Tips for a green home

Tips for a green home

American homeowners can protect their homes and local waterways by taking some simple steps. Our tips for a green home and yard involve using solar energy, collecting run-off rain, properly disposing of paint brushes and paint cans, and exercising caution with pesticides and grass clippings. You can also treat your windows with low-emittance coating and close gaps by purchasing replacement windows.

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You can always find highly skilled help with your home projects at Angie's List. Many top-rated contractors can even give you great ideas on how to go green.

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Bob Richter


Geothermal heating and cooling is a big plus.

Linda Maday


I love my backyard rainbarrel that my husband make out of a covered garbage barrel. A pellet can be added to prevent mosquitos. He is installing one under our front rainspout soon.



You had a booth at the Portland Better Living Home and Garden Show in Portland, Oregon and I didn't realize how much information and contractors you had for us trying to go green. Thanks for being leaders in this area.



You CAN NOT collect rain run off in some states. In fact it's illegal! Check your local laws. Also they can be a breeding ground for insect, especially mosquitoes if not properly built.

Albert Terry


I'm willing to join by mail, but emailing my credit info is out of the question.

Stuart O'Brien


Proper insulation would do more than window replacement and give a significant return on your investment in 1/3 the time.

Callie Mack


Other tips: use CFLs or LEDs instead of traditional light bulbs. Turn off lights and appliances you're not using.

Install an on-demand water heater. You won't waste gas keeping water hot all day long.

Save water - buy a front-loading washing machine. They use much less water than a top-loader and spin so fast that your clothes come out damp, not wet, so less time in the dryer.

If you live in a dry climate (e.g. Southern CA), plant native species instead of a lawn. Natives won't need much water and don't require fertilizer or pesticides to thrive. And they support wildlife like birds and lizards, which help with backyard insect pest control.

When remodeling, recycle as many materials as possible - work with your contractor to find sources for recycling. Habitat For Humanity operates ReStores nationwide - they'll take donations of useable building materials, paint, fixtures etc.

Join a group like Freecycle, which allows members to post stuff they're giving away (not selling). You can find homes for appliances, old furniture, bricks, even tubs, doors and windows.

Roger O'Daniel


Need a cost-benefit analysis for photocel energy systems. In many cases, they do not work as advertised. They collect dust. They collect snow. The roof must slant to the south and not have a steep slope. They do not like hail or high winds or nearby trees.



Washing paint brushes in the sink is awful. Clean as much paint off as possible with a rag or on newspaper. Then wash brushes in a bucket and evaporate away the water or spirits.

melody jackson


Thanks for all of the info on here, I can not wait untill i get my home and totally going green.

Patricia Rager


There are green solutions to keep both your house and the environment clean. Make sure your professional carpet cleaners use those.



As a person with multiple severe disabilities (of fairly recent onset), I've had to make my yard "design" as "low maintenance" as is humanly possible (since I became abruptly disabled, at the age of 44, long before I was financially prepared to be "retired"). Thus, I had all flowers/lawn removed from my yard, a double layer of "construction grade" landscaping fabric put down, then covered over with cedar chips. Weeds still grow freely, in JUST the cedar chips (to my great dismay!!!), so charitable groups routinely come in and clean out my weedy yard. If I put in rain barrels, what in the world would I do with the water collected? All of the remaining trees/shrubs in my yard, are sufficiently big enough to not need watering, unless there's a drought. Hoses wouldn't be long enough to reach to neighbor's homes. Mosquitoes are EASY to control for, if one simply uses the floating egg/larvae killing pellets. Most rain barrels are COVERED/SEALED, making it difficult for flying insects to get into them, so that's NOT a worry, for me.



To recycle quality used children's books, beanbag chairs, tables, chairs, lamps, audio equipment, cookbooks, dishes, etc., consider donating them to teachers at your local schools. Most teachers have to buy thousands of dollars worth of furnishings and supplies for their classrooms and would WELCOME your gently used castoffs! Tubs of all sorts, organizers, science tools/equipment, historical posters, nutrition tools, games & puzzles, many common household & gardening items can help teachers recycle used items, to help younger community members learn all sorts of skills & knowledge!

Michael Allen


We installed a SOLAR POWER system over 2 years ago and it is amazing. We have been running our AC heavily this summer and still have hardly no electric bill. We actually got a check from our MN utility company this last month. I couldn't be happier with Free energy.

Don Shipp


If you can, use a clothesline like our parents and grandparents did to dry laundry. Sun and wind are free and there is no wear and tear on a dryer.

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