I started this blog in February 2010 to get our home LEED certified….which we did in May 2011! You’ll find each LEED for Homes credit (there are 87) analyzed in blog posts: whether and how we got the point(s), the costs and benefits. This blog continues as we try to live sustainably in our home and I share our experiences. I’ve just released the first of four volumes of my Sustainable Home eBook series, Energy and Water Efficiency: Top 10 Tips to Save Money on Your Utility Bills.

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First eBook release on Amazon! Sustainable Home Guide Season 1: Ten Weekly Tips to Lower Your Utility Bills

Sustainable Home Guide - eBook width=It’s finally here….Sustainable Home Guide-Season I: Ten Weekly Tips to Lower Your Utility Bills, for sale as an eBook on Amazon.com!

You don’t have to have a kindle to read it — you can read it through the free Kindle app that is compatible with most electronic devices.   And it’s only $4.95!

Wondering what’s in it?  The first of four volumes, it starts you down the path of having a more sustainable home.

The Preface tells you all about how the massive topic of sustainability for the home is broken into four quarters, or seasons.  The Introduction provides everything you need to know about why energy efficiency matters.  Then, learn the top 10 ways you can save money on energy and water bills at home (which will more than pay for this eBook!).  The final chapter provides resources for how to learn more.

Stay tuned for Sustainable Home Guide Season Two (Spring):  10 Weekly Tips to Reduce Your Exposure to Toxins and Chemicals — which will be released early 2015.




Weekly Tip #6: Look for No- and Low-VOC paints, sealants, adhesives and coatings

You know that new paint smell? Does it every give you a headache or irritate your sinuses? That’s because most paints contain VOCs – volatile organic compounds. VOCs are a class of carbon-based compounds that readily become volatile under ordinary atmospheric conditions. In other words, they are gases that are emitted from certain solids or liquids, and they can have adverse health effects.S2W5-paint image

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), VOCs are emitted by a wide array of products numbering in the thousands. Examples include:

  • paints and lacquers
  • paint strippers
  • cleaning supplies
  • pesticides
  • building materials and furnishings
  • office equipment such as copiers and printers
  • correction fluids and carbonless copy paper
  • graphics and craft materials including glues and adhesives, permanent markers, and photographic solutions.

What’s the health risk?

There are many known health risks to VOC exposure: Eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches, loss of coordination, nausea, memory impairment; damage to liver, kidney, and central nervous system; allergic skin reaction; fatigue and dizziness.


Weekly Tip #5: Do Not Use Antibacterial Products

Why do we use anti-bacterial soaps and cleaners? Because we are all basically germophobes, and we believe that using these types of cleaners will help keep our families healthy.

Antibacterial products have taken off in the market place, primarily due to advertising that preys on our fear of germs that will make us sick. Indeed, companies that market these products are good at it. Below is an excerpt directly from Walgreens’ website (who’s tagline is “At the Corner of Happy & Healthy” – seriously?!):

 Antibacterial hand soaps

If you’re concerned about germs, antibacterial hand soaps can be a good investment. Hand soaps that are antibacterial not only remove grease and grime from your hands – they can also kill disease-causing germs that you come in contact with every day. There are several brands that sell antibacterial hand soaps available from Walgreens.com such as SoftSoap, Lyso, and Dial.

 Benefits of germ-killing soaps

Killing germs is essential in some work settings. If you work or run a business where germs are a serious detriment to the health of your workers and customers, investing in antibacterial hand soaps should be a top priority. Triclosan is a common antibacterial ingredient that is added to these soaps to give them their germ-fighting properties. Keeping a antibacterial liquid hand soap pump at every sink will ensure that everyone in the work place has access to germ-killing soap. These benefits will also come in handy in your home. Almost everything people come into contact with is covered with germs. Washing your hands with antibacterial hand soaps ensures that none of the germs you pick up will cause an illness.

I’m sold! But wait…what does antibacterial really mean?

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