Editor's note: The following comes to us from our friend Jay Chua, and while it's not expressly for owners of old homes or aficionados of the Craftsman style, there is enough good advice here that I thought it might be interesting for Hewn & Hammered readers.
You'll find people all across the planet that are making greener lifestyle and product choices. In their home construction choices, things like insulation and other building materials are now available in green options and have little to no impact on the environment. Not just in the building stage, there are plenty of ways to choose green when it comes to home décor and you may be surprised at the benefits those choices deliver to you and your family.
1) A Breath Of Clean Air
It's becoming more widely known that the manufacturing methods of the past resulted in poor air quality in our homes. The glue and formaldehyde used in the construction of inexpensive furniture was unhealthy and off-gases were a culprit of many carpets. These elements, combined with inadequate ventilation, contributed to the rise of Sick Building Syndrome (a condition known as SBS).
Now, more natural products are available for your home that won't result in unhealthy air. Choose sea grass, sisal and alpaca wool carpets or invest in wood furniture made from sustainably harvested timber to create cleaner, fresher air in your home.
2) Get A Green Light
Change up your old light bulbs for a more energy-efficient, cost saving green improvement. Switching from incandescent to CFL (compact fluorescent) bulbs can result in a savings of up to 75% on your lighting costs. Since they contain mercury, CFLs are handled with care and are still not the optimum choice for a green home.
A better option will soon be available with LED (light emitting diode) bulbs. Industry experts and designers are rushing to develop a bulb that meets quality and efficiency standards while staying within a practical price range for homeowners. Once there, choosing LEDs that last for decades will be the greener choice and save you even more on hydro bills than CFLs.
As an outdoor option, solar lighting systems are a smart choice. They collect the sun's rays during the day and light up your gardens and yard from the evening and on through.
3) Trees Lend A Helping Hand
Planting a tree or two will help with your home's energy usage. By providing shade around windows in the heat of summer and as a block against the cold winter winds, both deciduous and evergreen trees are beneficial. They will help with air quality since they absorb carbon dioxide and transpire water through their foliage. Attractive trees that are taken care of and growing well also increase your property value.
4) Fire Up The Barbecue
There's nothing quite like a good grilled meal. Not only does it taste great, but your air conditioner will get a well deserved break without the additional heat created by your stove. Laze in lounge chairs and a wooden swingset, soaking in the summertime in your backyard while shrinking the amount of energy used inside.
5) Fresh Air Is Welcome and Healthy
After a long winter of heating your airtight home, it's a good idea to open up the windows and allow a breeze through. The healthy cleanse of fresh spring air is not only cost efficient, it's a welcome change. Make sure you have removable screens to keep it simple and safe.
6) Landscape For Water Conservation
You can have an environmentally conscious yard with xeriscape design. These techniques involve water conservation using native plants, rain barrels and other methods of reducing water usage. Not only will you conserve with this type of yard, but the rising costs of water won't affect you as much and you'll save money.
7) Buy Furniture For the Long Run
It may cost you more up front, but quality, well made furniture that is built to last is the most intelligent choice. Inexpensive pieces turn into disposable waste that will pile up in the landfill, harming the environment and needing replacement. When you buy solid, wood furniture built with sustainable timber like Western Red Cedar (editor's note - and, of course, oak!) you are getting better overall value and heirloom quality. Red Cedar has natural properties that resist pests and rot without any chemicals, sealants and preservatives.
8) Harmony Is A Sweet Sound
With green home décor, you are more apt to feel a certain harmony in your home. You will be at peace with the planet with nature scenes and earthy colors that feel balanced. Wood furniture and elements like counters, floors and cabinets will create a warmth and grounded atmosphere. Fill the yard with the same touches, a wooden swingset and benches wait for you to come and spend some time relaxing.
9) Reduce Potential Foreign Conflicts
As petroleum-based products are created using oil that is often sourced from foreign lands, a heavy dependency on such products can be harmful to the pursuit of peace. Eliminate or reduce the amount of plastic you buy and you will reduce the need for foreign oil. Help to work for peace by opting out of plastics.
10) Manage Our Planet Responsibly
Although our imaginations may think otherwise, we only have one home planet and it needs to be handled well. Reduce the negative effect you have on earth by making changes in your family. That way you are responsibly managing your home and planet.
Think of all the benefits of making your home décor greener. From a healthier family, to saving money on utilities and contributing to a better global community, going green around the house is an excellent choice.
About The Author
Jay Chua, the publisher of PorchSwingSets.com, spends his time outdoors and loves being close to nature. Jay lives with his wife Deisy in Vancouver, Canada, the ideal place to enjoy gardening and travelling together. Since he's often busy designing backyard retreats, Jay loves to relax on a double glider swing where a good book and a coffee are even nicer shared with his wife. At PorchSwingSets.com you can check out sustainable, eco-friendly outdoor furniture and the best swing sets on the market.