10 ways to make your home more eco-friendly

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Ten tips for making your home a green machine.

1. Get a High-Efficiency Showerhead. A high-efficiency showerhead saves up to 3,000 gallons of water per person per year. You could save about $50 on energy costs and 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per person per year.

2. Recycle Water in Your Bathroom. Use devices such as the Sink-Positive system, which allows you to reuse sink water for flushing your toilet.

3. Compost. Use a composter to turn food and lawn wastes into rich mulch. Next spring you’ll have rich compost ready to go for spring planting.

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4. Purchase green power from your utility. Most charge less than $5 per month extra.

5. Improve the efficiency of your existing hot-water heater. Reduce the temperature of your hot-water heater to 120 degrees, wrap it in a water-heater-insulating blanket and insulate the first 3 to 6 feet of hot- and cold-water pipes.

6. Use high-efficiency outdoor lighting. Replace floodlights with compact-fluorescent versions — they’re just as bright and use a quarter of the energy. Next, replace low-wattage halogen landscape bulbs with LED versions.

7. Replace high-use indoor lights with compact fluorescents or LEDs. Today’s compact fluorescent bulbs are better than ever.

8. Load up the washing machines. Make sure you run dishwashers and clothes washers only when they’re full. Clothes washers are huge energy and water users, so make sure you’re doing full loads (or adjusting the water setting) whenever possible.

9. Drive smarter. Hybrids, biodiesels, electric — today we have more choices than ever when it comes to efficient transportation.

10. Avoid the daily waste of fast food and shopping. Next week, keep track of how much trash you generate by eating out and making trips to the store. All of those bags, cups and containers really add up, and are stuffing our landfills to capacity. Use reusable shopping bags whenever you go to the store. Say “No, thanks” when a clerk tries to put your one or two items in a bag.

Jason Pelletier on hgtv.com

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