Green Living

When you are overhauling a fixer-upper, choosing to make your renovations more eco friendly is key to saving you money in the future. Energy-saving appliances and technology means lowered electric, gas, and water bills, and choosing more eco-friendly building materials and practices means less of an impact on the environment.

If you are part of the 44% of home buyers that searched for a new property online, you may have fallen in love with a listing only to learn that it has some issues that need to be improved on so your new home can become your dream home. On the other hand, if you are included in the 61% of people who have lived in their home for longer than 6 years that makes the choice to renovate their home instead of moving, you may be looking specifically to make your home more energy-efficient.

No matter why you are choosing to renovate your home, making environmentally conscious repairs and choosing energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly materials is key to having a sustainable home. Below are 10 tips for making your fixer-upper as environmentally conscious as possible.

1. Prioritize Using Sustainable Materials

No matter what area of your home you are renovating, there will definitely be sustainable options for many of the materials you are using. There is a huge market for materials that are sustainably made so that they have a lesser impact on the environment. For example, using bamboo flooring is a great alternative to traditional wood flooring. Bamboo is fast-growing and has very little impact on the environment when it is harvested. This makes it a perfect option for your green home renovation.

Another sustainable type of material is anything that has been recycled or repurposed. Choosing to use salvaged wood cabinets, for example, is a great sustainable switch for cabinets made out of new materials.

2. Repurpose Everything You Can

When it comes to being environmentally friendly, reusing and repurposing everything you can to avoid creating waste is very effective. Anything in your fixer-upper that is salvageable can be refinished to make it fit in with the new look of the house. Refinishing floors, reupholstering furniture that you already have, and reusing finishes like trim or molding are great ways to keep the character of the house intact while also being green.

Try to keep the idea of refreshing what you have instead of replacing it as you plan out your renovation.

3. Shop Local

When you choose to use local businesses to source your materials, you are helping to avoid the pollution that shipping materials create. Choosing to get furniture from a local builder instead of buying furniture from a big box store that ships its furniture from overseas is an easy way to avoid contributing to global pollution.

4. Avoid VOCs

VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, are found in many brands of paint, building materials, and wood preservatives. Try to find materials that are labeled as being “VOC free” to make sure that you are not adding to the market for the compounds that damage the environment. If VOCs are unavoidable in some of your building materials, make sure to properly ventilate the area where you will be exposed to them and wear protective materials when possible.

5. Choose Energy-Saving Options

One area where replacing what is in the house already is actually more environmentally friendly is when it comes to appliances and plumbing. Energy-saving appliances are not only environmentally friendly but pocket-friendly as well. Using less energy means that your electricity and gas bills will go down, and since you are using less energy and gas you are helping the environment.

Replacing toilets and your water heater is another way to save energy. Toilets use a lot more water than you might expect, and choosing a low flow option is an easy switch that will you save water.

If you are gutting your fixer-upper, make sure to use insulation that will be able to keep your home from being drafty to save on heating and cooling bills as well. Older homes often are very drafty because of their lack of proper insulation, so choosing new insulation that can fix that problem will prevent your home from using more energy than it actually needs to stay cool or warm.

6. Use Alternate Forms of Energy

Installing solar panels in your home is a great option to save on your energy bills and create an environmentally-friendly energy source. You could choose to have areas of your home powered by solar energy, or you can contact your energy provider to see if they already have a system in place for solar power. The U.S. electrical grid is the largest in the world, with a total of 200,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines. It has 5.5 million local distribution lines, and it is possible that your energy provider has a plan for those that want to install solar panels. You may get a discounted rate on your electric bills or another perk, so make sure to double-check with your provider.

7. Go Classic and Neutral

Though renovating a fixer-upper to make it more eco-friendly is a good decision, you want to avoid having to completely redo rooms of your home every few years when a trend goes out of style. Instead, choose to make the major parts of your renovation more neutral and classic. For example, choosing neutral countertops and cabinets in your kitchen will make it so that you do not need to replace those features if your style changes or if the home goes to a new owner.

