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Tips for Keeping a Green Home

For Cleaning:

Companies like Nature Clean, Bio-Vert, Simply Clean, and Attitude all offer similar scrubbing power to their chemical counterparts, and are Canadian too! Alternatively, making your own cleaning products out of online recipes (using mostly vinegar, baking soda, and Borax) can be an effective way to clean without excess packaging.

We all know that low-VOC or no-VOC paints are favored for cleaner air quality than lead paints of yester year. Taking ‘green’ options even further are natural paints that BioShield, Green Planet Paint and others offer, which are made mostly from raw materials and are plant-based.

For Your Comfort:

On average, half of a home’s energy is used in heating and cooling. If getting a new Energy Star furnace (which is up to 15% more efficient than other models) is out of the question financially, adjusting the temperature will do wonders for the earth, and your pocket book too! Have a programmable thermostat which can allow you to warm your house when you’re home, and drop the temperature by a few degrees when you’re out of the house, or sleeping. As a general rule, for every one degree you turn down your thermostat, you can save 2% on your heating bill! While you’re at it, repairing any air leaks or cracks using silicone sealants (which are waterproof and won’t shrink or crack, creating less waste), is another easy way to lower your bills, and keep the temperature consistent!

For Water Conservation:

Opting for low-flow taps and toilets can certainly save money and water, but the upfront costs can be higher than their standard counterpart. If this isn’t in the budget, opt for running your dishwasher at full load over hand washing, turning the tap off while you brush your teeth, and putting a glass jar or jug filled with water in your toilet tank which results in using less water, which can be alternate steps in the right directions.

For Your Lighting:

By replacing your incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs, you can use considerably less energy, remove greenhouse gases from the environment, and save an average of $100 per year on electric bills!

For the Garden:

Using native plants indigenous to your area means the plant knows how to grow without much attention, or water maintenance; see www.evergreen.ca for examples of trees, plants, and shrubs native to your area! Also, be sure to keep a water barrel or two in your yard, to avoid using excess water during dry months. The water caught during rain storms is chlorine-free and will be happily received by your plants, and lawn, and can be used to wash your car, all without dipping into fresh water resources.

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