It can all be accomplished by greening your house.
Among the aims of green design is to minimize the impact that buildings have on the environment. After all, they consume enormous resources, including 14% of potable water, 40% of raw materials, and 39% of energy in the United States alone (according to the US Green Building Council).
Small Steps, Big Impact
Lots of people taking small steps can make a big impact on the environment. Those steps can entail anything from switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs to incorporating non-toxic and recycled building materials.
If you're on a tight budget, greening your house can be beneficial because sustainability strategies translate to more dollars in your wallet. Just using an ENERGY STAR-qualified compact fluorescent light bulb saves about $30 over its lifetime and pays for itself in about 6 months. It uses 75% less energy and lasts about 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb.
By using programmable thermostats, you can slash heating and cooling bills by $180 per year. Cut phantom power consumption--home electronics that keep using power even in standby mode, for instance--and save $100 per year.
And by eliminating toxins, such as fumes from paint and cleaning products, and choosing products that don't off-gas dangerous chemicals you'll improve your home's indoor air quality and keep you and your loved ones healthier.
As an SRES, I can discuss strategies to green your home and refer you to professionals who can perform energy audits, install energy-saving technologies and develop green strategies specifically for your home.