Design Trends: Going Green

Design Trends: Going Green

Going green is nothing new. But what is new, is the level of interest homeowners are taking in incorporating this movement into their homes.

A recent article in the Huffington Post tells of a couple whose home is so energy efficient, it actually creates more energy than the family uses, leading them to get paid by the electric company. While still a novelty in the US, it’s possible in coming years that these so-called “passive homes” will get picked up as a trend.

In sunny Southern California, many homeowners are taking the initiative by installing solar panels on their rooftops. These panels come in many designs and especially on the flat or low-pitched roofs, aren’t particularly obtrusive. Not only are solar panels great for the environment and the conservation of natural resources, they actually save you money in the long run.

We’ve featured Mr. Sandless before on this blog, but it really is a great company that is environmentally friendly. Traditional methods of refinishing floors involve sanding them, which releases carcinogenic dust. Mr. Sandless does it sand-free and mess-free. No dust, no carcinogens, and it’s guaranteed green.

There are a variety of household products on the market that are free of harsh and potentially dangerous chemicals. Many of the additives used in household products, while not dangerous if used correctly, can poison our oceans and waterways through incorrect disposal. Whether you’re looking for paint, sealants, cleaners, solvents, or other fluids, there are plenty of alternative options on the market.

While not a new concept, energy efficient lighting is getting more affordable. A variety of different light bulbs can help your existing light fixtures use less energy and save you money. Motion sensors in rooms can help prevent lights from accidentally being left on in empty rooms for hours.

No matter your gardening skill or space limitations, you can grow something at home. Most herbs need very little space and minimal care. Check out our article on gardening for some ideas about how you can get started with a garden at your house or apartment.

All kinds of energy efficient appliances have entered the market. Sometimes you can even get a rebate or other monetary reward for switching to a more efficient water heater or other household appliance. SDG&E offers one such program. Beyond that, everything from refrigerators to microwaves to fans have been improved to use less energy, ultimately saving you money on your home electricity costs.

A green, well-tended lawn is often seen as a point of pride for home-owners. But not so in areas like Arizona or Palm Springs, where the sheer cost to keep such a lawn looking that great borders on exorbitant. If you must have a lawn, do some research on the best types of grass that thrive in your area. Pick a grass that requires minimal watering beyond what is naturally provided by the weather. If you’re not particularly attached to the idea of having a lawn or don’t want to deal with the upkeep, consider decorating your front and back yard spaces with native plants. In arid regions, this might take the form of cacti, scrub brush, and other hardy plants, like succulents. In rainier places, like Oregon, you’ll have more choice about the type of plants you want to grow. In more diverse weather conditions, look to the vegetation that naturally thrives in the area. You’ll need plants that can survive extreme cold and extreme heat, preferably ones that go through a renewal period during the winter.

From the big to the small, “green” changes can make a world of difference in the health of the planet. Many of these changes can ultimately save you money or even increase the health of you and your family.

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