However, you don’t have to avoid all of the fun trends you love. They can be incorporated in different, more easily interchangeable ways, such as what is placed in display cabinets or what kind of wall art you have hanging up.

8. Incorporate Plants in Your Design

Having greenery in your home is not only beautiful, but it can also create a more sustainable home. Having a backyard garden where you can grow your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs in the warmer weather can help you avoid the waste that comes with produce from the grocery store. You could also include an herb garden in your kitchen year-round so you always have those materials on hand.

9. Do Your Homework on Materials

When it comes to using the most sustainable materials, there is a lot of information out there. Look for unbiased sources that you can trust to get your information on materials. Websites have a tendency to be biassed towards their own products, so make sure that you find unbiased sources for different product options.

10. Choose Contractors that Know Sustainability

If you decide to work with a contractor, make sure that you choose to use one that knows about and has experience in sustainability and eco-friendly house renovation. Using a contractor that already has a good idea on how to renovate your home using eco-friendly practices is a great way to immediately gain the perspective of someone you can trust that has expertise and experience in sustainable renovation.

Armed with these tips, you are now prepared to begin planning, designing, and renovating your new fixer-upper. Best of luck in your green home renovation!

Every small business owner is looking for ways to stand out in an increasingly crowded market. Furthermore, every one of them wants their business to be solid, and to do some measure of good for the world. That doesn’t mean you need to run a non-profit organization; you can run a profitable business, while at the same time taking steps to give back in one way or another. A lot of business owners are accomplishing this by making their businesses more eco-friendly. The environment is a major concern in this day and age, and the future of our world may depend on small steps that we can all take to be more “green”. These small steps are all the more impactful when they’re executed by business owners, who may be able to have those steps carried out throughout their line of business. Perhaps one of the simplest ways through a small business owner can ensure that their business is more environmentally friendly is through the use of sustainable packaging. Let look into sustainable packaging, and how you can best use it in your line of business.

1. Analyze The Design

You must analyze the design of packaging, regardless of whether or not it is eco-friendly. Packaging makes a big impression on consumers, especially today when a lot of small businesses function primarily online. The packaging of your products is one of the main ways through which consumers get an idea of your branding, and it shouldn’t be neglected. A lot of packaging and product ideas are left of the cutting room floor for that very reason; in fact, for every seven new products that are conceptualized, only four move forward to the product development stage. A great way to make packaging more sustainable is to cut down on its weight. Furthermore, lightweight packaging is actually easier to ship and can cut down on shipping costs. However, lightweight packaging design should never equal a flimsy packaging design. This could result in products being broken as they’re shipped. Not only will this harm your reputation among consumers; it will also result in more time being spent on processing returns and refunds.

2. Assess The Products’ Needs

Another issue you should consider, of course, is what the product being packaged really needs. There are a lot of issues that come with excessive packaging, but at the same time, you shouldn’t neglect the needs of a product. If the product needs to be kept in that packaging for the long term, or perhaps permanently for the sake of preservation, you need to ensure that this is all taken care of. Some business owners like to make a list of what is needed in packaging, and what is just “nice to have”. This will ensure that you get the right type of packaging for both practical and superficial purposes in the end. If you have a business partner, the two of you should potentially debate this; but as up to 70% of business partnerships do end up failing, make sure that your debate doesn’t turn into a fight!

3. Encourage Packaging Reuse

Of course, though you as a business owner can supply sustainable packaging, that doesn’t mean that the consumers that receive the packaging will use it as intended. Or rather, reuse it as intended. You should communicate why you chose sustainable packaging, as well as its many benefits, through your website or perhaps even a note included in your shipping notice emails. If packaging is attractive and durable, it’s easier for people to reuse it. Consider how often you reuse the boxes shoes are packaged within. Shoe boxes are the perfect places for shoes to be kept, whether in the closet or under the bed. Therefore, you should approach your own packaging with a similar mindset. Samsung has gone as far as to include a QR code with their television packaging, which encourages people to reuse their packaging by offering digital building instructions for them to follow. Taking this approach is really the way of the future, and will enable your business to appear much more forward-thinking.

