MAKING YOUR HOME MORE “GREEN”
Simple Steps to Save Homeowners Money
and Make Homes Environmentally Friendly
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 17, 2006—As energy costs continue
to rise, homeowners should consider alternative ways to help
lower their bills—and help the environment—by
making their homes more “green.” In recognition
of National Landscape Architecture Month, the American Society
of Landscape Architects (ASLA) is raising awareness of the
need for sustainable, environmentally sensitive design and
how homeowners can help achieve this goal.
ASLA is doing its part to become more “green”
by installing a green roof covered with vegetation on its
downtown Washington, D.C., headquarters. Green roofs last
up to twice as long as conventional roofs, save significantly
on heating and cooling costs, improve community air and water
quality, and reduce the urban heat island effect in the summertime.
While it’s not feasible for most homeowners to retrofit
their homes with green roofs, there are other steps you can
take to minimize your home’s impact on the environment:
· Use trees and vegetation to cut your summertime
air conditioning use by shading all east- and west-facing
windows. Shade windows from the outside with a covered pergola,
strategically placed trees, or trellises with vines for a
beautiful look inside and out. Create “outdoor rooms”
for your family, such as cooking and dining areas. Spending
more time and cooking outdoors reduce the need for air conditioning
· Replace exposed concrete and asphalt driveways and
walkways with pavers, which stay cooler, look better, and
can even be placed to allow vegetation to grow through. Exposed
concrete and pavement get heated by the sun, reradiating unwanted
· Use native plants common to your area to reduce
watering and maintenance. Keep traditional lawn areas to a
minimum or consider using ground-cover plants—many are
sturdy enough to allow for play areas for children and pets.
Use mulch in garden beds to reduce the need to water, and
install a rainwater tank to collect stormwater for watering.
Many landscape architects are working with clients to use
“graywater” (such as condensation from a home’s
air conditioning) for irrigation and water features.
· Recycle kitchen waste into garden compost. It’s
an effective and affordable way to keep your plants healthy
and reduce garbage. Many good resources are on the web to
help homeowners get started, including the U.S. Composting
Council web site (www.compostingcouncil.org).
Founded in 1899, ASLA is the national professional association
for landscape architects, representing more than 16,500 members
in 48 professional chapters and 68 student chapters. Landscape
architecture is a comprehensive discipline of land analysis,
planning, design, management, preservation, and rehabilitation.
ASLA promotes the landscape architecture profession and advances
the practice through advocacy, education, communication, and
fellowship. Members of the Society use the “ASLA”
suffix after their names to denote membership and their commitment
to the highest ethical standards of the profession. Learn
more about landscape architecture online at www.asla.org.
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