Friday, April 22, 2022

Real Estate: Make Your Home More Green

By Nicole Foster, Broker / REALTOR

Earth Day is a time for homeowners and communities to assess their daily routines to identify the areas that we can all improve upon both inside of our homes and outside in our yards.  

Know Your Watershed: Do you know which watershed area(s) your property is in?  Awareness is an important part in helping to protect our natural resources.  All of the Town of Windham is located inside of the Casco Bay watershed and parts are also within the Sebago Lake watershed.  With the many rivers, lakes, ponds, wetlands and streams in our community we also have a number of sub-watershed areas, as well.  To find your property, view the watershed map available at

Recycling: Do you miss the Silver Bullet and still don’t know what to do with all this stuff? Maybe you forgot trash day or simply have a lot of recyclable trash this week; Riverside Recycling, only minutes down Route 302 in Portland, welcomes visitors to dispose of their recycling free of charge, but you must stop in and speak with an attendant upon arrival.  If you are having a hard time getting into a good routine, don’t give up and print out a copy of the brochure by EcoMaine available at the site and hang it inside of your kitchen cabinet near the waste basket where it can easily be seen by everyone or download the EcoMaine RECYCLOPEDIA app. These simple steps can help to ensure the trash leaving your home is being properly sorted and over time you will be able to remember without checking!

Composting: Why pay for nutrient rich planting soil when you very easily can produce it yourself at home for free?  Even a smaller area may be suitable for creating a compost area in your own yard.  Bins are available for purchase or can easily be made following instructions shared by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.  Keep a smaller container for suitable household waste with a lid beneath your sink or near your wastebasket which may be added to the larger container outdoors.  Over time the waste will break down into a fine soil which may be directly added to your plants or gardens. Another option is to set aside a small indoor space to be used for year-round vermicomposting.

Yard Care: There are steps homeowners can take to provide a more eco-friendly yard in both design and maintenance. Consider establishing spaces which could receive less maintenance and become more pollinator friendly or plant native drought resistant ground cover in addition to having a lawn.  When choosing one of the four grass seeds consider the shade, wear and drought tolerance for that area as well as fertilizer needs.  Lawns which are less than ten years old should be fertilized around Labor Day to help limit run off and those which are older than ten years should not require annual fertilizer, but you should only apply what your lawn needs in targeted areas.  It is recommended to cut your grass at 3 inches and leave the clippings behind to provide a slow supply of nutrition for the lawn. The University of Maine Cooperative Extension is a hugely underutilized resource available to homeowners located in Falmouth with many free services, publications and professionals who want to help you to create a more sustainable home inside and out. The Cumberland County Soil and Water Conservation District is currently hosting low cost ($15 scholarships available) workshops on sustainable lawn care practices through the month of April. 

Energy: Efficiency Maine is a great starting point when looking for ways to improve or upgrade your home’s energy efficiency.  Visit their website to learn about energy efficient home upgrade incentives they offer for hot water heaters, heat pumps and more.  They can help to provide an overall assessment of your home then make recommendations including air sealing, adding insulation or other energy upgrades.  Home energy upgrade loans up to $15,000 are also available to help cover those costs.  Use the Compare feature on their website for home heating and hot water heating options before making a selection when the time arrives to upgrade or replace your hot water heater or heating system. Windham residents can borrow an energy monitor from the Windham Public Library free of charge to calculate how much your current appliances are costing you to operate each month. <

Nicole Foster is a Broker with Locations Real Estate Group and a Windham resident who loves real estate and people.   She may be reached at 207-615-7558 or

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