Everyone is talking about "green", and you are probably inspired to "green" your property to follow the latest trend in the market. Making your property "green" is good for the value of your property due to the increasing drive towards this direction, and even if it is not for value adding, making your property "green" is also a good investment for your own health and well-being.
So, how do you "green" your home? Your home may already be 20 years old, and you are not going to restructure the whole house, more so if your house is actually an apartment. You cannot simply tear down the walls or anything, as it will affect the whole block of apartment. What can you do?
We are not just talking about having a beautiful garden or putting a lot of potted plants around your balcony. We are talking about the sprinkler systems. You may wish to turn them on if the sprinklers are in your garden, so that you may check for any over sprays. Apartments have no problem about this because you are probably watering your plants manually. However, for sprinklers, you should replace the older technology sprinkler heads with water conserving sprinkler heads. If you can, get one with a timer and a weather sensor. That way, your sprinkler will not need to activate itself when it is raining.
You will want to ensure that the paint you use has low chemical emissions, especially for VOCs and formaldehyde. Long term exposure to VOCs and formaldehyde potentially cause cancer and leukemia. Most paint manufacturers now may have manufactured paints without VOCs now, but you cannot be too sure about paints in your older home. Also, if you are considering repainting, get a paint which includes anti-bacterial and anti-fungi properties. These are more for your health consideration, because anti-bacterial and anti-fungi will help to avoid unnecessary health problems for your household.
There are several considerations when it comes to the floors. If you have marble floors or whatever hard flooring, there is lesser problems for you. However, if your flooring is carpeted, most of the time you might need to replace your carpet with an eco-friendly alternative. In the market, there are carpets made from recycled plastic bottles, with lesser gas emissions and cost about the same as your typical carpet. You may also replace your typical carpet pad with a hypoallergenic soy carpet pad for that extra "green" to your flooring.
A lot has been said about the new regulations for electrical appliances, and manufacturers are working hard to obtain the Energy Star labels for their products. Aside from the label, do also check the age and who the manufacturer is, especially for your refrigerator, washing machine, dishwasher and dryer. Chances are, these electrical appliances are eating up your electricity and footing you an expensive bill due to their age. If you can only afford to change a few of the appliances at home, save enough to start with these few basic ones, starting from your refrigerator, washing machine and dishwasher. Once you start with these three, your electricity bill would have become so much lesser and you will be able to save your cash for the others. Do remember that any appliance which requires heat such as iron and your water heater are the appliance which will swallow a lot of electricity. Any older appliance will also be more dangerous for the fire safety of your home. Just take the chance to replace the older appliances to minimize the possibility of fire hazard.
Have you replaced your light bulbs with eco-friendly ones? There are a lot of new light bulbs now which consumes less electricity. It may also be the use of lovely LED lights which can be rather decorative and inexpensive, to replace those heavy-duty outdoor lighting that you had used in the past. For fluorescent tubes, look at the T level on the tube. If the tube T level says T10 or T12, take the initiative to change these to T5 to T8 instead. You will get the same light output, with 70% savings on your electricity bills.
Finally, check the plumbing of your house. Check your water faucets, sinks and shower heads for aerators. You will also need to check the water heater for exposed pipes. Another thing that you need to check is your flush system.
Chances are, older flush systems are using a lot of water and using a single flush system. New flush systems have two systems, one which releases only half of the whole bucket of water when you flush, and another for a full flush. You will save a lot of water for a small investment.