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Five Ways to Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly

10 October 2020

Having a green home is one of the ways that you can reduce your impact on the environment. A home that uses sustainable furniture offers a refreshing and healing surrounding.

It pays to be aware of the things that you bring into your home. Some are unaware that they bring in home-polluting chemicals that harm their health.

According to Green America, a non-profit organization that pushes to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society, said that in 2019, indoor air quality remains more toxic than outdoor air "even in the largest and most industrialized cities". This date came from a report from the Environmental Protection Agency.

This is sad news. Even sadder is the fact that the poor are more affected as they are likely to afford or swap toxin-laden items or even move to less polluted neighborhoods.

The organization further noted that lifestyle changes and green home makeovers can limit toxicants but it is almost impossible to make our home 100 percent safe. In any case, doing something is better than not doing anything. While the rest of the world is waiting for companies and lawmakers to eliminate chemicals from the marketplace, you are free to do your part wherever you are.

Starting small

You can take baby steps towards a more sustainable world. Maybe redesigning your home with eco-friendly materials could be a starting point for you. If you are worried about the costs, a little revamp here and there might not exactly break the bank. There are many low-cost options to make your home more sustainable.

Here are some practical ways to put a greener touch to your home:

1) Bring in the houseplants -- Plants are great decors because they bring natural beauty and freshness to the home. But they offer more than being ornamental: They provide oxygen and filter out harmful chemicals from the air. It improves your home's air quality and adds charm to the interior design too. Just make sure to choose plants that can thrive with the lighting condition in your home.

2) Choose your lighting -- You can change your incandescent light bulbs and opt for LED light bulbs instead. This can save you more money too: According to the U.S. Department of Energy, LED light bulbs use at least 75 percent less energy, and last 25 times longer, than incandescent lighting. If you want to go further, you can also find more ways to let natural light inside your home like opening windows or putting shades over them.

3) Do not use products with VOC -- Some paints have volatile organic compounds (VOC) that easily evaporate at room temperature. VOCs can be also found in adhesives, household cleaning products, and even furniture and carpets.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, these are some of the common VOCs that may be present in products: Acetone, benzene, ethylene glycol, formaldehyde, methylene chloride, or xylene, to name a few. VOCs can be with or without odor.

Exposure to VOC can trigger eye, nose, and throat irritation, headaches, nausea or vomiting, and asthma symptoms. Long-term to high levels of VOCs increases the risk of cancer and liver, kidney, and central nervous system damage.

Before buying anything, check the brand underwent Green Seal certification. Also, try to check if a piece of furniture or wood products has no added formaldehyde. For example, this height adjustable desk has a desktop that is made from bamboo. It is also formaldehyde-free and is put together using environmentally-friendly adhesive.

4) Use natural textiles or finishing -- You can choose decor elements that use venerable materials such as:

Reclaimed wood - Upcycled wood is best to use for rocking chairs and coffee tables.

Bamboo -- Similar to grass than to trees, bamboos are one of the fastest-growing plants in the world. It also requires fewer pesticides of fertilizers, making it a sustainable design staple.

Recycled metal -- This would add an interesting texture in your home, especially if you want an industrial theme. This is sustainable because it requires less processing. If you plan to reinvent your metal furniture, you can always do so. Metal can be recycled repeatedly without damaging its properties.

Jute fibers -- Jute fibers add an elegant and bohemian look to any room. They grow quickly and are rapidly renewable. Rugs woven with these fibers are durable, eco-friendly, and economical. As such, jute is known for its great heat-insulating property.

5) Opt for upcycled furniture -- Sustainable shopping is part of the home greening equation. If you inherited a few antique pieces from your relatives, you can give it a new life by upcycling it. Your choices are endless. From sofas to chairs to lamps, any preloved furniture adds a touch of glam to any room.

A sustainable home for a healthier body

Those are some of the strategies that you can employ while you plan on how to make your home more eco-friendly. Just take it easy. Going green might not be the easiest route to take, but you will benefit from having a home that leverages natural resources.