Earth Day is the perfect time to reflect on our garages. Here are a number of ways to “go green” in the garage. One way to celebrate the day is to get your garage in order again after a messy winter while implementing two or three of these green initiatives to your garage. Prepare for Earth day this April 22, 2017.
Energy Savings found in the Garage
A good place to start is by checking the exterior door from the house to the garage. It should be a solid core exterior door with full weather stripping like any other exterior door of the house. Assure the weather stripping is in good shape and that it prevents drafts as well as fumes from leaking into the house from the garage. Not only will the right door and weather stripping save energy but it’ll assure the air quality within the house remains low in pollutants and toxins.
Just by emptying the central vacuum and changing the filter regularly, you’ll be able to optimize the performance of your central vacuum cleaner and minimize the energy consumed by the household.
Next, if a refrigerator is something you own in your garage, upgrade to an ENERGY STAR refrigerator. With the changing temperatures of the garage, the newer fridges with better seals and improved energy efficiency will help you reduce energy consumption significantly making it easier on the pocket book and better for the environment.
Green the Garage Door
The garage door is typically the largest single door to the outside. If you’re looking to replace the garage door, the new garage doors can be made of sustainable and recycled materials. The new garage door materials not only make the door lighter but they provide improved insulation value over the original aluminum or wood doors.
The new garage door materials use modern paints and finishes that are baked on or powder coated leaving stronger and more durable coatings and finishes. These newer materials last longer and the industrial strength finishes won’t chip and wash off into the local water system like the older garage door paints.
Finally, when selecting a new garage door, pair it with one of the new door openers which run more efficiently than older models. This means energy consumption savings over some of the older door opener systems and improved safety features for your loved ones.
Green the Lighting within the Garage
These days LED lighting can be found in all types of light formats including pot lights, floodlights and standard bulb formats. Not only do LED lights last 20,000 to 50,000 hours which is 5x more than any comparable light bulb, but they use even less energy than CFL or incandescent light bulbs.
LED light bulbs run better in cooler temperatures. Choose an outdoor LED light for the sconces outside the garage. LED lights are far less appealing to bugs so they don’t attract bugs the same way that CFL or incandescent bulbs attract swarms of flying insects. Save energy while improving the aesthetics of your outdoor light sconces.
Protect the Air Quality around the Home
Clean out your garage regularly of hazardous wastes such as paints, solvents, pesticides, fertilizers, old batteries, empty oil cans and other solvents which may emit undesirable or toxic fumes into the air within the garage.
Start a recycle centre area in the garage for hazardous waste and bring them to a local hazardous waste depot regularly. To find a depot, check out these websites:
- For single-use batteries, pressurized cylinders, antifreeze/coolant, empty oil containers, oil filters: http://www.makethedrop.ca/
- For medications and sharps syringes: http://www.healthsteward.ca/returns/ontario
- For paints, pesticides, fertilizers, solvents: http://www.regeneration.ca/
To reduce the amount of pathogens from entering your home, add an external floor mat in front of the door to the house from the garage and then a runner or floor mat just inside this external door. This allows family members to travel a longer distance with their shoes so more particles are left behind on the mat. Just 5 steps on a runner or mat will significantly reduce the amount of particles and oils tracked into the house.
Green Your Garage Floor
Upgrade your basic cement garage floor to a polyaspartic coated garage floor or add garage floor tiles. These flooring materials make them easy to clean and don’t absorb oils or chemicals like the typical cement floor. Nor do they chip like painted garage floors so family members don’t drag in paint flakes or dust from the exposed cement when they walk through the garage.
Polyaspartic flooring is also UV resistant which means the coating does not disintegrate under the sun and provides many years of durable floor protection. Clean up is a breeze meaning that slush, snow and vehicle fluids sit on the surface and allow for removal instead of soaking down into an uncoated cement floor which makes cleaning and removal much more difficult.
When the garage floor can be cleaned easily and regularly, family members don’t carry the fluids, oils and multitudes of particles left behind by car tires, vehicle leaks or exhaust fumes with every footstep.
Get the Whole Family Involved
When greening your garage, get the entire family involved. Explain the changes and their value to the family as well as the impact to the planet. Get involvement from the entire family to make new initiatives a reality for the entire family. Celebrate your “green” garage initiatives with pride and make it contagious throughout your entire neighbourhood.
Happy Earth Day 2017!