Sometimes it feels like the nation is going gaga for the green movement, but there are easy, practical steps you can take at home, on your own. More than 70 ideas are waiting in This Green House: Home Improvements for the Eco-Smart, the Thrifty, and the Do-It-Yourselfer by Joshua Piven, author of The Worst-Case Scenario survival handbooks (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $15.95). The 192-page guide is divided into each area of your living space, including the garage, roof and yard. "Green bits" and "eco cheat" tips throughout offer ways to smoothly get a job done and save time. A carbon counter can show you how even little steps make a difference. Here's a sampling of suggestions. McClatchy-Tribune Newspapers
The kitchen: Learn how to reuse your sink's gray water and make coffee-ground charcoal (fewer chemicals than store-bought briquettes).
The family room: Build a conversation-piece coffee can table and discover how to consume less energy with audio/video equipment ("green" power strips, turn off monitors and modems, install a ceiling fan, etc.)
The bedroom: Invest in an eco-friendly latex bed.
, The bathroom: A 10-step method for shaving with less water includes using a jug of water rather than allowing the water to continuously run.
The laundry room: A lint-filled exhaust tube is a fire hazard, and the dryer is almost as expensive as a refrigerator to operate. You can hire someone to clean the tube or see the DIY steps in the book.
The yard: Rather than reaching for pesticides, turn to natural remedies such as boric acid powder to deter ants, roaches, ticks and mold.
Who'll like this book: Those wanting to save money and Earth.
Who won't: Ultra-convenience seekers.
Best piece of advice: "Test the draftiness of your windows by taping long, thin strands of tissue paper to the frames. If the paper flaps, your windows and/or frames need improvements."
Style in a nutshell: Planet-loving projects.