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Revitalize Your Home by Going Green

Going green in a home remodel will save money in the long run and be a great aid to the environment

You may already practice conservation around the home, including recycling newspapers and composting, perhaps. Now it's time to uncover some of the ways you can go green indoors that go beyond bagging bottles and crushing cans. When you're ready to look at larger purchases such as flooring and countertops, there are plenty of opportunities to make a difference. Some projects are relatively simple to incorporate and won't break your budget, either.

Appliance Replacement

They don't last forever and when it's time to replace any appliance, don't skimp for a bargain basement model. The least expensive units will probably not be energy efficient and, overall, won't give you even modest bells and whistles. Look for the ENERGY STAR rating and you'll see the savings over time in less electrical and water usage.

Induction cooking is another way to save on energy. The process involves molecular heating within a magnetic field that is safe and will give you the same benefits as traditional style stoves.

Bathrooms and Showers

Water efficiency is a big one in household costs and conservation efforts. If you have a toilet that was installed before 1994, it's definitely a flush-hog. Low-flow toilets got a bad rap when they first came out - one flush was never enough. Things have improved, fortunately, because unless you can resurrect Great Uncle Ed's porcelain potty, you won't find any guzzlers in this day and age.

While you're at it, look for sales on the latest water-saving showerheads. You'll get used to it in no time and will see a greater savings over the long haul.

Counters and Floors

Many exciting products are emerging for floors and countertops. The initial cost may seem a little high by comparison, but many of these materials come from sustainable resources. With a reputation for durability that outlasts most other products, it's a smart choice. Manufactured quartz is a wonderful option that mimics natural resources, but it ultimately more rugged. While you won't get the "imperfections" found in real stone, you'll enjoy its longevity and ability to withstand abuse.

Concrete countertops are also gaining popularity for their practicality and, more recently, their updated beauty. Dyes or staining give them a natural look that's surprisingly appealing.

You'll discover many new floor coverings as well, including concrete. Brazilian cherry, which is a common outdoor product, is coming inside. It's also known as Eucalyptus and you can select a stain to match your decor or personal taste. At present, the cost is about the equivalent of a quality hardwood floor. Bamboo and cork are up-and-comers, also, that come from sustainable resources. If budget allows, always go with a premium product. Some lower-end bamboo, for instance, uses a formaldehyde-inclusive resin or adhesive.

Even carpet manufacturers have entered the recycled market with fibers crafted from plastic and re-used nylon that is seeing a second life.

A few more green tips:

-Use water-based paints. They feature fewer toxins than oil-based paints. You'll find a range of durable color options.
-Look for products that are "renewable." That means when harvested, the original plant will re-grow, rather than requiring replacement.
-Sustainable products, such as teak, now come from controlled forestation. This is a wood that will last for decades. Even at a higher price, it will outlast most plastic counterparts. Be careful, though; some teak products are actually lesser-quality "cousins" that still call themselves teak.

Go even "Greener" with these Basic Green Home Tips



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