Alternative Energy At Northern Tool

Ten Top Tips for a Greener Home

Conserve Water, Upgrade Appliances, Recycle, Use Sustainable Goods, and More

Copyright © James Harper; All rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without written permission. Posted July 8, 2012

Decomposition rates of common materials


In recent years both governments and individuals have become more concerned about the future of our planet. Resources are not unlimited and some of the practices of modern life have served to pollute the atmosphere.

There are things that we can all do to help the future of our planet, starting with things that we can do to make our homes greener and more ecologically friendly. Let’s consider ten of the most achievable ones.

  1. Conserving Water.

    There are a number of things that we can do in the home that will limit the amount of water we use. Don’t keep the water running when you brush your teeth; pour some into a mug and use that.

    Use a “cistern saver” in your toilet to limit the amount of water you flush with. Take a shower rather than a bath if you can as this uses less water. Another idea to consider is harvesting rainwater. This simply involves capturing rainwater as it comes off your roof. You can either build an irrigation system coming off your rain gutter downspouts, or use a cistern for watering your lawn or garden later.

  2. Check Your Windows and Doors.

    Many people now have UPVC windows and doors in their homes. When they are first installed, plastic windows and doors are a great way of conserving heat.

    Like anything else, windows and doors need fixing from time to time and it’s a good idea to get your UPVC repairs done before the winter. Good insulation not only saves you money it means that you use less energy which is good for the planet.

  3. Fixing Leaks

    If you have a leak in your bathroom, then shower repairs might be in order. Fix any leaking taps while you are at it as a great deal of water is lost due to faulty showers and leaking taps.

  4. Don’t Leave Electronics on Standby.

    You should unplug everything at night for safety reasons. Leaving televisions, phone chargers, coffee pots with clocks, computers etc. on standby will not only cost you money, it is a waste of precious energy.

    Switching things off at night is not only safer; it will reduce your carbon footprint and make your home greener. As you might expect, these devices are sometimes referred to as energy vampires!

  5. Buying New Energy Efficient Appliances.

    If you are buying new electrical equipment, then look for refrigerators and other household appliances with an Energy Star© rating. When you choose equipment with the Star rating you will save a considerable amount of energy and reduce your electricity bills.

    However, before you actually complete a purchase, do your research to find out which appliances will earn you a federal energy tax credit. All things being equal, why not get a refund?

  6. Try Turning the Thermostat Setting.

    Many of us have our thermostats up way too high in the winter and low in the summer. Try the setting on the thermostat on your central AC/heating unit by just one degree. You will be conserving energy and you’ll be surprised at the amount of money that you will save.

    But why stop there? Calibrate your thermostat so you can be sure you’re really getting what you’re seeing. Better still, replace it with a programmable model.

  7. Recycle and Repurpose.

    Buy products that can be recycled where possible. An increasing number of products are now made from biodegradable materials, which means that they won’t add to the landfill and/or pollute the atmosphere.

    Repurposing is a trend that is rapidly gaining popularity. It’s basically taking an existing item that has used up its usefulness and converting it to something useful. At times the distinction between recycling and arts & crafts blurs. In any event, it keeps your old items out of the landfill.

  8. Lower the Flow.

    Next time you are updating your bathroom or performing shower repairs try replacing your current shower head with a low flow one as this will help to limit the amount of water you use each time. Remember that fixing broken fixtures and fittings around the home is far more sustainable than replacing things.

    Low-flow toilets are also becoming popular, and in some places, like the USA, they are part of the plumbing code in new construction. As odd as it might seem there is a healthy black market for the old higher-volume commodes!

  9. Floors and Fittings.

    If you are having a new kitchen fitted, or installing a new floor, try to ensure that they are made from renewable resources — bamboo in particular renews quite quickly.

    The good news is that now bamboo is available as floating laminate floors. The planks simply snap together so installation is well within the DIY reach of the average homeowner. Why not do it yourself and save money on labor?

  10. Be Responsible with the Packaging

    Reuse as much packaging as you can from goods and equipment and always recycle or reuse cardboard boxes. Particularly annoying are those styrofoam peanuts.

    As you can see from the chart at the top of this article, cardboard takes a mere 2 months to decompose, but styrofoam peanuts (same foam base as the foam plastic cups) take an alarming 50 years!

The bottom line is that no one thing will make a big difference. It’s really a lot of little things that add up in a big way, and the more people that take part, the better off we will be. Encourage big business to do their part.

For example, did you know that Sweden burns its garbage to generate electricity rather than putting it all in landfills? Moreover, they actually have to import garbage from other countries because they don’t have enough of their own! Yes, we can all do better.

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About the Author:

This post was written by James Harper on behalf of Hometech who provide sustainable repairs for all areas of your home.

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