LED is by far the better choice. Sylvania, Phillips and GE all make LED bulbs that look like conventional options and give off great light while using a fraction of the electricity.

LED lights cost approximately $20-$49 each, and can last up to 50,000 hours – or up to 6 times longer than CFLs. In addition, LED bulbs contain no mercury, so disposal and breakage are less hazardous. Next time you need a light bulb, defy convention and reach for an LED.

Use No VOC or Low VOC paint. Traditional paints contain chemicals that emit toxic fumes during application and as the paint dries. Advances in technology have made it possible for paint manufacturers to create vibrant, durable paints that emit little to no toxic gas.

Look for brands such as Benjamin Moore, Royal by Ace Paint, and Sherwin Williams for great Low VOC and No VOC paint options that don’t sacrifice quality or safety.

Install a water filter on your kitchen faucet. You will be amazed at how attaching a small unit to your kitchen faucet will improve the overall taste and quality of your drinking water. Look for one that screws directly onto the end of your faucet and allows you to switch the filter on or off.

This critical feature extends the lifespan of your filter by letting you switch to regular tap water for washing hands or doing the dishes. Brita, Culligan and Pür all offer quality faucet filters for around $25.00-$35.00. This small investment will more than offset the cost of not buying bottled water and the planet will thank you for eliminating all of that plastic.

Try the new organic fertilizers. Natural lawn care has vastly improved in recent years and you can now stay green in more ways than one. Depending on where you live, you can find companies like Miliorganite, Ringer and Jonathon Greene that offer full lines of natural products to help your garden grow with little-to-no impact on our environment. These products are just as easy to apply as chemical options, if not easier. So go green and get back to enjoying your yard quickly and safely.

Switch to earth-friendly cleaning products. This one takes no time at all – just switch over as you run out and eventually you will have a healthier home. Almost all of the major cleaning product manufacturers have developed greener options for the home, some better than others.

You want to know what you are getting, so check out the ingredients to be sure you have more than simply “natural ingredients.” In my experience, Seventh Generation, Green Works, and Mrs. Myers are solid choices for your home. Bonus? No lingering chemical smells!

See, that wasn’t hard.  Five simple changes to things you are already doing and the earth will breathe a little easier as a result. 

If you missed Lou’s first post for Green Building Elements; you can catch the Five Home Projects You can Complete in 15 Minutes or Less.

You can learn more about all of the above tips and products at your local Ace Hardware store and by visiting Ace Hardware

Photo Source: JB ARTWORK



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