4. Incorporate Sustainable Packaging Into Your Branding

Consumers today are worried about what they’re supporting, and whether or not it’s ethical and eco-friendly. By pushing your company in a green direction with its packaging, you can ensure that consumers feel good about what they’re buying. They’re not just investing in a product, but in the environment and in a business that is meant to do good for the world. It’s something that you can actively incorporate into your packaging design, by advertising the green nature of your business on the packaging itself. Remember that first impressions are 94% design-related. You need to make sure that your design immediately gives the impression of greenness and sustainability immediately.

5. There Are Many Ways To Be Eco-Friendly

The general design of your packaging can be sustainable in many different ways, and you need to be conscious about the capabilities of the packaging manufacturer that you’re working with. Right now, manufacturing workers account for about 8.5% of the workforce, with almost 12.5 million manufacturing workers in the United States. There are a number of different manufacturing plants to choose from, therefore, and you need to think long and hard before committing to one. At the same time, listen to their suggestions. A material that you never thought would work for packaging may work quite well, in fact. For that matter, you need to listen to what your customers are asking for, and make a decision that fulfills their requests as much as possible while also fulfilling your own practical needs.

There are a lot of things that a small business owner takes on, and becoming more environmentally and eco-friendly only adds to your responsibilities. But you need to remember that this is not only a step in the right direction for your business, but for the world on a larger scale.

When you’re taking steps to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle, it’s easy to feel guilty about still needing your car. Fortunately, you don’t have to ditch your ride to be more eco-friendly in your day-to-day life. Here’s how you can make your car work for your new, greener lifestyle.

Carpool

Whenever possible, carpooling should be your primary choice for transportation. Going on a weekend trip with a few friends? One sedan can fit a driver, three additional passengers, and typically all of their luggage. Driving separately might seem more convenient for everyone if you’re on different schedules, but making the small effort to take one car instead of three or four can make all the difference in your environmental footprint and in your gas expenses. The same is true for work carpools. If you live close to a few of your coworkers, take turns driving into the office. Everyone can pitch in with a little bit of gas money if the commute is longer and you can have some peace of mind knowing that you’re contributing less to environmental waste. The benefits of work carpools don’t stop there, either. This could also be a great opportunity for you and your coworkers to get some bonding time in. Take turns buying morning coffee! Collaborate on a playlist! You can even brainstorm ways for your workplace to be more eco-conscious. Regardless, carpooling makes good use of your car and can help you live a little greener.

Walk or Bike When Possible

There are some errands you’re going to need a car for. If you don’t live very close to your workplace or to a grocery store, it’s possible that driving is going to be the best mode of transportation to get you from point A to point B. That being said, not every errand is a driving errand. Headed to a friend’s house a few blocks away? Walking might take a little bit longer, but it’s going to keep you from starting up your car. If you really want to be more eco-conscious but need to get somewhere in a hurry, bicycling is another excellent option to consider. Not only is it faster than walking, but a good bike can often last you a lifetime. Not to mention it can save you almost a lifetime’s worth of gas if you use it often enough! Americans used almost 142 billion gallons of gasoline in 2019 alone. The less fuel you use, the better.

Keep Your Car in Good Shape

One of the most important eco-conscious things you can do while you still own a car is to take excellent care of it. The better your car runs, the less fuel it will use. The less fuel it uses, the less waste it will feed into the environment. Not to mention that you’ll be saving money in the long run! When you take excellent care of your car and make tune-ups and regular maintenance top priority, you’re making sure that you make a minimal impact on the environment with your fuel use and your car’s waste. And sometimes maintenance can be as simple as getting new windshield wipers. They’ve come a long way since they were invented in 1903, and they can make a big difference in your car’s performance. When you car finally meets its end, some of the money you saved on major repairs through regular maintenance can go towards a hybrid or electric model. It’s all about the big picture!

