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Making the choice to live a more sustainable life is an important and rewarding decision. Of course, while it’s fairly easy to change many of our daily habits, tackling the tasks of making our home more eco-friendly can seem pretty intimidating – if you don’t have the right tricks up your sleeve. Luckily, taking on smaller projects is a great way to slowly but surely get your home into tip-top, eco-friendly shape.
Warming Up With Mother Nature
During the colder months, your fireplace is likely your safe haven, providing warmth and the perfect lighting for a good reading session. However, most fireplaces are outdated and can be hard on the environment. The United States Environmental Protection Agency recommends several ways you can make your fireplace more eco-friendly and efficient.
They suggest being particular with the wood (and pellets) you burn, making sure it’s dry or seasoned. It’s also important to weatherize your place by sealing and insulating cracks and crevices in your home, which can reduce your overall heating needs (and your monthly bill). They also suggest upgrading to a more eco-friendly fireplace if possible. New wood-burning fireplaces are:
- 50 percent more energy efficient
- Can save you money, time, and other resources
- Use 1/3 less wood fuel
- Reduce creosote build-up and chimney fire risks
- Reduce wood smoke pollution (including carbon dioxide, methane, and black carbon)
- Can prevent fireplace-related health issues linked to cancer, asthma, and other serious conditions
Today, there are numerous eco-friendly fireplaces on the market. While upgrading can be a more expensive option, chances are the day will come anyways when your fireplace needs an upgrade. Of course, if your fireplace is already newly upgraded, then you’re perfectly ready to enjoy those cozy nights guilt-free.
Your floors have stood the test of time, no doubt. Eventually, though, our floors end up in desperate need of a facelift. When considering what to do with your old floors, it’s definitely worth considering going a more eco-friendly route!
While there are a few different choices and methods worth taking into consideration, some floor experts suggest the nail-down option for installing hardwood or bamboo floors, explaining, “This is the traditional method of installing hardwood or bamboo flooring, and it’s also the most economical method you can choose. The catch is that over a period of several years, the nails can loosen due to natural seasonal expansion and contraction from fluctuating humidity levels and result in a ‘squeaky’ floor.”
Other options include the glue-down method (which is the most stable method of installation but also the most expensive and labor-intensive) and the floating method (which works a lot like a puzzle). If squeaky floors don’t bother you too much, then definitely consider taking the more eco-friendly route. Plus, squeaky floors present the perfect opportunity to start working on your haunted house for Halloween.
The Next Green Generation
If upgrades aren’t in the budget right now, there are still (free) ways to be more eco-friendly in your home. One cheap way for you and your home to become more eco-friendly is by teaching your kids the importance of conserving energy and other resources. While you might already have a few house rules in place (such as turning off the lights when you leave a room) teaching them why it’s important to be more conscious of the environment can help them grow into crucial protectors of Mother Nature.
A good place to start is by simply explaining energy efficiency. Sitting down to explain what energy is, where it comes from, how we use it, and why it’s important to limit its use can help kids understand their role within the environment. It can also lead to better habits around the house, as we tend to make better decisions when we understand their importance. Get creative with stories, experiments, or even crafts. However you get your kids involved, just do it! The Earth will surely thank you.
Going green can seem intimidating at first, especially within your home. However, with a few simple changes and upgrades, you can take your home to the next green level, saving resources, energy, and money. Some upgrades can be costly and require some saving up, but ultimately making those sacrifices now can lead to a better, greener future. Good luck!