Green Remodeling Projects: Part V – The Living Room
Going green in the home isn’t just a nice thing to do anymore, it’s almost a necessity. Because of the attention that eco-friendly ventures get, it’s now easier than ever to greenify your home. Options are widely available and made inexpensive, and there’s no excuse to slack off anymore. In Part V of our multi-part series on how to make your home greener, we’ll head inside the living room and see what you can do to make that space greener.

Swap out Old Bulbs for Energy Efficient Ones


One of the biggest culprits in the home is lighting, as old bulbs — incandescent ones — are huge energy guzzlers and are being phased out in favor of more energy efficient ones. This is one of the easiest steps you can take to greenifying your living room, as it only costs a few dollars per bulb to make the change. Plus, you won’t be able to take on an easier remodeling aspect than unscrewing and screwing in light bulbs.

Modify Your Entertainment Center


The living room is the main place where people gather to watch TV and movies, but having everything ready to go at the touch of a button uses up a lot of energy. It’s just not possible for you to watch TV every second of the day, so why should everything be plugged in all the time, too? Set up all your cords into a power bar, and then switch it off at nights.

But that’s just one step. Something else you should be looking into is buying energy-efficient TV. Look for models that use 100 watts or less, and cut the energy it uses each year in half. And if your budget allows, buy a TV that’s free of mercury, lead and VOCs.

Get to Know the Thermostat


The thermostat is like the brain of the house, controlling just how hot or cold it is everywhere while the brawn — the furnace and air conditioner — do all the heavy lifting. But the biggest difference between your brain and the thermostat-brain is the latter can’t think for itself; it only does what you tell it to do. And if you tell it to be a couple degrees warmer in the summer (such as when you’re out at work during the day), it’ll do that, and you’ll save money on your energy bills.

Invest in Curtains and Blinds


The sun gives off a lot of heat during the warmer months, and this can trigger your thermostat into thinking it needs to cool the house down, or the atmosphere can just be really uncomfortable inside. Hanging blinds and curtains serves more than just an aesthetic function: it also helps keep your house cool. They can block out the sun’s power greatly, cooling your house by enough degrees that you can give your thermostat a bit of a break. And if you get light-colored ones, you can still retain some of the sun’s light and avoid turning on the overheads.

Use Eco-Friendly Paints


Just about every homeowner has painted their living room walls at one point or another, but how many of them have used paint that didn’t contain VOCs (volatile organic compounds)? This additive can not only be toxic to the environment, but also to your long-term health. Paint is also a relatively inexpensive thing to buy when it comes to remodeling, so splurge a few dollars more for the VOC-free stuff and instantly boost the greenness of your living room.

Keep reading for our next post on how to green-remodel your home, giving you a way to be both eco-friendly and save money on your bills each year.
Amy Wright
Amy Wright is the Lead Editor of Remodeling Central. When she isn't playing with her dogs she is trying to remodel a classic Chicago style brownstone with her husband.