Going Green at Home in 3 Simple Steps

Reader Contribution by Paul Kazlov and Global Home Improvement
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Photo by Fotolia/grigvovan

Red alert! If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately, you’ll know that our planet is in deep trouble. Apart from the disturbing reports on the Middle East, we are also told that Mother Earth’s treasury is depleting faster than it can replenish itself. Reversing or mitigating the situation means making drastic changes in the way we farm, eat, and live.

As different industries begin to re-evaluate their business practices based on a sustainable model, homeowners around the world are also researching and upgrading their lifestyle to a new green level. While there is more than one way to make your home greener, the principle of going green can be broken down into 3 simple steps.

Understand Your Energy Expenditure

Going green may mean different things for each person. However, according to Sustainable Baby Steps, it is all about understanding your energy consumption and making mini-changes one at a time. As the author on the Sustainable Baby Steps Blog shares, going green begins with taking a hard look at your current lifestyle.

Your job is to find creative and practical ways to minimize consumption/waste, maximize existing resources, and prioritize your spending. Homeowners can do the research on their own or hire an energy auditor to professionally evaluate the energy efficiency of the home. Experts from Angie’s List also add that an energy audit not only can identify weaknesses around the house, but also “uncover mild or severe threats to health and safety.”

Prioritize Energy Upgrades

Depending on your course of action, you can enjoy anywhere from 5% to 30% savings on energy bill by simply following the advice on the energy audit. While going green may eventually lead you to replace your old asphalt shingle roof with an energy efficient metal roof or invest in EnergyStar appliances, you can hold off on the big purchases and start small.

For example, residential LEDs that are EnergyStar rated have been found to use at least 75% less energy, and last 25 times longer, than incandescent lighting. Fixing, repairing, or replacing your drafty windows can result in saving you approximately 10% to 25% on your heating costs. As we like to tell our homeowners, “Making your home energy-efficient is an ongoing process with plenty of learning curves. The good news is that each change you make will take you closer to your goal.”

Use Natural Cleaning Products

While an energy audit will steer you to the right direction and smart energy upgrades will slash back your monthly bills, aligning your personal actions to reflect a sustainable lifestyle is vital to “going green” all the way. According to RealSimple.com, homeowners can begin the adventure by avoiding products that contain fragrance and conventional household cleaners. These products contain chemicals that are harmful to humans and the ecosystem. Instead, use green household cleaners that are made of natural plants. Purchase only soaps, candles, and beauty products that are scented by essential oil to keep your home (and the environment) fresh.

Going green can be inexpensive, fun, and transformational. From cleaning your refrigerator cords to supporting green businesses, there are many ways to save the environment and still live a comfortable life.

Paul Kazlov is a metal roofing expert and has grown Global Home Improvement to be the Mid-Atlantic’s largest installer of residential metal roofing, saving the everyday homeowner money on energy costs. He has installed more than 1,000 metal roofs and more than 2 million square feet of standing seam, metal slate, and metal tile, helping the Philadelphia-New Jersey-New York area. Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulKazlov. Read all of his MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

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