Green Your Garage Space

Jay Leno's expansive car collection is world-renowned, but "The Tonight Show" host gets a lot less attention for his very green garage. But you don't need to have a 300-car-and-motorcycle garage like he does to make yours eco-friendly.

There are a number of ways to green your garage and create a more eco-friendly and wallet-friendly place to store your cars (and some boxes and bikes and maybe a refrigerator, too).

Earlier this year we told you how to convert your garage to living space, but if you want to keep your garage for cars, there are many simple ways to green your garage space.
If you are building a garage you can do a lot toward having a green garage: using renewable and sustainable materials, solar design and no- or low-VOC (nontoxic) paints. According to the EPA, indoor air is considered one of the top five hazards to healthy living, and the paints you use contribute to that. Earth Easy gives a lot of information on sustainable living in the home and the benefits of using nontoxic paints and strippers -- and it's a lot more than just cleaning up the air in your house.

Since indoor air quality is such a big issue, if you live in an area that is weather-friendly you can consider a carport instead of an enclosed garage. Material use is down, you aren't indoors, and it's a lot less to construct.

Even how you clean your car and garage can be made green. Collect rainwater and use it to wash your auto (saving on your water bill) and, like Leno, use waterless cleaners that don't wash toxic cleaners down the drain and into the water supply.

To oversee green building, the U.S. Green Building Council created a rating system for green properties, called LEED. Homes are rated silver, gold and platinum depending on the materials used, sustainability, etc. If you want to learn about greening your garage and want it to be LEED-certified, you can check out the website.

If Honda has its way, your home might end up being the place where you refuel your car with hydrogen for their hydrogen fuel-cell cars. But that's still a few years away.

Some other resources:

The Green Garage blog out of Detroit is a site that a retired couple created to document their transformation of a historic building into a green facility, to serve as a breeding ground for green startup businesses. The building was originally a showroom for cars with a Model-T chassis, and now they are making it green. So if they can make a former garage and a 90-year-old facility green, you can take your current garage, or the garage you are building, and make it green. have a number of recommendations for making your garage green. First, think about getting energy efficient windows and doors and installing light sensors and timers. This can be done if you are building a garage or already have one.

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