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GREEN QUESTION of the Month

What types of low- or no-cost things can I do to �green� my existing home?

GREEN ANSWER:

There are lots of simple, no-cost things you can do. For example, keep chemical fumes out of the indoor air by storing chemicals safely outdoors or in a ventilated space. The Healthy Homes Partnership offers an online tool designed to help you evaluate the environmental risks in your home.

Also, consider switching to cleaning products to do everyday household cleaning. More information about environmentally-friendly (and economical) cleaning products

can be found through your local cooperative extension service. For example, www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/fcs/housing/pubs/fcs3682r.html and www.epa.gov/garbage/hhw.htm.

Carpets and fabric draperies can accumulate dust and other allergens. Therefore, reducing the amount of upholstery and carpet is another way to improve indoor air quality and �green� an existing home. Energy efficiency is a big aspect of green homes. A low-cost way to improve energy efficiency is to seal up penetrations between conditioned and unconditioned space with foam sealant (such as Great Stuff, DapTex, or Hilti brands found at hardware stores).

Replacing showerheads and faucets with low-flow versions can cost just a few dollars and can save a lot of energy and water. New showerheads and faucet aerators can reduce water flow by 50 percent or more without compromising performance. Turn down your water heater set point to 120�F to reduce standby heat loss. Seal ducts to prevent dusty air from getting into ductwork and energy from getting out. When painting or finishing floors, use water-based, low-VOC paints, stains, and sealers. They tend to be cost-competitive with products containing higher levels of VOCs.

Contact McCaleb’s Certified GREEN Professionals for more ideas on how to “green” your home!

 
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