Earth Day is celebrated every year on April 22, which is this Tuesday. Originally Earth Day was to be celebrated on the spring equinox, but it was moved a month later so that students would not be away on spring break or taking finals on Earth Day. Since it was first celebrated in 1970, most of the original activities focused on curtailing major industrial sources of air and water pollution. Today, many activities take a more inward focus to concentrate on what individuals can do around the home to minimize their environmental impact. With that in mind, here are some earth day tips to use around the home. Many of these are simple changes that not only help the environment but also add charm to your home.
Use Reclaimed Materials to Decorate Your House
While an old barn door may no longer have a use outside, it can make a great visual impact inside the timber frame home. After being sanded and re-stained to match your interior, a tracked barn door can be a great way to close off an office or even divide space in a bathroom. This provides great functionality and classic charm, while reusing existing materials.
Another decorating idea is to take old windows inside. While modern exterior windows need to be more energy efficient, there are many beautiful windows that can live a second life inside the home. If you have a stained glass window from an old relative’s home, why not consider using it inside the home to provide light and style to interior spaces?
Use Reclaimed Timbers as Accent Features in your Timber Frame Home
At Timberpeg and Yankee Post and Beam, we are very proud of how energy efficient our homes are. Last week, we discussed recent advances in manufacturing efficient windows; we have previously discussed how our SIP wall construction creates a tight, efficient insulated envelope for your home. While these modern features are necessary for an efficient home, timbers from an old barn home can be used in new construction. Oftentimes, old timber-frame barns are demolished after outliving their usefulness, but the frame is still in very good condition. If you want to use these reclaimed timbers to lessen the impact of your home, then we will happily work with you to realize this choice. Even if building the entire home from reclaimed timbers is not feasible for you, it’s still possible to use old timber as decor, such as this lamp, or as a mantle for your fireplace.
Invest in a Tankless Water Heater
Last fall, we discussed how great strides have been made in the efficiency of furnaces, air conditioners, and washing machines. While upgrading these appliances can indeed greatly reduce your home’s energy and water usage, the first two especially can be major, expensive projects. One way to drastically cut your energy usage with minimal expense is to replace a traditional tank water heater with a tankless model. Not only do these models reduce energy use by around twenty percent, they also eliminate the worry about ever running out of hot water.
Compost Food Scraps
On average, people waste up to a third of all food in the home. Rather than wasting these scraps, start a compost bin. Even if you don’t garden, compost is a great addition to your lawn. While reducing your food waste should be a priority, turning waste into fertilizer for your property is a great, earth-friendly project.
If you’d like to learn more about any of the projects featured here, or learn more on how a timber frame home is an eco-friendly building choice, contact Timberpeg or contact Yankee Post and Beam to learn more.