Life in the Green Lane

Environmental journalist Candice Batista shares video clips and eco-savvy advice from her TV show, A Greener Toronto.

There's no better place to enjoy green living than in your own living room. By following these easy steps you can turn your living room into a prime-time example of eco-living. First, almost everything we use in the living rooms draws power and wastes energy. Your TV, DVD player, stereo system, cable boxes and so on, suck energy even when they are not being used and considered to be off. They all have standby functions that allow them to keep drawing energy as long as they are plugged in. Standby power accounts for 5 to 10 percent of all electricity used in the typical Canadian home. So, what to do is simple: when you are done using something, just pull out the plug. For areas home entertainment units where there is usually more than one plug, use a power bar and turn it off when you are out or before you go to bed. By doing these simple things, you are standing by your environment. Get rid of the toxins in your living room. Carpets do make the room warm and cozy, but are also not good for your health. Carpets are made up of tiny fibers, these fibers trap mold, dust, pesticides and even dust mite droppings. Gross isn't it? That combination of yuckiness is a perfect trigger for allergy sufferers. Fibers, backings and glue made from synthetic petroleum products are known to give off volatile organic compounds and can cause irritation in the lungs. To avoid build up, the key is to clean your carpet often and properly. Vacuum it often and use a hepa filter, which can remove dust particles and clean the air too. Hepa filters can remove 99% of allergen particles. Go with wood if you can, wood floors made from renewable resources are a great alternative. Look for wood with the FSC (forest stewardship council) label. Bamboo or cork also work well. Following these simple tips will help you make this room an eco-living one.