Five easy ways to green your home this Earth Day
We asked James Kleyla, a renovations expert at Home Depot, for easy home improvement projects that anyone — even you, hammer-averse — can do to help out Mother Earth. Bonus: You’ll save on your bills, too.
Install new lightbulbs
Trade in your incandescents (which are being phased out) for the more energy-efficient compact fluorescent, LED or halogen bulbs.
“They use so much less energy, up to 1/8 the energy compared to an incandescent bulb, so we’re burning less oil and coal,” Kleyla says. Another benefit? “They last so much longer.”
Get the right thermostat
Installing a thermostat with a timer ensures you’re not running your central air conditioning when you’re not home.
“Why cycle your system at all if you’re not there? It
doesn’t make any sense,” Kleyla says. “It can save a considerable amount.”
Change your air filters
Regarding your air conditioning and heating systems: “If you get a dirty filter in there, the air just doesn’t circulate well,” Kleyla says.
Invest in rechargeable tools
If you live outside the city, look into rechargeable battery garden tools instead of those that run on a noisy, inefficient two-cycle engine.
“How many times have you been trying to sleep in on a Sunday morning and all of a sudden you hear those two-cycle engines? They’re coming out with new garden tools that are 18 volt, and they’re rechargeable, so they have much less noise because there’s no two-cycle engine and less smell. And since they’re rechargeable you can use them over and over again.”
Replace your toilet
“You should try to switch out your old toilet as soon as possible because the old toilets use a lot more water than the newer toilets do,” Kleyla says. It isn’t the most glamorous of jobs, but you can do it without a plumber — if you want to, that is. “It can be done relatively easily, but oftentimes people want a plumber.”
Clean without the chemicals
In honor of Earth Day, we rounded up green cleaning products that will get your home spick-and-span — without the toxins.
1. Hailing from the south, Roux Maison laundry products use all-natural ingredients to clean your precious threads. And their fragrances are custom-blended with essential oils that are synthetic- and preservative-free. $15, www.rouxmaison.com
2. Archipelago’s handsome dish soap, made with naturally antibacterial tea tree oil, pure vitamin E and moisturizing olive oil, cleans away the grease from your pots and pans without stripping your hands. Archipelago Elder & Olive dish soap, $19, www.archipelago-usa.com
3. Eco-Me’s award-winning, all-natural cleaning, pet and personal care line is made up of household ingredients such as vinegar, baking soda and olive oil. Think you can make a batch yourself? You can! The company sells DIY kits so you can mix your own nontoxic products. $5-$25, www.eco-me.com
4. One of our favorite cleaning brands, Mrs.Meyer’s recently released two new products. Their range of all-purpose cleaners and countertop sprays now comes in a new floral scent: Bluebell. And their new concentrated laundry detergent packs 68 loads in a 34-ounce bottle. Their awesome retro packaging, however, stays the same! $4-$16, www.mrsmeyers.com