Talk Takeaway: Design with Danny Seo

Posted on Aug 15, 2013 10:45am

Read more for Environmental Lifestyle Expert, Danny Seo tips on how to make your home eco-friendly.

Pick light-colored paint with a flat finish.

Be sure you're choosing Zero-VOC paint. Choose light colors over dark tints for your walls; the lighter the color, the less colorant need to be added to the paint which means fewer chemicals. Choose a FLAT finish over a GLOSSY one; chemicals are added to make paint glossy.

Use kitty litter to dispose of paint properly.

To dispose of paint properly, stir kitty litter into leftover paint and allow to air dry. Toss the dried paint in the trash; recycle the paint can with your bottles and cans.

Opt for a sofa from natural fibers and not chemically-treated.

Avoid leather sofas. Leather is treated with a chemical called chromium, which is used during the dying and tanning process, and many people have reportedly developed severe allergies to chromium treated leather. And when buying a natural fiber couch, ask the store to not spray it with any chemicals used for stain-resistance or fire-retardant.

Check out laminate instead of granite.

Look at American-made high definition laminate, which has come a long way from your grandmother's laminate countertops. They look and feel just like stone but are a tiny fraction of the cost, are just as durable, easy to transport, and are recognized by the US Green Building Council as an eco-friendly surface choice.

Buy thermal drapes to save on energy costs.

Choose smartly designed drapes for your windows. Thermal drapes are lined to help block heat, harmful UV rays and drafts in the winter from entering your home. When the drapes are closed during the day in the summer or on extremely cold days, you can save as much as 20% on your energy bill with an average savings of $480 a year.

Apply bubble wrap to window panes.

One DIY trick that costs nothing is to save bubble wrap when you get packages. Simply spray water onto the window and stick bubble wrap on top. In the colder months, this will insulate the windows (nearly doubling their efficiency) while still allowing light to shine through.

Choose natural latex over memory foam.

Many people like memory foam beds but don't realize that the memory foam is actually made from petro-chemicals which off gasses chemicals while you sleep. If you like the feel -- but not the chemicals -- choose natural latex instead. It's naturally anti-microbial so it's resistant to dust mites, mold and mildew.

Shut down your cable box every night.

The cable box is the second largest energy hog in the home (after the fridge) in terms of electronics and appliances. So power off your cable box or DVR box every night. By unplugging it from the wall (or turning the surge protector off), the 8 hours a night it's not used will be totally powerless. Plus, you aren't emitting any potentially harmful electromagnetic fields into the bedroom while you sleep. Each cable box saves $80 a year when you do this each night, so multiply that by the number of boxes in your home and you can save hundreds of dollars.

Layer up your pillowcases.

Since a bed pillow gets dirtiest the quickest, one way for a healthier sleep without washing the sheets is to encase your bed pillow with 3-4 pillowcases at the same time. Then, every 2 days, just peel off the top layer and reveal a fresh pillow case.  

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