Earth Day inspires changes at home

Earth Day is being celebrated in communities the weekend of April 20-21 , with the official day on April 22, and the annual event can have a long-lasting impact at home. Here are eight products and tips for folks who desire to start living in a greener setting.

1. Salvage and save wood: Some furnishings and accessories give new life to discarded wood. Atlanta's Verde Home ( sells candlesticks ($75-$125) made of local urban hardwoods and a coffee table ($1,300) crafted from wood discarded while constructing other pieces of furniture.

2. Research rebates: From checking with local government offices to your utility company, you could save money on energy-saving appliances, home energy audits and updates. A home energy audit, which can range from $200-$400, will pinpoint problems in a home and direct you to changes that can make your home function more efficiently, said Kerby Siglin, owner of Atlanta-based Green Sweep Energy Audits, who has attained building analyst certification from the Building Performance Institute (BPI), a national credentialing organization for residential energy efficiency retrofit work.

3. Think of the kids: Parents concerned about indoor air quality may invest in sustainable and renewable flooring and other items for the nursery, playroom or kids' bedrooms. One option is wool carpet, which is a naturally sustainable fiber that is biodegradable, and stain and soil-resistant, according to Godfrey Hirst Carpets, a manufacturer of wool-tufted products whose North American headquarters is based in Adairsville.

4. Update your style: Rescue a mid-century piece from a flea market or antique store, and from there, emulate designers such as Jonathan Adler. Jillian Pritchard Cooke, president and CEO of DES-SYN, suggests updating a mid-century table or dresser with a semi-gloss, no-VOC paint and topping it with a remnant of marble or granite.

5. Light up with LEDs: The sleek Haiku fan, by Big Ass Fans, has achieved a top Energy Star ranking, and this spring, the a LED light on a digital dimmer can be added. The Haiku matrix composite fan - in black or white - retails for $825; the Haiku bamboo fan - in caramel or coca - retails for $995, plus $95 for the LED module ( or Atlanta's Eco Denizen,

6. Clothe your home with old clothes: Give an old, but well-made, designer suit a new purpose, by turning the jacket into a pillow and even adorning the pillow with the buttons, said Cooke, owner of Bee, a Buckhead store with sustainable, non-toxic home furnishings.

7. Try a new cleanser: An array of eco-friendly cleansers are on the market. Zep, an Atlanta-based company, has developed a marble, granite and quartz cleaner that gives a shine to countertops (sold at The Home Depot and Lowe's). The countertop cleaner joins other Zep products approved by the U.S EPA's DfE (Design for the Environment) program. Another product, SmartShield, can be used outdoors and indoors to prevent the growth of bacteria and fight mold, mildew or algae, said Susan Hobbs, president/CEO of Atlanta-based Longview Products, a distributor of green technology products. SmartShield, made by EnviroTrades, can be used on doorknobs, outdoor cushions, the exterior and more.