Greening Every Room in Your Home: Living Room
The living room is the place in the house where we hang out, talk, watch TV and even eat dinner. So it’s key that this room be a green, clean oasis. Here’s how:
In the winter let the sun shine in. Keeping your drapes open during the day will help warm the room in the winter. At night, close your drapes. And make sure you have heavy insulating drapes, have a look at www.cozycurtains.com. Heavy drapes act as insulation and will keep the heat in the room, instead of it sneaking out of a crack in the window.
You already know about indoor air pollution in the home. But did you know that the largest surfaces in your home (the floors and walls) affect your air quality the most. Like the bedroom, if you have carpet, you may want to find alternatives. Hardwood floors that are locally sourced and come from well-managed forests are the best. Look for the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) logo to be sure. If you are painting, look for no or low VOCs.
We all love the romantic feel that a candle gives to a room. Make sure your candles are soy or beeswax based! Conventional candles are made using paraffin derived from petroleum, not good. They also off gas.
If you absolutely must have carpets, go with natural fibers instead of synthetic ones. And nail them down instead of using glues and adhesives. Both of which contain formaldehyde, a know carcinogen that off gases in your home. Jute and Sisal are fabulous.
Refresh and Reuse!
Don’t buy new furntuite for your living room. Make your old couch look new again by re-upholstering it. Even better, source used furniture online or check out your local garage sales, you never know what treasure you may find! if you are looking to buy new, I highly recommend shopping local and making sure the woods that are used are from well managed forests.
Good windows will save you money fast. There is a ton of alternatives, wood, aluminum, PVC etc. If you are looking for the greenest option, go with fiberglass. You can check out: www.duxtonwindows.com and www.inlinefiberglass.com.
If you can’t invest in windows calking and weather stripping will save you time and money too. Keep in mind that a lot energy is lost through your windows, a window insulation kits will help you reduce that loss by keeping the warm air in and the cold drafts out.
Standby the environment by turning your electronics off. All electronics sit on standby mode, unplugging your TV at the end of the night will save you almost $60.00 a year. If you have too many things to unplug consider a smart strip. It’ll allow you to put all your electronics on a timer, switching them off at a time you choose. www.saveonenergy.ca offers coupons on a great deal of cool green stuff.
Switch to LEDs and keep your living room doors shut during winter months to stop heat escaping from the room you want it in.
For your TV itself, LCD models are more eco-friendly than plasma’s. Did you know your electronics contain flame retardants? And yes, none of us want our TV’s or VCR going up in smoke, but it’s important to understand that fire retardants or PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) are highly toxic to your health. PBDEs have been linked to hyperactivity, learning difficulties and decreased sperm counts. In the USA studies have found this stuff in breast milk and blood streams. PBDEs are found in household dust that accumulates around electronics like your TV. Vacuuming often and turning your electronics off when they are not in use will help. Sony is one company that does not use deca-BDEs (used mostly in electronics). In Canada, PDBEs are being phased out but if you are buying imported firetinur, there is still a chance they may contain this crapola.
Your home and your health will do better if you:
- Ventilate it regularly.
- Vacuum twice a week
- Replace your filter on your heating and cooling system once every three months
- Install a humidifier
The bottom line is to think about the kinds of toxins you are bringing into your home, choosing greener alternatives will save you money.
Candice is an award winning eco-journalist and one of Canada’s leading eco advocates. Her career spans national and international media outlets. She’s currently the eco expert for CTV and the editor in chief of The Eco Hub, a digital media company that connects conscious consumers to brands and companies that care about people and the planet. Their ultimate goal is provide their readers with the resources they need to find chic, stylish, sustainable, affordable, made in Canada alternatives to everyday items.