Earth Day – Home Improvements That Make A Difference

by Rachel Laurendeau on April 21, 2013

In honor of Earth Day 2013, we are dedicating a number of this week’s posts to actions that can be taken by homeowners in an effort to make our homes more eco-friendly.

Plant a tree – Planting trees in your yard can add beauty and structure to your landscape, increase curb appeal, and add value to your home. It is such a simple act; you can get the whole family in on it. According to NCSU “a tree can absorb as much as 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year and can sequester 1 ton of carbon dioxide by the time it reaches 40 years old.” That’s just one tree, so imagine the impact if we all planted a few in our yards.

Start a compost pile – If you don’t have a home compost, today is a great day to set one up. It’s simple to install a bin or make one, they are easy to use, and give you great compost to add to your garden as fertilizer. What’s more, compostable materials like yard waste, paper and food scraps account for around half of all municipal solid waste. That means that if we all composted, millions of tons of trash could be diverted from the waste stream yearly (National Geographic).

Do annual maintenance checks on your appliances and systems – Most home appliances will function better and be more energy efficient if they are cleaned out and maintained on a regular basis. Beyond appliances, think of the major systems such as heaving and ventilation or plumbing. For example, if you are operating a personal well rather than using municipal water, be sure that the system is operating optimally. If your submersible pump, water tanks or other parts of the system are leaking or aren’t working efficiently, you could be wasting a lot of water without even knowing it (Ackerson Pump Company).

Shop at Habitat For Humanity ReStore – If you have home improvement projects that you need to shop for, check out what is available at your local ReStore or other thrift shop. “ReStores sell new and gently-used home improvement goods, furniture, home accessories, building materials and appliances to the public at a fraction of the retail price. The proceeds are used by your local Habitat for Humanity affiliates to help build and renovate more homes and communities.”

Let technology and innovation help you be green – Install a programmable thermostat, home occupancy sensor lights, low-flow showerheads…

Being green can be simple, fun and economical. Do something for Earth Day but keep it up all year round to see even bigger results.

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