How to Create an Eco-Friendly Garage

Eco-Friendly GarageGoing green in the house and yard can be pretty straight forward: installing solar panels, a garden compost, and don’t forget low-flow faucets in the kitchen and bathroom. But what about the garage?

Garages tend to serve as dumping grounds for all of the stuff you don’t really want in the house, such as batteries, paint, oil, anti-freeze, pesticides and fertilizers. They also have the biggest door in the house, often unsealed, leaky, and open to the weather because you’re constantly opening it to drive the car in and out.

These eco-friendly tips will help you create a more functional, sustainable garage space:

A Tight Seal

If your garage is attached to your house, ensure that the entryway is well sealed. This prevents toxins and pollutants, such as car exhaust, from leaking into your home. You may want to have a professional check to see that the door between the house and garage is properly sealed.

The garage door needs a proper seal, too. You can check for a tight fit by placing your hand near the seams on a cold or windy day. If you feel a draft, consider installing rubber molding or weather stripping along the sides and bottom to improve the seal.

Stop Energy Loss

Adding a layer of insulation to the garage door helps prevent warm air from escaping in winter and cool air from leaking out in summer. After all, you don’t want to pay to air condition your driveway! By adding insulation, your HVAC system will run more efficiently, too.

Dispose of Hazardous Waste

Most garages contain at least some household hazardous waste. Whether half-full cans of paint or cans of oil, these chemicals are toxic and many may produce dangerous fumes. Set aside a couple hours to purge your garage from hazardous materials to make it more eco-friendly. Many hazardous items can’t just be placed with the trash, so call your local recycling center or visit a site such as Earth911 that can direct you to the proper place for disposal.

If you need to keep some half-full cans of paint, place plastic wrap over the open top, pound the lid on with a hammer, and then store the can upside down. This creates a seal and keeps fumes in.

Lighten Up

Bring some light into your garage and save some energy by replacing incandescent bulbs with more efficient Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs) or Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs). Consider replacing old, drafty windows with Energy Star models. This will reduce leakage and save money on your electricity bills, too.

These simple changes go a long way toward creating an eco-friendly garage.

 

Sources:
1) http://greenbuildingelements.com/2010/07/10/going-green-with-your-garage-door/
2) http://www.ronamag.ca/news/going-green-garage
3) http://reston.patch.com/articles/going-green-even-in-the-garage

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