Fall is all about color: burnt oranges, rich browns
and deep crimsons, to name a few. But it's also a great opportunity
to bring a little green into your home. Try these tricks for making
your house a little more eco-friendly for the season.
- Mulch leaves. Raking and piling
is commonplace for many Chicagoland families: "Our yards are big
enough to have a ton of leaves, but not big enough to compost them
all," says Maria Onesto Moran, president of Green Home Experts in
Oak Park. So instead of bagging and tossing your leaves, she
suggests using your lawn mower to mulch the leaves to use as a
spring fertilizer. Or, if you're not comfortable with that,
encourage your kids to use them for crafts and seasonal
- Use natural décor. Send your
kids on a treasure hunt to find things in the backyard that would
look great indoors, Moran suggests. Acorns and foliage, for
instance, could make a great rustic wreath. Not feeling crafty?
Head to your local farmers market to buy little gourds to place
around the house.
- Plant a garden. Summer tends to
be the planting season, but Moran says autumn is the perfect time
for an amazing container garden. Mums are a classic, of course, but
try thinking about fall foods to plant, as well. Kale, for
instance, is a nutritious garden-to-table choice that packs flavor
into fall soups.
- Think efficiently. Don't wait
until spring for a home makeover: the government is awarding tax
credits for people who buy energy efficient appliance upgrades, but
only through the end of this year. Swapping out old heating and
cooling equipment can save up to $200 a year, according to the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency. Since it's now getting dark
earlier, consider setting up a timer for your lights, swapping out
energy efficient bulbs if you haven't already and keeping your
blinds open during the day. And make weatherizing a family activity
this weekend: sealing and insulating ducts can improve the
efficiency of your heating system by as much as 20 percent. For
more information, check out energystar.gov.
See more of Laura's stories here.