Being more environmentally friendly doesn’t necessarily mean you have to get rid of your car. Simple acts like carpooling, using alternate means of transportation, and keeping up with good car care habits can help you be a little greener when it comes to being a vehicle owner.

With the west coast on fire and multiple states breathing highly polluted air, what better time than now to consider some steps towards living a more eco-friendly life? While it may seem a bit overwhelming, changing a few key aspects of your lifestyle can have a big impact on the environment. Since all you can control is yourself, here are a few ways you can live a more eco-friendly life by making some simple changes to your home.

Are you wasting energy when you’re not home?

There are a bunch of home upgrades you can invest in that will make an impact on your energy. For example, sustainable thermostats, like ecobee SmartThermostats, can pay for themselves in under two years by keeping energy use low when no one is home. If you can cut corners on your energy bill, you might as well enjoy saving that money. Using less energy overall is better for the environment as well as your bank account.

What about your windows?

Another way you can reduce your energy usage in the home is by investing in new windows. About a third of the home’s heating and cooling seep outside through leaks in your windows. Investing in eco-friendly windows is a simple way to ensure you keep the temperature stable within your home. Similarly, switching your light bulbs to LED lights will also help you to use less energy. These bulbs will also last longer than traditional incandescent bulbs, making the price tag worth it.

Change up your routine

Additionally, changes to your normal routines may be necessary. For example, the morning routine of the average American uses 20 gallons of water. That is a lot of water, and much of it is getting wasted in the process. Between leaving the faucet running while brushing your teeth and spending too long in the shower, we’re simply not using water as efficiently as we could. Luckily, you can reuse water for many different things. Consider this scenario: you cooked pasta and are straining the water out. Can you use it for another dish? If you’re not up for that, consider taking shorter and colder showers. You can also install a greywater system to use water more efficiently. If you’re serious about investing in eco-friendly habits, consider being more intentional about your water usage.

Often times, people consider eco-friendly lifestyles and healthier lifestyles to be one and the same. While this isn’t necessarily 100% true, it does hold some merit. For example, reducing your meat consumption typically results in a healthier diet and is single-handedly the most impactful way to reduce your individual carbon footprint. If you’re thinking about making a change like this, according to Houzz, one-third of homeowners say they change to a healthier lifestyle after remodeling their kitchen. Perhaps a kitchen remodel is exactly what you need to start eating less meat!

There are dozens of ways you can live a more eco-friendly lifestyle that aren’t listed here, but this is a good place to start. At the end of the day, any changes you can make will have a difference on the environment.

Everyone loves to experience a good glow-up, but it can seem challenging to make a noticeable improvement in your appearance in a short amount of time. It’ll be a year before your exercise routine and healthy food choices make an impact on your body even if you can personally feel the change.

So how can you give yourself a noticeable glow-up in a shorter amount of time while still being kind to yourself and without introducing any bad chemicals to your body to “detox”? Here are five easy ways to give yourself that glow-up you’ve been looking for.

Drink more water

This might seem like a cop-out when it comes to giving yourself a glow-up, but really? It works. In the words of Pete Davidson in Tan France’s YouTube series Dressing Funny, “Apparently drinking Mountain Dew all day is not good for you.” Staying hydrated helps to keep your skin looking great from the inside out. What’s more, hydration also helps you feel better because it keeps your body in great working order.

Wear sunscreen

Speaking of skincare, sunscreen is crucial for more than just keeping wrinkles at bay. Sunscreen is vital for preventing sun damage and reducing your risk of skin cancer, which is the fifth most common cancer in the United States. Using an SPF 30 every day and a higher SPF for longer times outdoors will help to prevent sun damage. And remember, UV rays can cause serious harm whether your skin is dark or light.

