How to Create an Eco-Friendly Living Space

6 steps for greening your home and reducing energy use

By creating an eco-friendly living space, you can reduce your utility expenses and make your home healthier. Here are some steps the experts take when designing green homes.

Step 1: Change your lightbulbs

A single energy-saving lightbulb can last up to 10 times longer than an ordinary bulb. Not only will you pocket the money you'd normally spend replacing all those burnt-out lights, but you'll reduce your energy bill and your environmental footprint when you make the switch to eco-friendly bulbs.

Step 2: Replace your bedding

Switch to organic cotton bedding that's free of chemical fertilizers, synthetic pesticides and chemical dyes. Furnishing your home with organic bedding can help reduce your family's exposure to allergens and chemicals that may be present in traditionally manufactured textiles. Organic upholstery, rugs and towels, all produced by low-impact manufacturing processes, are other components of eco-friendly living spaces.

Step 3: Choose eco-friendly wood

Furniture, cabinetry and floors made of pressed board or other types of manufactured wood often use adhesives that contain formaldehyde, an environmental toxin. According to the EPA, over-exposure to formaldehyde can cause skin reactions, nausea, breathing difficulties and may elevate cancer risk. Choose products made of natural wood that are designated formaldehyde-free.

Step 4: Paint your walls “green”

Conventional house paint is less toxic than it used to be, but it can still release unfriendly chemicals. Eco-friendly alternatives for paint include clay paint, which is made of organic ingredients; lime wash and milk paint.

Step 5: Let the outside in

Incorporating plants into your living space not only adds a natural touch to your decor, but it also helps oxygenate the air. Try turning your windowsill into a small garden for potted succulents, or grow herbs in a sunny spot in the kitchen.

Step 6: Conserve water and heat

You can save energy (and money spent on utility bills) by replacing traditional showerheads and toilets with newer, more efficient models. The simple act of closing curtains and turning off lights when not at home can reduce air-conditioner use and cooling bills in hot weather, while a tankless water heater can drastically cut water-heating costs and energy by only heating water as you use it.

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