Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Go Green - Inside and out

The Good Husband and I recently bought a house and having our own piece of borrowed Earth, has made us more conscientious of how we treat her.

See, I have always had hippy tendencies but TGH does what he does because he is cheap. When he suggests things that are crunchy, hippy type things, I know he is doing it with the main goal of saving money. This is why he suggested cloth diapering The Good Baby. It wasn't about the environmental concerns, it was about keeping more green in his wallet.

So hippy and cheap make for quite a pair.

I have composed a list of green/cheap things we do and separated them into several different categories. Most of these things save money in the long term but might be a little costly upfront.

This first post is about the things you can do on the outside of your house and with the materials on the inside. TGH and I were lucky enough to build our own house so some of the things, like choosing what building materials and appliances to buy, was easier for us since we were buying everything together. It might be easier for you to slowly replace appliances and materials over time.

Everything on the list is something that we currently do or are preparing to do in the future.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me and I will answer you as best I can, keeping in mind I am no expert, just A Good Wife.

Inside
~ Use green flooring options like carpet with no or low VOC and hardwood floors from sustainably managed forests. More information here: http://www.coopamerica.org/pubs/realmoney/articles/flooring.cfm

~Use low or no VOC paint: http://www.eartheasy.com/live_nontoxic_paints.htm

~Buy Energy Star appliances: http://www.energystar.gov/

~Have blown cellulous insulation installed: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1515640/cellulose_insulation_environmentally.html

~Use a programmable thermostat and adjust it during the day. During the day in fall and winter, we keep the thermostat at 65 during the day and turn it down to 60 at night. During the summer, we keep the thermostat at 82 during the day, 78 when we are home and 75 at night.

~Use fans and keep the windows open to delay the use of the air conditioner or furnace.

~Buy thermal curtains to help insulate your house.

~Use a power strip and unplug the strip when you are not using any of the appliances

~Switch to CFL light blubs (DO NOT throw these in the regular garage!)

~Save old batteries, medicines, CFLs, motor oil and look for recycling programs that will accept them. My city has an annual Household Hazardous Waste Collection that accepts all these items and more.

~Check out places like GoodWill, The Salvation Army and http://www.freecycle.com/ for used furniture (slipcovers go a long way)

~Use a low flow shower head

~Place bricks in the back of your toilet tank to use less water

Outside
~Start a garden

~Start a compost pile

~Plant shade trees to help shelter your home from the weather

~Build or buy a rain barrel

~Use a manual lawn mower: http://www.cleanairgardening.com/reelmowers.html

~Use native plants and trees when landscaping

~Use solar powdered lights to light sidewalks and driveways

~Install a sensor to your outside house lights that will turn the lights off automatically when it is daylight.


Coming next week: Go Green - Kitchen

6 comments:

Not Laura Ingalls said...

I can recommend Pittsburgh Pure Performance paint. We painted nearly the whole inside of our house with it with zero detectable odor. It's a fantastic paint, and I love the eggshell finish - looks a bit nicer than flat and is durable even with scrubbing. Not Michael Landon worked at a paint store in college and is kind of neurotic about his paint!

The Good Wife said...

Thanks for the recc NLI. The builder choose the base color for all our walls and we have been too lazy to paint over them. When we do, I will keep this band in mind.
Thanks

Kim said...

I think we may have been separated at birth. Although, I would say my husband is more of the hippie. But, I have found that once we started making changes as simple as planting herbs and making all-natural cleaning supplies, we get kinda excited and want to do more.

The Good Wife said...

It is addicting, Kim. I am constantly looking at things we use or buy and trying to come up with cheaper, greener ways to do it.

Thanks for the comment. I will have more green tips in the coming weeks. I hope you like them.

Mom2Be said...

good work on going green! Just FYI, the water,energy, and heat (you would use heat if you wash on warm and/or put them in the dryer) and laundry soap you spend on washing cloth diapers can equal close to the cost of buying regular diapers (and with the water,energy and/or heat that the laundry uses, the environmental impact is about the same too).

The Good Wife said...

Thanks mom2b. We plan on using a clothes line and making our own laundry soap for the cloth diapers so that should cut down on some environmental impact. Also using energy efficient washer and dryers and a water heater should cut down on impact as well.

The main thing with disposables that is the worst for the environment is all the poop that ends up in a landfill. Even if you use disposable diapers, you are supposed to put the poop in the toilet and not in the landfill but most people don't.