It’s a New Year filled with new beginnings. It’s a good time to think about making positive changes such as focusing more intently on our health, making changes to our lifestyle, or living in a more sustainable manner.
While we can’t control everything that happens around us, we can control what happens in our homes. And as home improvement projects become necessary in 2014, you can contribute to a greener Earth by choosing products that are kinder to the environment. And most often, they’ll be healthier for your family too. Some examples…
Fireplaces and Stoves
Today’s hearth products are manufactured with technologies that make them gentler on the environment while maintaining indoor air quality. Direct vent gas fireplaces, stoves and inserts prevent carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide from entering the home, are up to 85% efficient, and many models have intermittent pilot ignition to reduce energy consumption. EPA-certified wood- and pellet-burning stoves and inserts burn renewable fuels, are highly efficient heaters, and have low outside air particulate emissions. Electric fireplaces offer ambiance with no combustion byproducts. Check out the latest innovations here.
Caliber nXt Direct Vent Gas Fireplace
Water Saving Fixtures
You can help conserve our most precious natural resource, water, by installing low-flow showerheads. They can be purchased for as little as $25 and can achieve water savings of 25 to 60 percent. Low-flow toilets are also available. They got a bad rap when first introduced since they didn’t flush very well, but today there are many models with much better performance. Prices for these dual-flushing toilets are coming down and getting closer to that of traditional single flush toilets.
Paint products that contain VOCs (volatile organic compounds) have been linked to respiratory and related health issues. The federal government regulates VOC content in paint at 250 grams per liter (g/l) for flat finishes and 380 g/l for other finishes (low-luster, semigloss, etc.). Some manufacturers offer even lower levels of VOCs (like 50 g/l) with products likes Benjamin Moore Aura® and True Value EasyCare®.
Made from super fast-growing cork oak trees, cork wood flooring is a sustainable flooring option for your home. After a portion of bark is stripped from the tree for the flooring, the tree quickly regenerates and grows new bark in place of the removed bark.
If you prefer carpet in certain areas of your home, hemp carpet is 100-percent biodegradable and natural. Made from durable hemp fiber, it isn’t dyed with chemicals and the adhesive is made from natural rubber.
So in 2014 when you have a scheduled (or unscheduled!) home improvement project, why not consider products that will make your home more efficient, safe and sustainable? Happy New Year!