Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Going Green - How To Make Your Home Environmental Friendly.

With the world's environment in such a bad shape, people are now realizing how irresponsible choices and actions can have an impact on the environment and threaten their families health and well-being.

And going green and leading an environmental friendly lifestyle does not have to be about grand gestures and neither does it requires massive changes to the way you live. Simple changes to how you live, play and get around can make all the difference.

Whether we are recycling paper, saving energy or water, it is in these little, everyday actions that will go a long way in helping to heal the earth. The following are some tips that the average home owner can use in making their home environmentally friendly :
Since the models introduced in the early 1980s, these light bulbs have come a long way. Today's compact fluorescents have electronic ballasts that switch on quickly, do not buzz and comes with warmer colours too.

Although they are more expensive than incandescent light bulbs, they can repay the cost by lasting years longer and using less electricity. For example, replacing just one 75-watt bulb with a 23-watt compact fluorescent in a typical apartment, will chop off an estimated US$12 off the electricity bill in one year.

With the dual-flush toilet using about six litres of water to flush solid wastes and three litres for liquids, studies have found that the dual-flush system reduced flush volumes by 68 percent in homes and saved 26 percent more water than a normal toilet flush.

As flushing the toilet accounts for about 30 percent of water usage in a typical home, this compares favorably with a traditional toilet flush which uses 11 or more litres of water for flushing. Better yet, the water you save will pay for the cost of buying the new cistern in less than 6 years.

While parents have not figured out how to get their children to turn off the lights in their bedrooms when not in use, great strides have been made in developing occupancy sensors. These sensors detects and switches off the lights in a room, automatically, when no-one is around. With models ranging from $40 to $80, occupancy sensors are a cost-effective way to save electricity.

Most homes have conventional hot-water tanks that are constantly fired up, keeping 250 to 300 litres of water ready for the next shower or sink full of dirty dishes. Approximately 4600 kilowatt hours of energy, annually, is needed to keep the tank heated.

By contrast, continuous-flow gas heaters do not use a tank but employ powerful burners to heat up water only when it is needed. Not only do these heaters save space as they are small and can be wall-mounted, up to 40 percent savings in energy usage can be achieve.

Greening Your Home
Wooden floors are gorgeous and perennially popular but the hardwoods traditionally used take decades to grow and are still harvested illegally and irresponsibly in rainforests, resulting in massive deforestation and subsequent loss of habitats for many species.

Switching to bamboo for flooring is a viable and attractive alternative. Not only does it grows faster but with most material coming from controlled bamboo forests in China, where it matures in four to five years with the plants regenerating themselves, it is also a sustainable alternative. When laminated into boards, bamboo is as tough as hardwoods and is just as beautiful with it's richly patterned grain.

If you are determined to use hardwoods in the construction of your home or furniture, one tree-friendly option is to buy timber salvaged from demolished buildings. Not only is recovered wood often cheaper than new timber, it is also notable for its acquired character which may includes markings or nail holes.

Consider faux wood products for traditional decking which usually uses imported hardwoods from rapidly declining rainforests. There are companies that makes planking and other wood-like products from recycled plastics such as milk bottles and cling wrap. Some sells composite decking made from a combination of non-virgin wood and recycled plastic. Besides looking great, these products will not rot, crack, does not require staining or additives and are termites resistant.

Besides cost, past drawbacks to using solar roofing include the clunky panels which make your home look strange and funny. With advances in solar technology however, you can now build or renovate using roofing products that has solar electricity capabilities built into it.

Made from toughened and laminated glass, they are designed to be installed in the same fashion as regular roofing tiles with the same durability. During installation, the tiles are wired into your home's electrical system and depending on weather condition and energy consumption, can often generate all the power your home needs. Better yet, on sunny days when the tiles generate more power than is needed, the current is fed into the power grid, making your meter run backwards and saving on your electricity bill.

It seems strange to insulate a home in the tropics but most heat transmitted into a room comes from the sun hitting the roof. To minimize this heat and saving on air-conditioning bills, insulation should be install between the roof and the ceiling as well as in the walls. Insulating your home will also keep the cool air produced by your air conditioners from simply escaping out your windows.

*Related posts :
Going Green Series
- Going Green At Home
- Going Green At Work
- Calculating Your Carbon Footprints
- Sustainable Solutions - From Plastic To Fuel

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Hun Boon said...

Thanks for spreading the word on bamboo flooring.

Since it's 20-30% harder than oak and teak, it's an eco-friendly alternative that doesn't require any compromises of the consumer.

Beth said...

Years ago in the mid 80's when I was a kid, I was sitting at the dinner table with my Dad. Out of the blue he said we need a toilet with a gauge or a dial with number 1 and number 2 on it.

I guess it was ahead of his time

My Den said...

Hi Beth,
Sorry for the late publishing of your comment as I am still recovering from my recent accident. Thanks for dropping by.


Anonymous said...

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