Building a Green Home Garage

Building a green home garage doesn’t have to start from the ground up. There are several things you can do to make your existing garage more green without spending a lot of money. Chances are, many of the products you use, or have used in your garage now have equivalent products with a better green factor.

Going green at home should include the garage just as much as any other room. Finding ideas for a green home garage is getting easier as more eco-friendly products are being developed and sold. Additionally, a good green home garage can be created from numerous used products recycled through garage sales, craigslist, online auctions, etc. One of the best things about going green in today’s world is the increasing amount of products and available options. There are 4 major areas to consider for building a green home garage:

Power, Insulation, Chemicals, and Recycling.

Every garage uses power and there’s really no way around it. However, there are several things you can do to make your garage more efficient with the power it consumes. Solar powered products are surfacing more and more. Now, you can use solar powered attic fans to help remove heat in the summer time, as well as solar powered battery chargers for flashlights and many tools. You can also install solar powered lighting on both the inside and outside of your garage.

Speaking of lighting, switching over from incandescent to compact fluorescent bulbs is a great way to save money as the long life and low power consumption of fluorescent bulbs pays for itself over and over with time. Other ideas for a green home garage in the lighting area include motion detectors for limiting the amount of time the bulb is actually on, and adding a skylight or two in strategic areas to eliminate the need for lighting at all during the day.

Insulation is a key factor in building a green home garage. If your garage is attached to your house, then the shared walls should already be insulated. Even still, when attached garages gather heat in the summer, some of that heat will make its way into the cooler house through the shared walls. Likewise, heat can escape from the house to the garage in the winter time. In these cases, both heating and cooling your home requires more energy. A good green home garage will have additional insulation to help keep the summer and winter garage temperatures from ranging as much, which measurably reduces power consumption and overall energy usage for the house.

Using insulation for building a green home garage isn’t limited to the walls or attached garages. It should also be used in the attic where applicable, and on the garage door panels. If your garage door panels have windows, consider some home made or custom curtains to filter out the sun during summer while letting it in during the winter. If your water heater lives in your garage, you can wrap it in an insulating blanket to help contain as much heat as possible for the house hot water.

Many ideas for a green home garage are centered on dealing with common household and automotive chemicals. Although it seems inevitable that a lot of chemicals will end up in the garage, part of building a green home garage involves not only handling them correctly, but trying to avoid them in the first place by using non-toxic polishes and waxes, non-VOC paint, as well as bio-based solvents, paint strippers, and engine degreasers.

Taking care of used automotive fluids is also a big part of building a green home garage. Whether it’s oil, transmission fluid, or antifreeze, it should be dropped off at your local auto parts store where they’ll recycle it free of charge in most cases. Spills should be cleaned up as soon as possible to not only avoid stains, but to prevent slips, falls, and children or pets getting into it.

Of course, the number one way to make a good green home garage is through recycling. In addition to automotive fluids as mentioned above, there are all kinds of things and ways to recycle in your garage. A good place to start is with rags. Re-using rags and using old t-shirts as rags saves money and waste. Batteries are another issue. Any type of battery should be recycled. Car batteries, tool batteries, common household batteries, or whatever type of batteries you may have.

Another way of building a green home garage through recycling is simply buying used goods instead of new goods. It saves money and because you didn’t but it new, it supports the low carbon footprint factor that’s also becoming more popular. These goods include things like tools, hardware, cabinets, shelves/shelving, storage units and bins, workbenches, and the like.

Whether you’re building a green home garage from scratch, or you’re making your current garage more eco-friendly, there are plenty of ways to do so, and a little bit does go a long way. Going green at home used to be a trendy thing to do, but now it’s not only accepted by the mainstream, but practically expected as well. With all the new (and used) materials and products available, it only makes sense to build a green home garage one piece at a time.

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