Making eco-friendly changes to your home doesn’t have to involve tearing your home down and replacing it with a teepee on a grassy hill. Conversely, your home can often remain structurally the same when you replace the components inside with interior materials that won’t continue to add to landfills across the country. Best of all, many banks like Fargo Well offers home improvement loans that can cover some of your costs.
While it’s nearly impossible to remove old man-made insulation from the walls of a house because the drywall is installed in place, attic insulation is definitely reachable and replaceable. Often, homes are built with the minimum required insulation, but that doesn’t mean they’re the best. Replace it with an alternative like Green Fiber Cocoon can improve the insulation performance significantly. That lowers heating and cooling bills in terms of demand from utilities. The insulation itself is made from recycled newspaper and treated with flame retardants.
Choosing interior furniture that uses natural materials and components can make a big difference over time. If enough people are pushing for this type of furniture, a new demand will be created, and furniture suppliers are likely to start shifting inventory from goods made with man-made materials to items made from natural products. Furthermore, when these furniture items do eventually have to be disposed of, they won’t add to a pile of trash that’s going nowhere. Since the products have natural components, they will decompose in the landfill back into the soil.
Rugs and hardwood floors offer great alternatives to the man-made materials used in carpets. Using natural fiber carpeting, wooden floors can still have areas with a covering of the material whereas the main covering uses natural planks which can degrade and get damaged when finally removed.
Equipment can be a huge source of energy if it is not up to standard. So the first thing to check is to make sure the equipment used has Energy Star ratings and meets the latest standards. Keep in mind that a tool that is eight or ten years old may be much more expensive to maintain than a newer tool with better technology. So fridges, microwaves, dishwashers and the like should all be inspected and replaced where possible to increase energy efficiency. Enough of these upgrades to qualify you for a energy saving mortgage.
When it comes to trash, most people think of the trash can and throw everything in the plastic bag outside the bin. However, a lot of food waste can be combined into a composting bucket outside, and used as a natural fertilizer for planting. This practice has been used in agriculture for decades, and homeowners with lots of garden areas in the backyard can do the same. Next, there are bio-degradable trash bags, so the waste can be taken clean outside and placed in a compost bin where it is then “cooked” and broken down into natural, mineral-rich compost for plants and shrubs.
Paul Everett is a writer currently living in Manhattan. He works hard to keep his apartment green & eco-friendly.