January 21, 2021
Now that we spend more time at home than ever before, it's wise to evaluate the quality of our indoor environment. For many of us, our homes have become a triple-use zone: home, work and school. It’s important to ensure our homes promote wellness via proper air quality, natural lighting, water quality and temperature control.
Energy and water efficient home technologies have become more affordable thanks to increasing consumer demand, government rebates and tax incentives. To find out what local and state incentives are offered in your area, search DSIRE’s national database .
WaterSense – WaterSense is a label program sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which helps consumers identify water-efficient products. The WaterSense label certifies that products use at least 20% less water as well as save energy.
Examples of WaterSense products include showerheads, toilets, faucets and irrigation controllers that also lower water bills. To check if rebates for WaterSense products are available in your area, click here.
Water quality is another important aspect of well-being. Poor water quality can result in illness, bad taste and odors. There are plenty of inexpensive digital testers available to test the quality of your home's water. Water filtration systems are an excellent way to ensure quality water control.
68% of increased energy-related CO2 emissions in the U.S. come from buildings. The residential sector accounts for 50% of that output.
Moving in the right direction, 24% of non-carbon generated electricity was sourced from wind and solar in 2018.
However, CO2 emissions increased 2.7% in the U.S. in 2018 largely due to weather from climate change.
With each increase of 1 degree Celsius caused by CO2, resulting air pollution causes about 1,000 additional deaths/year and increasing respiratory illness in the U.S.
Energy Star is another EPA-led symbol program that allows consumers to identify energy-efficient products. Since its inception in 1992, more than 4 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity have been saved with over 3.5 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas reductions. In 2018 alone, more than 300 million Energy Star certified.
Solar panels are solar cells placed on your roof that capture light energy from the sun and convert it directly into electricity. The cost savings to homeowners are substantial over the course of the product lifetime. For example, in Florida, solar panels can save over $17,000 over 20 years. In Massachusetts, estimated savings are around $45,000 over 20 years. Enter your zip code here to calculate your potential savings.
Zero or low VOC paint is the best choice for non-toxic interior paint. Standard paints contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) which are harmful carbon substances that vaporize at room temperature.
According to Consumer Reports, VOCs are carcinogenic and cause headaches and dizziness. The Good Trade reviews 8 natural, non-toxic paint options to choose from.
If you want to check the air quality in your home, this air monitor tests for formaldehyde and VOCs.
Sustainable Flooring materials such as cork, bamboo and FSC certified wood are a great alternative to traditional hardwood floor.
Bamboo grows quickly and is regenerating, making it a popular alternative. Cork, if harvested correctly, comes from the bark of cork trees without harming the tree itself. Both of these are excellent, sustainable options to traditional flooring.
If you can’t part with hardwood, try to find wood flooring that is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council indicating that products are sourced responsibly from managed forests.
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