Better Homes and Gardens Green Works Living Green Tour
By: Danny Lipford
Better Homes and Gardens has teamed up with Green Works to sponsor the Living Green Tour. This fifteen city traveling exhibit is designed to raise awareness of green living and showcase environmentally friendly products and ideas. Here are a few of the innovative solutions on display.
Improving Indoor Air Quality
Installing an energy efficient vent fan, like those from NuTone, in your kitchen or bathroom can improve the air quality in your home by removing moisture that can lead to mold and expelling potentially harmful chemical fumes.
Known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) these gases can be given off by everything from cabinets and countertops to flooring and paint. When buying new products for your home, look for ones that are labeled either low VOC or no VOC to reduce emissions.
Household cleaners can be another source of harmful chemicals in the air. To provide an eco-friendly alternative, Clorox has introduced the Green Works line of cleaning products.
Made from natural plant based ingredients like coconut and lemon oil, they’re biodegradable and non allergenic.
Saving energy in your home can be as simple as washing clothes on cold water and hanging them out to dry rather than using a dryer.
Switching from incandescent to Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) is another good way to save energy, since CFLs use 75% less electricity and last up to 10 times longer than regular bulbs.
A more expensive option is to switch to a tankless water heater that heats water only when you need it. While the initial cost can be up to three times that of a conventional water heater, a tankless unit uses up to 30% less energy.
When buying a new appliance, look for the Energy Star logo certifying that it has met the criteria for energy efficiency.
Energy Star is a joint project of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. You can find a list of qualified products, along with a wealth of energy saving info, at the Energy Star website.
Here are some of the ways to save water in your home:
- Turn off the water while brushing your teeth.
- Install a low-flow showerhead.
- Run only full loads of wash or dishes.
- Replace old toilets with water saving models.
- Install a water efficient front loading washing machine.
The Living Green Tour also features a number of products made from renewable resources, such as cabinets and flooring made from bamboo, which is one of the most sustainable and fastest growing wood products.
Furniture from the Natural LEE line uses sustainable wood frames, water based finishes, natural organic fabrics, and soy based cushions.
Recycling is something we all can do to help the environment. These rolling wicker baskets are perfect for organizing recycled items.
Many of the products featured on the Living Green Tour are made from recycled materials, including these countertops made from recycled glass.
Another way to reduce the strain on landfills is by repurposing or reusing old items to a give them a new life, such as turning an old door and sawhorses into a desk.
Companies like RenuWood reclaim lumber from old buildings that would otherwise go to waste.
Other Tips From This Episode
The connections in low voltage landscape lighting often become corroded, causing the lights to flicker or stop working. To solve the problem, start by unplugging the power to the lights and removing the bulbs. Cut an emery board so it will fit inside the fixture, and use it to sand any corrosion off the contacts. Once they’re clean, spray automotive ignition sealer on the contacts before reinserting the bulb. The sealer prevents moisture from entering the fixture and reduces corrosion. Repeat once a year to keep your outside lights shining bright.
The Vigoro Dumping Garden Cart takes the heavy lifting out of garden and home improvement chores. Four large inflated wheels make it stable and easy to pull. Once you get where you’re going, simply pull a lever to dump up to 300 pounds right where you want it. Available at The Home Depot stores.
Dealing with Lead Paint
I’m afraid I might have lead paint in my home. How can I make sure, and what can I do about it? -Lisa from San Diego, CA
While lead based paint was banned in the U.S. in 1978, it may still be on the walls and siding of older homes, or in the ground around the house foundation. Ingesting or breathing the dust from lead based paint can result in lead poisoning and cause health problems. Testing kits that can detect the presence of lead paint are available at home centers. If needed, removal and cleanup should be done only by trained professionals.
Power tools used on Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford® are provided by Ryobi.