Question

What are the 10 best new products to green my home?

Asked by Isaac Slade
Byhalia, MS

I find it hard to find the best new products, it seems like each time I research something there is something better just released. It is the same with all new technology I guess.

Answer

Richard Williams

Answered by Richard Williams

Encinitas, CA

Arthaus, LLC

May 21, 2012

Interesting question to attempt to answer, Isaac. Without knowing what your actual intentions are for your home, it’s rather difficult to pinpoint the best answer for you.

  • If you just have an interest in the coolest, greenest new products, well that would provide you one answer.
  • But if you are interested in the 10 best things you can do for your home to green it, and do that with the best new products out there to achieve that goal, that would be an entirely different answer.

Both are fun goals (I confess that I am secretly a geek about seeing what new products come on the market.)

Adding to the complexity of providing an answer, realize that “best” can be interpreted so many different ways: The shade of green a product possesses, value for money, benefits provided, etc.

Check REGREEN's Green My Project tool

My guess is that you aren’t a product geek, but rather you want to make an investment in your home to green it, and find the best products out there to achieve the optimum results.

In order to achieve the optimum results, you will need to determine what your scope of work will be for improvements, and THEN find the products that you want to purchase in order to achieve the best results.

Not knowing what you want to actually do to green your home, I shall refer you to the USGBC’s REGREEN Program to help you determine what it is that you can do to improve your home in the ways you might want to. In your browsing, be sure to take a look at the nifty “Green My Project” tool on the website’s home page.

Get an energy audit

One thing that I would encourage you to do is to get an energy audit for your home and consider doing some energy upgrades.

Besides saving you money on your utility bills, a lot of those upgrades also improve the thermal comfort of your home, the safety of your home, and improve the indoor air quality of your home.

Getting an energy audit isn’t as much fun as buying a cool new product, I must admit. So back to products.

  • I assume that you want to buy products to address the low-hanging fruit for energy savings and benefits.
  • By that, for example, I mean addressing the lighting in your home versus changing out your heating system.

You should look at the cost versus the benefit for each product you are thinking of buying for your home, in order to determine what it is that you might want to buy.

Technology is improving fast

I’m going to give you some bad news though. You are correct, if you buy something now that is the best product out there, tomorrow there will likely be a better one on the market. That’s a reality that you have to ignore if you want to make any progress. 

Take LED lighting, for example. The technology is improving so fast it can make your head spin.

  • But it’s far better to screw in an LED bulb that is going to be obsolete in a month than keep on using an incandescent bulb.
  • This reasoning can help you get around to replacing water-hogging toilets, lavatory faucets, showerheads, etc. 

All you can do is take your best shot when considering which products to buy, and let go of buying “the best” product out there. Of course, do your research, read reviews, etc.

Your values

Finally, I would advise you to take a good look at what your highest values are for your home in order to decide what products to buy.

  • If it is health and safety, take all those poisonous cleaning products from under the kitchen sink and replace them with products safe for your health. The air quality of your home will be vastly improved.
  • If it’s money that’s important, change out your lighting fixtures.
  • If it’s efficiency that you want to improve, consider having your ducting tested for leakage and sealed.
  • If it’s thermal comfort, consider air sealing your home and upgrading your insulation.

But, if you want to just buy a cool, new green product to look at on a day to day basis and play with, well you can buy a NEST Thermostat like I am going to do soon for my own home. 

 

For more information:

Check GreenSource Magazine’s Monthly List. Tthe products there include applications for both residential and non-residential uses.

Do you have a question about greening your home? GreenHomeGuide invites you to Ask A Pro. Let our network of experienced green building professionals – architects, designers, contractors, electricians, energy experts, landscapers, tile & stone specialists, and more – help you find the right solution.