10 Green Tips to Make Your Home Eco-Friendlier 

by Jennifer Riley Simone, Case Design/Remodeling Indy  

You don’t have to do a full-scale remodeling project to start increasing the eco-friendliness of your home. Home ownership means regularly replacing materials over time, whether or not we choose to remodel our living spaces.   Each time you do a home improvement project it’s an opportunity to make your home a little greener. These 10 tips are a mix of ideas for creating a more sustainable home immediately and over the years as you update.  

1. Use low-VOC paints and stains. Volatile organic compounds (VOC) are the toxic chemicals in paints, stains, and other finishing products, which slowly release toxins into the air after application. Low-VOC products have little to no toxins and are much safer for our health. Next time you repaint a space in your home, choose a low-VOC alternative or ask your home remodeling services provider to do the same.  

2. Install insulating window shades. High-quality window shades and blinds come in dozens of different styles and can make a big difference in your energy bills. In summer, they keep the heat out. In winter, they allow solar energy to heat your home on sunny days while trapping the warm air indoors over night.  

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Image courtesy of Case Design and Remodeling Indy   

3. Switch to reusable wipes in the kitchen. Make an easy change for the better by swearing off paper towels. Cloth wipes are affordable to buy and can be made for free out of old t-shirts and towels. Install clean and dirty bins under your kitchen sink and you’re ready to reduce your kitchen waste.  

4. Choose renewable flooring. Bamboo and cork are harvested sustainably and regenerate very quickly, in addition to feeling wonderful underfoot. Modern-looking concrete floors are usually made from locally harvested products, and are perfect for in-floor radiant heat..  

5. Modular carpet tiles. If you love the look and feel of carpet underfoot, these mobile carpet squares can be pieced together to fit any space and offer a non-toxic alternative to traditional carpeting.  

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Image courtesy of Rachel Reider Interiors 

6. Install solar light tubes. A tubular daylighting device (TDD) is a narrow tube that is installed between your roof and ceiling to bring more daylight into a room. This economical alternative to a traditional skylight can be installed professionally in a matter of hours and drastically improves the amount of natural light that permeates a space.  

7. Choose recycled glass materials. Recycled glass countertops and individual tiles made from up to 100% post-consumer products are eco-hip and attractive. Glass tiles can be used to cover entire surfaces such as shower walls and backsplashes, or they can be used to create beautiful accents.

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  Image courtesy of Case Design and Remodeling Indy  

8. Purchase reclaimed materials from salvage shops. More and more salvaged building materials stores are popping up around metropolitan areas and beyond. Reclaimed, repurposed, and reused  materials offer an affordable alternative that dampens the demand for new items.  
9.  Switch to high efficiency light bulbs. Incandescent light bulbs mimic daylight to help combat the winter blues and lend friendlier lighting to a room. Although they require a bigger initial investment, the eco-friendly bulbs last years longer than regular bulbs and use a fraction of the energy.  

10.  Start a home garden. Sacrifice a small amount of lawn or patio space to create a few raised garden beds or containers. A home garden helps feed the family, gives you a reason to compost your kitchen waste, and adds beauty to your home’s exterior.

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Image courtesy of Robin Amorello

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