Thanks to Direct Energy for sponsoring today’s post and asking me to share my tips for creating a greener home!
Experiencing an Alberta winter in our new (but old) home for the first time was….kinda cold. It didn’t take us long to figure out where the house needed some extra insulation and we even discovered where there was no insulation at all! Drafts in an old home are not at all uncommon…and if they’re not taken care of you’ll end up paying for a lot of money for wasted energy!
Our house had charming, old exterior wood doors that I adored but they were just that – old. In minus forty degrees they just weren’t capable of doing their job and we lost a lot of heat. Once the temperatures warmed up a bit we swapped out our entry door for a new Energy Star door. This simple upgrade that took my husband about 45 minutes to complete will save us between 7 to 12% on our energy bill.
Now that Spring is here, we’ll be replacing some of our older, drafty windows as well. It can be a pricey upgrade but if not if you purchase your building supplies from places like Habitat for Humanity Re-Store or Kijiji like we often do. It takes a little more effort to search for them but it also saves you a ton of cash. We’ll end up paying $150 for a big bedroom window versus $600.
When it comes to greening the air, we all know changing our air filters on a regularly basis is a must, but we can also keep the air even healthier with plants! For those of us with a black thumb (me included!) this can be tricky so I tend to go with the plants that I know I can’t kill. The Peace Lily is known for removing chemicals like formaldehyde from the air and it’s nearly impossible to kill. When it needs water it’s leaves simply start to droop. Within an hour of watering it’s perked up and back in business. They don’t need very much sunlight to survive but you can keep in direct sun without any problems. And their beautiful white blooms add simple elegance to any space. I found mine at Ikea a few years back and still notice them there from time to time.
^ Our fig tree that’s older than me!
Fig trees are also easy to keep! I have a big one that my Aunt passed onto me about 7 years ago. She had it since 1980 and it’s STILL kicking in my son’s bedroom!
An easy tip for regulating the temperatures in your home is to install a Smart Thermostat. We enjoy how simple it is to set it for “weekend” temperatures when we know we’ll be out all day. We also have ours set to come on at 6am so the house is warmed up by the time everyone’s toes hit the wood floor. Here’s more tips on using a Smart Thermostat.
When it comes to decorating my home I always try to choose green options if we’re buying new or purchase items second hand. I love refinishing furniture and bringing old pieces back to life. They’re usually made of solid wood unlike most pieces you find nowdays. When I get bored of my decor and want to freshen things up, it takes nothing more than a quick coat of eco-friendly paint and a trip to the fabric store and voila – fresh new dining chairs ready for Spring.
For rugs I tend to stick with natural fibers like wool because they’re non-toxic and don’t come with a “new carpet” smell. Synthetic rugs contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and styrene which continue to off-gas in your home. Wool rugs are naturally stain resistant and can be very affordable if you shop around. I’ve found beautiful, large wool rugs at HomeSense for $199.
Direct Energy wants to help us create more energy efficient and eco-friendly homes. In Alberta you can sign up for a 5 year Comfort & Control Plan for your electricity and gas and receive a Nest Learning Thermostat at no additional cost to you ($249 value) and a fixed lower rate that will never go up during your 5 year contract!
What are some of your tips for creating a healthy, green home? Glass containers instead of plastic ones? Low flow toilets? Planting a garden with your kids? Hang dry your laundry? I’d love to hear what you’re doing to green your home!