Use Less Energy: A high efficiency furnace uses less gas to heat your home.
Using Fewer Natural Resources: Engineered lumber uses less wood fiber and preserves old growth forests. Companies such as Floor Coverings International specialize in engineered wood floors that look so real often people cannot tell the difference.
Less Toxic: Modern pressure treated wood is less toxic to the environment than its predecessors. Older style pressure treated wood has chromium and arsenic in it.
Disposal: Find and use materials that are easily disposable or recyclable. Cedar shingles, for example, have less of an environmental impact on disposal than asphalt shingles.
Switch to LED or CFL Lights:
About 12 percent of an average home’s energy bill goes toward lighting, so a cheap and easy way to reduce your energy bill and your environmental footprint is to replace all light bulbs (inside and out) with light emitting diode (LED) and compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) bulbs, which use 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs. These newer bulbs also last 10 to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs, which means fewer of them end up in a landfill. Another benefit of these bulbs that is often overlooked is the amount of heat they emit. Standard bulbs emit a lot of heat, which means your air conditioner runs harder in the summer to compensate. CFL and LED lights emit less heat, thus both directly and indirectly saving even more energy.
CFL - Compact Fluorescent Light
Fluorescent light – Electrical discharge inside a glass tube that ultimately results in the emission of light in the visible spectrum.
Incandescent light – Visible light generates from a white-hot filament inside a glass bulb. The glass bulb is evacuated to exclude oxygen and prevent the filament from burning.
LED - As indicated by its full name — Light Emitting Diode — an LED is a diode that emits light. A diode is a device that allows current to flow in only one direction. Almost any two conductive materials will form a diode when placed in contact with each other — with a single p-n semiconductor junction between them. To create an LED, the n-type material is negatively charged, while the p-type material is positively charged. The atoms in the n-type material have extra electrons, while the atoms in the p-type material have electron holes — electrons missing from their outer rings
Create a Recycling and Compost Station: Most cities will now pick up and process recyclable material, and some will also pick up compostable food material and yard waste. Make sure to have bins for trash and recycling in every room, not just the kitchen! A lot of recyclable material is thrown away in home offices and bathrooms because the recycling bin is too far away. There are a lot of programs out there that offer bins for free, and some waste management services offer classes on recycling and composting.
Half the trash that homes produce is composed of food scraps. When those go to the dump, they do nothing, but if you have a compost bin at your house, you can use those scraps to make fertilizer for your garden. Most outdoor composters cost between $100 and $600, depending on how large and secure they are. To avoid attracting pests, make sure to get one with a tight-fitting lid and a secure hatch at the bottom for removing finished fertilizer.
Seal all Doors and Windows: Older homes tend to have gaps around doors and windows. All those gaps can make your house feel like a window is open somewhere. Your hot air in the winter and cold air in the summer is literally going out the window. Putting weather stripping around doors and windows can save you 10 percent on your heating and cooling bill, and prevent energy from being wasted. You can pick it up from any hardware store and install it yourself in a matter of hours. Most foam rolls cost around $5 for 10 feet, or you can spring for the plastic kind, which costs up to $350 but is more durable.
Life Cycle Assessment: A branch of the green building movement is concerned with analyzing claims of green. The technique used is called Life Cycle Assessment or LCA. This considers the product or initiative in a holistic fashion. LCA considers the total environmental impact throughout the life cycle. LCA considers environmental impact of raw materials, manufacturing, use and finally disposal. If your clients are really “green go-getters” they may want to look further into LCA.