Top 5 Ways to Green Your Home

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The top ways to green your home help the planet and your wallet at the same time. Whether you own or rent your home, your habits influence the environment of where you live. With some simple modifications and changes in your habits, you’ll find that going green is simple.

5 Choose Local

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Support local businesses by purchasing products manufactured or harvested in you region. According to the LiveScience website, produce may travel 1,500 miles or more to reach the shelves in your supermarket, adding to greenhouse gas emissions. Support your local farmers by purchasing food at your local farmers’ market. Better yet, grow your own garden in your yard or at a community garden. Whenever you start on a new home project, look to local vendors for supplies. You may find that the nearby quarry, for instance, has the materials for a price that beats the franchised home improvement store.

4 Choose Green Materials

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When making purchases, look for items that are recyclable, made out of recycled materials or are Forest Stewardship Council-certified. Choose items that you can reuse instead of those that you throw away after one use. For example, use cloth towels instead paper towels, rechargeable batteries and containers made with non-toxic materials that you can refill with a beverage. Opt for cleaning and personal care products made out of natural materials, and use integrated pest management instead of pesticides and poisons.

3 Reduce Waste

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Recycle whatever you can instead of automatically throwing items in the trash. If something breaks like an appliance or piece of furniture, see if you can repair it before shopping for a replacement. When you do need a new item, check out garage sales, thrift store and classified ads, because you may find an almost new or gently used item that works well. Purchasing used and repurposed items reduces the need for raw materials and keeps usable products out of landfills. For example, the tough plastic boxes that your take-out meals come in can make great food storage containers. If you have a green thumb, compost yard debris, dry food scraps and shredded waste paper.

2 Conserve Water

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If it’s legal to do so in your state, install a rain barrel. Use the water that you collect to water your plants, wash your pets and clean the car. You can even use the water to wash clothes or to fill the toilet tanks in your home. By adding a filter, you can drink the rainwater that you harvest. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency suggests replacing your lawn with alternatives that require less water, such as moss or a lawn mix of half grass and half clover. Clover naturally uses less water and produces nitrogen, a natural fertilizer, so you don’t have to fertilize the lawn with chemicals.

1 Reduce Energy Use

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One of the best ways reduce your energy consumption is to weatherize your home. Seal all the cracks on the interior and exterior walls of your home, install weather stripping around the windows as needed, and install sweeps on doors that lead to the exterior or garage. If your home is eligible, consider installing a solar system to reduce your dependence on the local power grid. Make it a habit to turn off the lights and unplug chargers when they’re not in use.

Flora Richards-Gustafson has been writing professionally since 2003. She creates copy for websites, marketing materials and printed publications. Richards-Gustafson specializes in SEO and writing about small-business strategies, health and beauty, interior design, emergency preparedness and education. Richards-Gustafson received a Bachelor of Arts from George Fox University in 2003 and was recognized by Cambridge's "Who's Who" in 2009 as a leading woman entrepreneur.

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