1. Breathe Easier
According to the EPA, the air inside the average American home is two to five times more polluted than the air outside. A major contributing factor is the large amount of urea formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) off-gassed from the standard paint and adhesives used in interior finishes, furnishings, and cabinetry. Another is poor venting of cooktops and gas heaters.
“Venting out odors, moisture, heat, smoke and other toxins is critical to a healthy home,”. By using only low- or no-VOC paint and adhesives, and paying attention to air circulation and venting, you can significantly improve your indoor air quality (IAQ).
2. Stay Warm in Winter
Did you know that by installing a stone, ceramic, or concrete floor in a south facing room you can significantly improve your heating bill? It’s part of a design strategy known as passive solar. During the winter, the hard flooring acts as a “thermal mass,” trapping the sun’s heat during the day and releasing it at night. This green trick can keep you feeling cozy, while reducing your heating bills by as much as 30 percent.
3. Save Money
Believe it or not, incandescent light bulbs are the most expensive lighting out there. While it’s true that incandescents have a low upfront cost, they have to be replaced almost 10 times as often as a compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) and about 50 times more often than an LED. That really adds up!
Do you remember the classic Easy-Bake ovens? They used incandescent bulbs for baking because these bulbs give off a whopping 90 percent of their energy as heat and only 10 percent as light. An LED bulb gives off almost no heat at all, so there’s no need to run the air conditioner just because you turned the lights on. Energy efficient lighting saves money all the way around.
4. Improve Your Mood
Studies have shown repeatedly the positive effect daylight has on people’s moods, yet we still rely mostly on artificial lighting in our interior spaces. Happily, green design strategies initially developed for office buildings are increasingly being used in homes. From (barely there) window tinting and solar shades to a new generation of leak proof skylights and light tubes, the options for letting the sun shine in are better than ever.
5. Improve Your Sleep
Dust mites are a common allergen and a common cause of snoring. These creepy, microscopic critters make their homes in mattresses, pillows, bedding, and carpet. By switching to a healthier, wool-stuffed organic mattress and pillows (dust mites hate wool), and changing out allergen-infested carpet for sustainable hard flooring, you might find yourself sleeping more soundly.