The National Building Museum, in Washington, D.C., released a great 10-tip plan to cut energy consumption and conserve in the home, in conjunction with its upcoming exhibit "The Green House: New Directions in Sustainable Architecture and Design" (May 20, 2006 — June 3, 2007). A great list to start with (and live by) it simplifies some of what needs to be done to make your dream house a green house. If green construction seems overwhelming, this is a list you can just pass on to your contractor--to reap the results. Ten Tips to Go Green
1) Turn down the thermostat. Lowering it by just one degree can reduce heating energy costs by about four percent.
2) Use ceiling fans in the summer AND winter. By reversing the direction of the blades, warm air is pushed down, helping to keep rooms warm in winter.
3) Conserve energy by purchasing major appliances with an Energy Star rating. Compared to a 1990 model, an Energy Star-qualified refrigerator would save enough electricity to light a home for more than four and a half months.
4) Repair leaky fixtures: one drop per second from a leaky faucet can waste as mush as 10 gallons of water each week.
5) Install low-flow showerheads, faucets, and toilets. Low-flow faucets reduce water consumption and the cost of heating water by as much as 50 percent; using a low-flow toilet can save Americans 2.1 trillion gallons of water and $11.3 million nationwide every day.
6) Choose carpeting, rugs, window treatments and other textiles made from natural fibers, such as cotton or wool, which are untreated and free of toxins, such as pesticides or chemical cleaners.
7) Ask for flooring products made from rapidly renewable resources, such as bamboo. Bamboo is one of the fasted growing plants in the world, requiring no replanting and little fertilization or pesticides.
8) Select solid woods harvested from sustainably-managed forests, when possible, for furniture or cabinetry, rather than pressed woods or composites that may contain formaldehyde or other chemicals that may be toxic and hazardous to your health.
9) Eliminate waste by choosing products that are biodegradable or recyclable. Consider the "lifecycle" of furnishings and accessories before purchasing: Are they made of materials that can be reused or recycled when the item eventually wears out or is no longer needed?
10) Recycle packing and shipping materials from any newly purchased items, and safely dispose of paint cans and other containers with contents that could potentially contaminate the ground or water supply. ::National Building Museum
(image copyright Keith Stanley, 2002)