Earth Day! GREEN up that project and have some GREEN fun!

Earth Day is here and there are so many ways (big and small) that will “green up” your next project.

  • Flooring:  Bamboo grows quickly even without pesticides and, when assembled into flooring, is more durable that most hardwoods. This makes it a sustainable choice for you home. Concrete is another alternative and can incorporate recycled materials such as recycled glass to give it unique character.
  • Countertops: Recycled- glass products are elegant and stylish and add a modern twist. These products are available in a variety of designs and colors. Concrete is another option.
  • Bathtubs/sinks: If your bathtub or sink is in good condition, instead of buying a new one, get the current one refinished. Another alternative to buying new is to look for a replacement at a salvage yard.
  • Driveways/walkways: consider installing a permeable driveway or walkway made of pavers, crushed stone or broken (recycled) concrete, which allows rainwater to seep through to the ground.
  • Plumbing Fixtures: the latest low-flow fixtures not only look good but save significantly more water than those made even just a generation ago.

All of these improvements add to a homes’ value and livability, while also making it more attractive to buyers looking for earth friendly features in their next home. For more green remodeling ideas, visit www.seattle.gov/environment/buildings-and-energy/green-remodeling-guides

 CELEBRATE EARTH DAY IN THE GARDEN

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Starting your own vegetable garden is a great way to celebrate Earth Day and provide healthy produce for you family. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you get started this year:

  1. Now is the time to get serious about planting especially given our mild winter and beginning of spring. Everything can go into the ground by now, except heat-loving crops such as tomatoes, peppers, beans, squash, cucumbers, corn and basil.
  2. Consider growing a little extra for you neighbors in need. Check with your local food bank to plan what to plant. Some food banks have limited refrigeration and need vegetables that keep well, such as carrots, beets, onions, squash and potatoes. They will also tell you when the best time to deliver your fresh contribution.
  3. Join with a couple of gardening friends or neighbors, and you can combine your efforts to benefit the food bank. You will make a bigger impact, and you can share the delivery job. Be sure to wash and bag the produce before you take it.
  4. Limited on space? Try container gardening. Most vegetables and herbs should fare well in a container as long as it provides enough room. Tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, green beans, carrots and lettuce grow particularly well.

 WATT’S UP WITH SOLAR POWER??

The cost of solar power has dropped over the last decade and may be within reach for many middle-class homeowners who previously were priced out. Here are a few things to consider when buying and selling a home with solar.

  • Solar electric systems (photo-voltaic) systems perform well even in our region. The Puget Sound actually receives more sunlight than Germany, the world’s leading solar market.
  • New research sponsored by the Department of Energy revealed that buyers were consistently willing to pay up to $15,000 more for a home with the average-size solar photo-voltaic system, versus a similar home without one.
  • Be sure to check with your homeowners association (if you have one) to see if solar panels are allowed.
  • If you’re having a home with solar appraised, make sure that an appraisal included the current value of the solar electric system in the estimate. It’s also a good idea to ask if your appraiser has experience in the “green valuation”
  • The life expectancy of the current generation of solar panels in 20-25 years, and they require periodic cleaning to get the maximum output. Ask your solar installation technician for cleaning recommendations.

For more information on solar power, go to energy.gov, and in your community check with your local utilities district.

Go Enjoy this Earth day (week) with a few happenings

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival would be a great way to reflect on the beauty of our earth. Still here till the 30th. www.tulipfestival.org

24th – Arcade Lights Festival. www.pikeplacemarket.org

24-25th – LeMay Wine & Chocolate Affair www.lemaymarymount.org

24-26th – Cherry Blossum Festival www.seattlecenter.com

24-26th – Evergreen State Spring Carnival www.evergreenfair.org

Don’t forget Thursday April 23rd is take your Son’s and Daughters to work day and Friday is Arbor Day.

Enjoy your week whatever you do! Happy Earth Day