How to maintain an eco-friendly home

With the country going green, many homeowners are looking for eco-friendly materials when building or remodeling their home. And as more homeowners struggle with high utility bills and become more concerned about the environment, many are building and updating their homes to be more eco-friendly.

The latest housing trend shows that many new homebuilders are constructing “green” homes. In fact, the National Association of Home Builders reports that eco-friendly construction will climb from 2 percent of all residential housing starts in 2005 to between 5 and 10 percent in 2010.

For those consumers in older or newer homes, there are many easy, affordable and immediate steps they can take to make their home more environmentally friendly.

Lower the temperature on your thermostat. By lowering it just one degree, you can reduce heating costs in your home by nearly 4 percent.

Install low-flow toilets, faucets and showerheads. These help reduce water consumption and water heating costs by as much as 50 percent.

Repair leaky faucets. One drop per second from a leaky faucet can waste as much as 10 gallons of water each week.

Purchase appliances with the Energy Star rating. An Energy Star-qualified refrigerator would save enough electricity to light a home for more than four- and-a-half months compared to a refrigerator from 1990.

Select renewable resources when purchasing flooring products. Bamboo and cork surfaces are excellent choices for those wishing to purchase an eco-friendly product that will also provide a beautiful look in their home. Bamboo is actually a grass and replenishes itself naturally in the wild, so by using bamboo, consumers preserve the habitat of endangered wildlife. In addition to bamboo, cork is also another great option for those wishing to have a green or eco-friendly home. Cork is considered a green product because the same tree can be harvested numerous times. It is also durable, acoustical, long-lasting and is the best flooring available for allergy sufferers.

One popular retailer of bamboo and cork flooring is Lumber Liquidators. The company offers 13 varieties from three brands — Morning Star Bamboo, Supreme Bamboo and Schön Engineered Flooring — in varying sizes of floor boards and finishes. Lumber Liquidators also offers four different cork flooring options from Lisbon Cork that all come with a 25-year warranty.

While constructing a green home from the ground up may not be doable for many homeowners, these suggestions can help make their existing homes more green and even help save some money in the process.

Courtesy of ARA Content

from the April 25-May 1, 2007, issue

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