Thinking Green: 6 easy steps to greening your home further then just recycling:

Greening your home should not be a stressful endeavor. Here are 6 easy ways to do it:

1. Install a rain barrel:
Rain barrels typically hold about 40 to 60 gallons each ― enough to irrigate houseplants or pots on the deck. The best type is made of recycled food-grade plastic or use a recycled wine barrel, with an intake line, spigot, overflow attachment, screen cover to keep out leaves, and removable solid cover. Position the barrel beneath a downspout. To keep the rainwater pure, remove the solid cover an hour or two after rainfall has washed pollen and other pollutants off the roof.

2. Reduce water use:
• Time your showers - take max 10 min. showers, do not keep water running when you are doing something else, use the dishwasher as much as possible, if you don’t have a dishwasher rinse the dishes in a bowl of water and soap down then rinse them off.
• Installing Low-Flow shower heads and faucet aerators is the single most effective water conservation savings you can do for your home. Inexpensive and simple to install, low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators can reduce your home water consumption as much as 50%, and reduce your energy cost of heating the water also by as much as 50%.

3. Watch the temp:
Almost half a home's energy consumption is due to heating and cooling.
• Turn down the thermostat in cold weather and keep it higher in warm weather. Each degree below 68°F (20°C) during colder weather saves 3%-5% more heating energy, while keeping your thermostat at 78°F in warmer weather will save you energy and money. A programmable thermostat will make these temperature changes for you automatically.
• Clean your furnace's air filter monthly during heavy usage.
• To keep your cool in warmer weather, shade your east and west windows and delay heat-generating activities such as dishwashing until evening.
• Use ceiling fans instead of air conditioners.

4. Green Cleaning products:
Use cleaning products that have eco-friendly ingredients and perform effectively. These include grain alcohol instead of toxic butyl cellosolve, commonly found in carpet cleaner and some window cleaners as a solvent; coconut or other plant oils rather than petroleum in detergents; and plant-oil disinfectants such as eucalyptus, rosemary or sage rather than triclosan, an antifungal agent found in soaps and deodorant. Check out for some products.

5. Energy savers:
• As you need new appliances make sure you are buying them with Energy Star rating
• Change all bulbs to LED bulbs
• Buying outdoor lights and Christmas lights that have the Energy Star label and LED lights are also available

6. Compost wastes:
Composting is when you combine food wastes and yard waste and let them decompose to be used as a natural fertilizer for your yard, garden or potted plants. This not only helps plans grow and provides food for the eco system it also diverts these items from landfills. Composting has become much easier to accomplish with all the products available to purchase on line; from barrels made from recycled plastics to guides on how to.

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