Wednesday, October 15, 2008

2009 Eco-Friendly Home Improvement Trends

Considering the state of the environment today, it's no wonder that environmentalists are up in arms, trying to find solutions to many of the earth's serious problems. On the home front, every day working people are jumping on the eco-bandwagon and becoming more environmentally aware in their day-to-day lives. Whether it's by purchasing hybrid cars, switching out their light bulbs for CFLs or buying bedroom furniture made from sustainably harvested lumber - it's becoming easier for anyone and everyone to make a difference. Nowhere is this eco-friendly trend more evident than in home improvement. With the real estate market looking dire, folks are getting down and dirty and fixing up their homes, rather than shopping for new ones. Here are some quick fixes you can use to make your home a greener one.

Change A Light Bulb

Light bulbs are a really simple way to make a difference on the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that nearly 1.8 million Americans have pledged to change at least one light bulb in their home to an eco-friendly model. These 1.8 million pledges will save around $200 million in energy bills! While eco-friendly light bulbs, like compact fluorescent (CFLs) are a bit more money up front, the benefits far outweigh the initial cost. CFLs use 70 - 75% less energy than standard incandescents and last nearly ten times longer. The future of home lighting is looking brighter.

Paint Your House Green

No, I don't mean literally paint your house green. I'm talking about eco-friendly paint options! During the normal painting process, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are released. These organic compounds greatly contribute to indoor air pollution and with the general lack of good ventilation indoors, the concentration of these harmful VOCs is much higher indoors than outdoors. This is why it's crucial when shopping for paint that you read the labels, just as you would in the grocery store. Paint companies now offer low or "no" VOC paints. These paints are made by using water as a base instead of the traditional petroleum-based oil solvents. Low VOC paints actually have to meet an EPA standard in order to be labeled as such. Green Seal, an eco-conscious non profit has created a certification process that limits low-VOC paints to 50 grams of VOC per liter. Watch out for the Green Seal on paint products to make sure you are using the safest possible paint in your home.

Purchase Green Furniture

Do you plan on replacing any furniture in the near future? Well, when you do, why not do a little research into furniture manufacturers and see who employs eco-friendly technology in their manufacturing process? Leading bedroom furniture manufacturer, Lifestyle Solutions has had its manufacturing process certified for compliance with the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) guidelines for sustainable management of tropical forests. Every single piece of furniture is constructed from plantation-grown, imported hardwood, which helps to ensure sustainable use of timber. Furniture giant Vaughan Bassett on the other hand, uses a different eco-friendly technique. Vaughan-Bassett's "One for One Program" replaces every tree used in the furniture manufacturing process. There are plenty of environmentally friendly companies out there for you to consider - just do the research!

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