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A need for green in your home scene

Almost two years ago Kevin Thompson of Cazenovia began making his own laundry soap to avoid chemicals and harsh additives that go into a household item that he says many people tend to overlook. Simple items such as detergent can become easy changes according to Thompson's recent training under Green Irene, a nationally known company, which promotes water and energy conservation while saving money.

Thompson has less than five weeks in his training before he can be an official eco-consultant and give "green makeovers" to people who are looking to lighten their carbon footprint and make changes to better the environment and their expense on utilities. He currently works as a systems leader for IT Marquardt in Cazenovia, but hopes to expand his business career by running his own Green Irene operation in Madison County.

"We take a look at what can be done in each home," Thompson said. "Then we recommend the simplest and easiest changes."

An in-home consultation runs around $99 and entails a top-to-bottom review of ways that homeowners can save on energy costs. For example, Thompson said that while most people think they know about compact fluorescent light bulbs, there are an assorted variety of light bulbs. In his opinion, people sometimes become overwhelmed by the numerous amounts of compact fluorescent light bulbs and end up buying a 100 watt bulb because they're use to it.

"Because there is a variety, more elaborate fixtures now have compatible compact fluorescent light bulbs," Thompson said.

As more homes become modern in design, the flexibility in these energy saving fundamentals helps even the most high-end lighting fixture become more energy efficient.

Changing to compact fluorescent light bulbs could save the average home about 15 percent on their utility bill.

Another lesser-known "green" tip can be handy in the bathroom. Thompson said that 90 percent of shower curtains are made of PVC vinyl that can emit different kinds of pollutants.

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