Eat more apples

About 32% of people say they’re concerned by the look of their teeth. But it turns out an apple a day keeps the dentist away. You heard that right. Apples are considered a natural toothbrush and their fibrous texture helps to stimulate your gums, reduce bacteria, and increase the slow of saliva to fight back against cavities. Eating other fruit like strawberries can also help to naturally whiten your teeth for a brilliant smile without any chemicals.

Use olive oil for a natural hair mask

The average person loses about 100 strands of hair every day, but if stress is causing you to lose a little more hair than usual or your hair is losing its luster, you may want to try a hair mask. Fortunately, if you have some extra virgin olive oil in the cupboard, you’re already set and ready to go. The ancient Greeks used to use olive oil as a natural way to enhance their locks and this natural substance still works today. Just add a little olive oil to the parts of your hair that are a little dry and wait 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing the oil out.

Season your vegetables

Vegetables contain a lot of vital vitamins and nutrients we need to stay happy and healthy. But did you know that you’re actually less likely to absorb those nutrients if what you’re eating doesn’t taste good? According to a study on nutrient absorption, people who enjoy the healthy food they’re eating absorb 50% more of the nutrients in that food than those who don’t.

That said, if you’re trying to eat healthy but you’re putting yourself through the misery of eating unseasoned, steamed vegetables, do yourself a favor and learn how to season your veggies with more than just salt and pepper. Not only will you enjoy your vegetables more, but your body will absorb more nutrients to give you that glow-up you’ve been looking for.

We all want to go green in this day and age. Global warming and climate change, in general, have been named among the greatest threats to the coming generations. But sometimes, it can be difficult to know where to begin. If you’re in the midst of planning your wedding, you may not yet be aware that there are ways in which you can marry your eco-consciousness with your wedding plans. The fact is that a wedding is going to be a big event in your life, and it could easily be environmentally harmful. A lot of people struggle with the fact that wedding planning is overwhelming, and brides and grooms tend to forget that they’re creating an event meant to celebrate their love. In fact, it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that between 40 and 50% of American marriages end in divorce. How can a marriage get a good start if the planning process is so stressful?

With that being said, why not take some time to find a way to make your wedding a bit greener? A lot of the time, sustainable, green solutions for weddings are actually better for the bride, the groom, and the guests while at the same time being much easier to apply than their less environmentally friendly alternatives. Below are some of the best ways in which brides and grooms can make their weddings greener and more sustainable.

1. Go Small

In a post-pandemic world, there are several benefits to choosing a smaller wedding, at a smaller venue. Already, it’s considered much healthier for people to gather in smaller groups, in a space where they can easily socially distance. There has also been a lot of economic strain caused by the pandemic, and if you’re attempting to throw a more affordable wedding, a smaller guest list and smaller venue is a good move. You’ll be able to stretch your budget for food, decor, and favors much further if you have fewer guests, making it easier to maintain the level of quality you’ll want for your wedding. But most importantly, the smaller your guest list, the greener the wedding. More people consume more resources, including water, food, and energy. While you might think that it’s traditional to have a huge wedding, inviting hundreds of people to your wedding comes with a price, both literally and in terms of sustainability.

2. Skip The Cars Whenever Possible

When an entire guest list full of people takes individual cars to a wedding, pollution is a major consequence. It might be tempting to travel to your wedding in a limo, but keep in mind that with limo drivers averaging around 105 trips per week, it’s not always the most environmentally friendly option. You can’t control how your guests will travel, but you can control how you travel. So, what are the alternatives? If you’re close enough to your venue and favoring an earthier style, you could very well walk to your venue. Some wedding parties even make this something of a feature of the wedding, creating a kind of parade for the bride and groom. A similar, yet more dramatic choice is to travel by horseback or take a horse-drawn carriage. Rickshaws are also popular, particularly in the city, and boats for a beachside wedding make as a splash as well. You can also consider arriving by electric car, as opposed to the typical limo. Another thing for you to think about is advising that your guests rideshare, both saving energy and money in the long term. Again, you can’t control what they do, but you can make a gentle request.

