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Becoming Greener - What can you do?

Services for Real Estate Pros

How can we become Greener?

There are several different levels on the route of becoming greener.

They start with the simple things we can do every day to become greener.

This is not a definitive guide to all things green, it's more a thought provoking list to inspire you to think about and make little changes. These can help the environment and your bank balance.

Step 1 - Easy as changing a light bulb!

  • Change your light bulbs for compact florescent light bulbs ones. These use 75% less energy and last up to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
  • Turn lights out in rooms when you leave and turn it back on when you come back in.
  • Save water, don't run facets longer than you have too.
  • Recycle as much as you can. Think about a composter for the garden. Instead of sending your green scraps to the landfill you can easily make your own compost for your garden.
  • Use re-useable bags available at the grocery stores rather than disposable plastic ones that you throw away.
  • Check around your doors and windows for drafts. This can be easily done using a hairdryer and a candle or just a candle on a windy day. Repair any gaps by caulking them up or installing draft excluding strips.
  • Turn down the thermometer on the heating/cooling system. One degree can equate to up to  a 5% reduction in your heating bill.
  • unplug any chargers used for phones, mp3 players, etc when they are not being used. Saves electricity and removers a potential fire hazard.
  • Don't use a screen saver on your computer, turn your monitor off.
  • Turn off computers, televisions, etc when not in use rather than them being on stand by. This could add up to a 5 - 8 % reduction in the electricity you use.
  • Only use the dishwasher/washing machine when full.
  • Do the washing up by hand if it's only a few items.
  • Dry clothes out doors (where practical) rather than using the dryer.
  • Buy products that are made of recycled material or are recyclable when used or that the packaging is recyclable over other comparable products.
  • When you have finished with something, can it be sold or given away rather than just putting it in the trash. You can sell just about anything using the likes of Ebay.com, craigslist.com or your local web sales sites like Yahoo group lemonade-stand here in Charleston, SC. Most of these are free or at a low cost. Consider taking stuff to your local Goodwill store.
  • Lower the temperature on your water heater to a 120 deg F. It's safer if you have children and is nromally still hot enough. (Check that your dishwasher has a booster heater if it requires hot water at 140 deg F for optimal cleaning).
  • Take a shower instead of a bath.
  • Install water saving shower heads can reduce the water you use from 3.5 - 5.5 gallon per minute down to 2.2 - 2.5 gallon per minute. Saves water and saves heating water.

Step 2 - A little more effort!

  • Car share/pool for your trip to work or to collect the kids from school.
  • Walk or take the bicycle to the neighborhood pool or shops instead of your car.
  • Collect rainwater for use in watering the garden.
  • Add motion detectors to outside security lighting or replace with solar lighting with motion detectors.
  • Check and/or add insulation to your roof space. 12 inches of insulation is recommended.
  • If you are replacing a household appliance, check into it's green or energy saving features.
  • Stop junk mail or unwanted catalogues . See web sites like Directmail.com, 41pounds.org, greendimes.com and many others for information on how to go about this.
  • Repair or replace a dripping facet.
  • Maintain, service your car to keep it's engine fuel efficient.
  • Keeping vehicle tires at the recommended pressures reduces fuel consumption.
  • Undertake an Energy Audit to find and improve your homes efficiency. You can find details on this by searching the web or sites like wikipedia.com will have information.

Step 3 - A lifestyle change!

  • Downsize your car or change your car for a model that is more fuel efficient.
  • Install a rainwater collection system to use rainwater for flushing the toilets, etc.
  • If you are carrying out home improvements or a remodel, think about using renewable, recyclable, energy efficient materials. Recycle your waste, don't just send it to the landfill.
  • Install water saving toilets.
  • Replace old water heaters, air conditioning and furnaces with energy efficient ones.

Step 4 - As big as a house!

  • Have a green house designed and built .
  • Sell your car and use public transport for travel.


I have not included many items in Steps 3 & 4, this is for two reasons. Firstly they are major steps and can involve major costs and lifestyle changes and secondly, anyone who is looking to carry out this level of change is going to be researching the subject, hopefully.

Again the above is not a definitive list and not all changes are practical for everyone, but it doesn't take a lot of research or effort to make simple changes and these add up in savings for you and a cleaner environment.

How can this not be a good idea!

As a little teaser, we recently applied a few of these changes to our own home a couple of months ago. This has resulted in an approximate reduction of $50.00 per month in our electricity bill (compared to the same period last year. We will be making further changes.


Alan Langstone
Real Estate Agent
Langstone Team
Carolina One Real Estate
1951 Clements Ferry Road
Charleston, South Carolina, 29492
Work: 843-284-1932
Mobile: 843-709-8123
Fax: 843-202-8675
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Mark P. Felton
Front Porch Homes - Waco, TX
Waconulls Premiere Custom Builder

Great Post.  We build "Green" in Texas.  It is the only way to go.

Feb 12, 2009 07:20 AM
Kim White LeBlanc
Keller Williams Las Vegas Realty - Las Vegas, NV

Way to make the place a better place I will use some of these things to start living GREEN . WOW I didn't even know some of these points either.

Thank you,

Kim White

Mar 02, 2009 05:15 AM
Alan Langstone
Mount Pleasant, SC

Thanks Kim,

It's surprising how a little bit of effort gets results.

Mar 03, 2009 03:37 AM
Jessica Jones
Sandestin Real Estate - Sandestin, FL
Destin Sandestin 30-A Real Estate

Great post and a simple breakdown in the different levels. I wish more people would start to do the little things - they really do add up!

Mar 29, 2009 08:56 AM
Laura Sampson
Happy Home Stager, LLC - Clermont, FL
Principal Stylist, CEP Trainer

I know that this post is a few months old, yet the information in never old.  All great pointers.  May I add another simple point?  Use native and non-invasive plants in the garden and stay pesticide free inside & out.


Some great sites to check out: LiveGreenLiveSmart.org & GreenBuildingAdvisor.com



Apr 30, 2009 01:03 PM