What does it mean to go green? It depends on who you ask. For some, it means filling their homes with natural, non-toxic materials and furnishings to ensure safe, high-quality indoor air. For others, it’s carefully choosing products made from sustainable and renewable sources.

Here are the basic principles common among most green home initiatives:

1. Energy efficiency

To reduce energy demands through everyday conservation, energy-efficient appliances; and an airtight, well-insulated thermal envelope.

2. Water conservation

Planning drought-tolerant, low-maintenance landscapes or gardens using low-flow fixtures and water-saving appliances throughout the house.

3. Smart materials

To choose construction and finish materials for their low environmental impact, sustainable production, low toxicity, durability, and recyclability.

4. High air quality and minimal pollution

To ensure healthy indoor air with non-toxic materials and effective ventilation; minimizing outdoor environmental pollution from fertilizers, pesticides and landscape equipment.

5. Natural systems

To increase reliance on the sun, wind and plants for electricity, lighting, heating, cooling and air quality.
All of these principles can be applied by homeowners in any type – or age – of home and in all climates.

Meeting all of these goals may sound idealistic, but it’s happening in countless communities and cities throughout the world. And it’s easy to see why, because the more you start to think green, the more you realize that it’s simply a better way to do what we’re already doing. A green home isn’t just easier on the environment, it’s more comfortable and more pleasant to live in – and it costs less to run, every day of every year.

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