3. Choose A Sustainable Caterer

Most people do have their weddings catered in this day and age. However, many brides and grooms don’t realize that some caterers are more sustainable than others. Sustainable caterers will, for one thing, take measures to prevent the waste of water, and source their water sustainably. With over 13 million households relying on private wells for drinking water, caterers can be sustainable in their water usage as well. They can also choose food that was grown close to home, ideally organically. But you may also want to think about having a vegan or vegetarian menu. While there’s no guarantee that all of your guests will eat meat, a vegan menu, in particular, accommodates everyone, while at the same time being more environmentally friendly than a menu with animal products. It might push some people out of their comfort zones, but you can also take the time to support independent producers. Try not to buy too much food, with that being said, so that you can prevent waste. If you do have excess food or unused paper or plastic cutlery, you should donate that to a nearby charity; or for that matter, ask your guests if they want leftovers.

4. Go Sustainable With Your Wedding Favors

Wedding favors are a popular key to the event today; guests can home with a goody bag or a special gift to remind them of your big day. But you don’t have to order those from a big retailer, and it’s not too difficult to make them yourself. Consider choosing edible favors, as they’re typically more sustainable than things that will just be thrown away. A preserve, cookies, or fair trade food products are great options. Other options include plants, or seeds that can be used to grow plants; or perhaps something like an eco-friendly bird feeder. If you don’t want something immediately usable, you could also choose something that can be used over time. Eco-friendly candles, natural beauty products or skincare, and similarly useful, eco-friendly products are fantastic options.

There are a lot of issues that can crop up during a wedding, and it’s easy to forget that it’s supposed to be a fun, even beautiful day. But by taking steps to be more sustainable, you can feel better about your green wedding while at the same time getting the day you’ve always dreamed of.

As the global climate crisis is on the rise, it’s worth considering the benefits of solar energy. Every two years, NATO produces a report projecting the future security of the environment, which most recently honed in on the importance of awareness of the climate crisis. For that reason, let’s talk about one of the most environmentally friendly energy sources.

Background

Renewable energy has been observed as one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States, with solar energy projected to account for nearly half of total renewable energy usage by 2050. However, solar energy only accounts for 1.6% of total U.S. electricity generation. While this is relatively low, it means there is room for growth.

Historically, coal, gas, and oil have been the dominant source of energy. This is largely a direct result of the cost. These energy sources are cheap to produce but they are also incredibly damaging to the environment. Unfortunately, the price continues to outweigh environmentalists’ concerns. Solar energy, on the other hand, does not have a large impact on water, carbon emissions, and other concerns. As such, it’s been heralded as a green energy source.

Benefits to Solar Energy

Environmental benefits aside, there are considerable benefits to solar energy.  For example, solar energy (even without subsidies) is far cheaper in terms of price per kilowatt-hour as opposed to fossil fuels. Essentially, more solar energy can be produced for the same amount of money as energy derived from fossil fuels. And the trend is only increasing. Each year, studies show solar energy becoming more and more affordable with technological advancements.

Solar energy is also a renewable energy, unlike gas, coal, or oil, which means it will not run out. We will always be able to draw energy from the sun, whereas fossil fuels will eventually become tapped out.

It also is worth noting that solar energy itself is not a fuel, it is a technology. This furthers the point that it is not reliable on a single fuel, but largely on technological advancements. This is a huge benefit when it comes to expanding the solar energy industry. After all, its advancement would help the economy grow as we invest in new technologies.

Not only is it an investment in the environment, but it’s also an investment in your property. The average homeowner can see a return on investment for solar panels up to 20% or more when it comes time to sell. Aside from that, adding solar panels to your home will result in lower monthly energy bills, also saving you money.

Disadvantages

However, only over 2 million solar panel systems have been installed in the United States. This is, in part, because not all roofs are designed to accommodate the addition of solar panels. As a result, this further limits who can and can’t adopt a more sustainable lifestyle through solar energy. This is a great start but there’s a lot of work to be done if we want it to become a leading energy source.

