Eco-friendly, Green Home Improvement Tips
It is now a known fact that global warming is happening and it is changing the way we live including the way we improve our homes. Al Gore informed us in his documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth” that we emit 7 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the air every single day. If everyone committed to doing one green thing every day that amount would be significantly reduced. Here are 10 eco-friendly, environmentally conscious, green home improvement building projects that you can do easily and still help lessen the impact of humanity on the earth.
1. Antique your Shutters with Milk Paint
If you want to give your exterior shutters a fresh coat of paint and are looking for an antiqued feeling give milk paint a try. Milk paint is an all-natural paint alternative. Milk paint does not put fumes or chemicals into the atmosphere.
Homemade Milk Paint Ingredients
- 1 Gallon non-fat milk
- 2 1/2 Ounces of hydrated lime (not quick lime)
- 2 1/2 cups of water
- 6 cups of chalk for filler
- kool-aid organic fabric dye
Allow the milk to sit out for a couple of days. Once it is curdled use a cheesecloth to strain. Mix the curd and lime together using a household blender. Add water and mix. Stir in chalk. Add kool-aid powder until the desired color is achieved.
To paint shutters – Sand wood using 150 grit sandpaper until the wood is raw. Sand smooth with 220 grit sandpaper.
Apply milk paint to the shutters using a paintbrush. Use a heavy thick bristled brush and apply in heavy strokes. As the milk paint dries it will begin to “crackle” and “craze.” Once the paint is dry simply apply a coat of all-natural tung oil and rehang shutters.
2. Insulate your House with Cotton (Denim Batts)
Use cotton insulation by purchasing denim batts from a company such as Bonded Logic which is manufactured from remnants of denim clothing.
- Cotton/denim batts
- Plastic Sheeting
- Construction Adhesive
- Construction Tape
- Use the 2x4s to frame your room according to your framing instructions.
- Stuff denim insulation between the studs.
- Glue edges of plastic sheeting to your framing so that the insulation is covered in the plastic. This creates a moisture barrier. Staple around the edges of the plastic for extra hold. Lay in your wallboard and you are done.
3. Install an Eco-friendly Floor
There are many more eco-friendly floor materials available than one would think. Regardless of your style, taste and budget, there is a green alternative for you.
- Bamboo flooring is an all-natural flooring material that is easy to clean, durable and has a nice shine.
- Recycled glass tiles come in an amazing array of colors, styles and finishes.
- Stone flooring is the perfect choice for an environmentally conscious household. It holds temperature well, cleans well and is easy to install.
4. Purchase your Building Supplies from a Habitat for Humanity ReStore.
Whether you are putting in new windows or laying in new countertops the Habitat for Humanity ReStore has what you need. The ReStore sells used products that are in good enough condition to be reused. This means fewer appliances and building materials end up in our landfills. Save a fridge and help save the planet I always say.
5. Make your Driveway Environmentally Friendly with a Heated Driveway from Warmup
Warmup, the makers of the eco-friendly heated driveway have devised a way to melt snow and ice without damaging plants and foilage with salt. They can be installed in already existing driveways and are touted as being DIY friendly. Contact Warmup for a free estimate.
6. Organic Weed Control
Lawn care is one of the easiest ways we can improve the value of our home. Here are 2 ways to approach weed control with organic methods.
Mulch – Spread mulch wherever you have soil to help combat the growth of weeds.
Corn Gluten Meal – Purchase at feed stores. Simply sprinkle on the affected area.
7. Make your Windows Look New the Green Way
One way to give your home a fresh face is to clean your windows. Scrub them free of dirt and grime with a mix of warm water and vinegar and scrub with an old newspaper.
8. Build a Compost Heap
Build a compost heap digging a hole about 2 feet deep. Then lay in one layer dried grass, old hay, vines and branches. Then add a layer of garden soil and manure mixed half and half. Next, add a layer of fresh food peelings, scraps and freshly cut grass. Repeat layers of at least 6 inches thick. Layer chicken wire over the top and secure with bricks. Each time you add to your compost heap be sure to spray the top with water.
9. Use a Rainwater Irrigation System
To help the planet with water usage capture rainwater in a barrel and build your own irrigation system for watering your garden.
- 50 Gallon container made from recycled materials
- Soaker hose made from recycled materials
- Spigot from Home Depot or Lowes
- Drill a 1-inch hole into the side of the container at the bottom.
- Attach spigot according to instructions.
- To water plants attach soaker hose to a spigot.
10. Tint your Windows to Save on Energy
Purchase a DIY window tinting kit. It’s as easy as installing shelf paper and is an affordable solution to rising cooling bills.