Green Building & Green Infrastructure - Info & Tips
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency buildings are responsible for 39 % of total energy use, 12 % of the total water consumption 68 % of total electricity consumption and 38 % of the carbon dioxide emissions.
DuPage County is committed to reducing its impact on the environment and we encourage home & building property owners to implement some or all of the following helpful tips.
- Appliances – Choose Energy Star labeled appliances. Replace older models with newer more energy efficient ones.
- Lighting – Install compact florescent bulbs which use 2/3 less energy than incandescent ones. These bulbs are now available in many shapes, sizes and colors at most stores that sell hardware.
- Reduction -- Turn off computers and appliances when not in use. Energy is still being transmitted to appliances even when they are off. Use a programmable thermostat to reduce energy consumption when you are not at home.
- Roofs – Use light-colored reflective roofs or install a green roof.
- Window Coverings – Install window coverings that fit tightly to the window and floor. This can reduce heat loss. Coverings can also be used to allow heat in during winter months and cut energy loss in summer months.
- Insulation – Attics should have R-30 insulation. Insulating the exterior of your home when you reside can dramatically reduce energy consumption. Caulk around cracks in windows and door frames and placing insulating layers beneath electrical switches. Use insulating blankets around water heaters.
- Products -- Look for recycled content products. Many building products are made from recycled lumber, recycled tires and recycled plastic.
- Recycle -- When doing construction projects, request that the contractor use a waste hauler that recycles your waste. These companies can recycle the cardboard, wood, metal and other construction waste. Or you can donate extra building supplies to a non-profit for reuse or resale. Information on local non-profits is available in the DuPage County Online Recycling Guide.
- Purchase -- When possible, choose longer-lasting products. These may cost more in the short-term but in the long run are a smart investment.
- Reduce -- When purchasing your cleaning or painting products buy only what you need.
- Pre-Fabricated Products -- Using items that are sized for your project reduces the amount of waste generated. Buying carpet squares that can be replaced individually can also limit waste generated.
- Native Plants – Replace non-native plants with plants native to Illinois. Information on native species can be found online at the Morton Arboretum or The Conservation Foundation.
- Trees – Trees can provide necessary shade, reduce stormwater runoff and help in storing carbon.
- Water – Use a rain barrel to collect rainwater for use in your lawn and garden. This can reduce your water bill and help the environment.
- Air Quality – Use natural cleaning products and low VOC paints. Avoid products that contain formaldehyde, benzene, arsenic, etc. These substances can be found in stains, varnishes, carpeting and other products.
- Faucets – Install low-flow shower heads. This can help you save up to 40% on your water usage.
- Toilets – Replace older toilets with low-flow or dual flush toilets.
- Clothes Washers – Front loading Energy Star washers use 35-50% less water and 50% less energy per load.