While adding solar power to your home does increase the value of your property, it also isn’t an immediate return. It takes the average homeowner about seven years to pay off their purchase. However, the cost is becoming cheaper and cheaper, so be sure to consider this investment.

But the cost is not the main concern associated with solar energy. An overwhelming population of people does not believe the science behind global warming. As a result, they have no real interest in changing where they get their energy from. Despite the evidence showing otherwise, a lack of understanding and awareness of the current climate crisis has resulted in the desire for solar energy to increase more slowly.

Though the cost of solar energy is dropping, the price we will have to pay for our disregard for environmental safety will only rise. Until more widespread environmental change occurs, the best we can do is invest in renewable energies where we can.

When you need more space, it often makes sense to move to a new home. In fact, 32 million people throughout the U.S. did just that in 2018. But embracing a new environment isn’t the solution to every problem. And as we grow older, many of us want to avoid that scenario entirely.

To that end, 90% of seniors say they want to stay in their homes as they age. This is becoming a more popular option — and with increased demand for aging in place, older Americans now have options for making their homes more comfortable, convenient, and safe as their needs evolve.

But with 58% of homeowners saying they plan to spend money on home improvements this year, there’s another consideration that many want to keep in mind. As more Americans make the move to embrace greener practices, eco-conscious adjustments are becoming more prevalent in many homes — including those of seniors planning to age in place. Here are just a few tips that will allow you to address all of your needs as you age while doing your part to protect the planet.

Opt For Energy and Water Conservation

As we age, it’s important to keep an eye on our expenditures. Since you might find yourself on a stricter budget as you move into retirement, you’ll want to do everything you can to keep your monthly costs as low as possible. One way to do that — while going green at the same time — is to take steps to conserve both energy and water usage. Whether that means upgrading your kitchen appliances to Energy Star models while you add safety and accessibility features or you install low-flow toilets and showerheads while you add grab bars to the bathroom, you’ll end up saving money and precious resources. Even something small like using LED lightbulbs in existing fixtures can make a big difference. Not only do these bulbs last longer and waste less energy, but they actually produce a brighter light — and that can help to prevent slips and falls at home. When it comes time to make aging-in-place improvements, remember to factor in energy-efficient and water-saving features.

Improve Indoor Air Quality

Having proper ventilation and superior indoor air quality is important for residents of any age, but seniors are especially vulnerable to the effects of indoor air pollution. Older people who have conditions like asthma, chronic immune diseases, or lung diseases may suffer the most in these situations. It’s important to prevent and address mold, volatile organic compounds, and other irritants by taking steps to improve indoor air quality. This may involve discontinuing the use of harsh cleaning products, installing HEPA air filters, and ensuring your HVAC systems are running as efficiently as possible. Remember that by improving the air quality in your home, you’ll likely improve the state of the world, as well.

Choose Low-Maintenance Landscaping

For many seniors, exterior property maintenance can be one of the main barriers to aging in place. In senior living communities, many of these tasks are taken care of for you — but when you remain at home, you’ll either have to do it yourself or hire a service to ensure your property remains in excellent shape and that your safety won’t be compromised by your surroundings. Still, you won’t want to remove healthy trees and plants just for the sake of convenience, as this won’t be beneficial to the eco-system. Instead, consider using native plants that will support local wildlife but that won’t require a lot of extra effort to maintain. Rain gardens can be constructed to make sue of natural rainwater while improving the look of a property. As a side note, make sure not to use harmful chemicals for gardening and landscaping. The ultimate goal should be a yard that requires minimal upkeep but that can still provide a tranquil environment for both you and local animal life.

Preparing to age in place isn’t the easiest task — and adding the extra wrinkle of environmental responsibility can feel like a massive challenge. But in the end, many green principles are actually just common sense. What’s more, they’ll often improve your own health while keeping the health of the earth at the forefront.