Ten Money-saving Tips for a Greener Home Plus a Look Inside Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry Smart Home.

How Smart is Your Home?

Chicago, Friday, April 22, 2011.  Today is Earth Day, a good time to re-evaluate your eco-friendly investments.  The best place to start is at home. Check out Show Me Chicago’s money-savvy list below.  For more ideas head to the Museum of Science and Industry’s Smart Home which opens today through January 2012.  For more green ideas take a peek inside the MSI’s Smart Home in the slide show at the bottom of this post.

Ten Ideas for a Smarter Home.

1.  Tap Into Solar Power.
More and more products use solar power check out solar ovens and more at Amazon or www.solardirect.com.

2. Use a Power Strip.
Unplug appliances when not in use.  To make this task easier, use a power strip.

3. Use Cold Water.
Washing clothes in cold water save 80% on energy bills and extends the useful life of your washables.

4. Bank Online.
Save paper and money by banking online. No more stamps, no more checks or envelopes.  You can pay and receive your bills online.

5, Use the shower instead of the bath.
Taking a shower instead of a bath is faster and more economical.

6. Stop buying water in plastic bottles.
Use a water filter instead of bottled water and get a reusable water bottle.

7. Make Your Own Household Products.
There are natural alternatives for most commercial products from shampoo and conditioner to cleaning products.  Here are two ideas to get you started.
For floors and windows: Add 1/2 cup white vinegar to a gallon of water.
To clean your toliets: Mix 1/4 cup of baking soda into 1 cup of white vinegar.

8.  Use Natural Products to Halt the Spring Invasion of Ants.
Instant grits (dry, not cooked), yeast and borax are all safe alternatives to pesticides and will rid you of your ants.  Just be a little patient as they do not kill on contact but should work in a day or two.

9.  Get Rid of Your Power Mower, Leaf Blower and Snow Blower.
Get some exercise and save money.   Use a push mower, a rake and a shovel or try an electric or solar models.

10. Plant a garden.
If you have room, use raised beds.  Other options include: vertical gardening, mound gardening,  a green roof or just a large planter on your deck or balcony

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