Today I’m focusing on the living room as a way to create a healthier home.
Start with the small stuff, such as sealing up leaks around doors and windows. Caulk and weather stripping are inexpensive and a quick fix for rising energy bills. The fireplace is an easy target for hot air to escape, and a fireplace plug can cut waste.
Pick better light bulbs. There are many energy-efficient ones available, including compact fluorescent lights, LED (light-emitting diode) lights, and halogens.
An additional boost to your electric bill can come from electronics that run even when not in use. A power strip with an on/off button will put an end to that phantom power use.
Shop for safer furniture, flooring
Furniture made from medium-density fiberboard and some furniture adhesives can contain a formaldehyde-based resin that could pollute the air. Look for furniture that is labeled formaldehyde-free. Buying used wood furniture is a way to have cleaner indoor air because many of the dangerous chemicals have likely evaporated. Flooring products also might emit formaldehyde. Choose the least-toxic option.
Choose paints that are labeled no- or low-VOC. You’ll also want to avoid pieces of upholstery and fabrics that are treated with synthetic chemicals that can get into the air and on our bodies. When choosing candles, opt for ones made of soy or beeswax rather than polluting petroleum products.
Terri Bennett is author of “Do Your Part: A Practical Guide for Everyday Green Living.” Doyourpart.com
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