The use of natural elements in home remodeling and energy-efficient products are more than a passing fling. Homeowners are looking at protecting their investment and the environment at the same time. And while some so-called "green" lighting and flooring products can warm up the atmosphere of your home, they can help you save money on your annual energy bills.
A great example is Toolbarn's recommendation to replace existing light bulbs with compact fluorescent ones. The energy efficient bulbs can use as much as 75 percent less electricity, lowering your costs nearly $60 over the seven-year life of the bulb. You can also cut your power costs by installing motion detector bulbs indoor and outdoors. You don't have to leave the lights burning all night on your patio to scare off burglars.
Looking at Green Homes Contractors are now offering so-called green homes in special subdivisions. That means you can borrow their ideas and retrofit your home with devices to lower your bills. A new home in Northern California's "Carsten Crossings" neighborhood offers $1,400 in annual energy savings, according to developers. Flooring products and sustainable paint materials feature materials that don't release volatile organic compounds.
Today eco-sensitive homeowners are choosing natural fibers like wool or sisal for their rugs, linoleum in place of vinyl, recycled wood, cork, and bamboo for flooring. HGTV has a nice pictorial presentation of green flooring products on its site. Bamboo is known throughout Asia for its durability and easy maintenance. Like bamboo, cork can be expensive to install, but it is also easy to clean with homemade water and vinegar solution. Both products lend a nice look and are efficient in baffling noise.
HGTV also recommends using recycled wood and reclaimed glass flooring products. Recycled tiles are bright and you can choose colors that complement your decor. You can even find ecological carpet flooring constructed out of recycled plastic bottles and corn sugar.
Don't Forget Green Appliances Green Home Guide authors recommend that you install "smart ceiling fans" during your home remodeling project. Fans that cost under $70 with retrofit materials that cost under $40 can curb your heating and cooling costs. What makes these fans "smart" are the sensors that detect when people leave the room, shutting down the fan until occupants return. By using a fan, you can easily raise the thermostat on your air conditioning by 5 degrees or, conversely, drop your furnace temperature by 5 degrees in the winter.
You don't have to spend a fortune to change the way you live.