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Is your home a part of the solution to what is going on with climate change? Or is it a part of the problem? Did you know that every choice you make for how you live in your home and everything you bring into your home impacts your health and the planet as a whole?
The climate crisis has shown us that building a life for ourselves and creating modern conveniences have made a big footprint on the earth and our fellow human beings. So, a while back, my co-host and I started a series on climate change as an opportunity for us to discuss what climate change means. We wanted to create a space to talk in-depth about the climate crisis and let people know why we care.
I’m Marla, the Green Home Coach. Today my occasional co-host, Tony Pratte from the Soundroom, is joining me in the studio for a face-to-face conversation about how to make your home a part of the solution to the problem of climate change.
Buildings, including commercial properties and our homes, are about forty percent of the current load.
The impact of the building process
There is a lot to deal with when it comes to the climate crisis, and most people do not understand the full impact of the building process. People tend to think only about what goes into the building of a structure without thinking of where the materials come from or how to maintain and power it once the structure is complete.
Many of us have been focused for years on our energy and water use, conservation, and efficiency, without ever knowing how much our homes contribute to the problem of climate change.
A green or sustainable certification
When looking at homes from a green or sustainable certification perspective, we essentially build, remodel, renovate, or reconstruct a structure to become healthier and more comfortable. We also do it to make the use of water and energy more controllable.
We look at six different categories when it comes to the green or sustainable certification of a structure or home:
- The land that it sits on.
- How well it uses resources.
- How well it uses energy.
- How well it uses water.
- Its indoor air and indoor environmental quality.
- How it gets operated and maintained.
Each of the above categories offers us an area of improvement for how we live in our homes, how our homes perform, and the size of the load. Any step, even baby steps, will start to turn the tide.
One of the greenest things that you can do
Caring about how a home gets operated and maintained is one of the greenest things that you can do that sustains the home or structure into the future and ensures that things do not need to be replaced as soon.
Knowing how to operate your home is vital
You need to know how to operate your home. If not, you will never reap all the benefits. If you know how to operate your house as it was built, designed, and engineered, you will reap the benefits for the rest of your life.
Our homes are there to make us comfortable and protect us from the elements. Yet, they are also part of the load that we place on the world, on our communities, and on each other.
We need to choose whether we want to be part of the problem or part of the solution. So, we need to educate ourselves and shift our perspectives to look at what we can do, rather than looking at the things that we are not doing.
We need to accept that even if we cannot do the big things, we can still do small things in our homes to conserve energy. We can get rid of energy waste, replace old appliances with more energy-efficient ones, replace the light bulbs with LEDs, and be more mindful about the amount of energy we use. It also helps to ensure that the heating and cooling system was properly designed, the house is air-tight for the winter, and the windows are shaded in the summer.
There are many free resources available on the internet to help us understand more about green homes and make better choices. One of my favorite new resources is Home Performance Counts, put out as a joint project between the National Association of Realtors and the National Association of Home Builders.
We should never waste any water because water is our scarcest resource. Worldwide, a billion people per day do not have access to clean water. Yet water is vital for manufacturing things and recycling. It also takes water to make electricity.
We need to educate ourselves to make the best choices for buying products that have been made from the most sustainable resources. It is always best to choose the items that have the lowest impact. Remember that you cannot be perfect, so give yourself grace and do the best you can.
My website Green Home Coach
Book: Living Green Effortlessly
Learn how to make your home healthier for you and our world in my Love Your Everyday Green Home
Easily find stylish, energy-efficient options for your home. Enter “energy” in the search bar on the Shop page
Green Living – Saving Ourselves
Does Greener Living Support Your Values?
Taking on Climate Change at Home…from NPR
How to Fight Climate Change at Home
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