It seems that more and more people are going green these days. People are drawn to the green-living lifestyle for a variety of reasons including cost, efficiency and, of course, being environmentally conscious. Given the amount of time we all spend in our home, even small changes here and there can have a lasting positive impact. For whatever reason you might choose to embrace going green, here are some ways to start making your home more eco-friendly today!
How to Save Energy
One of the most direct steps to reduce your impact on the environment would be to start saving energy and reducing the amount you expend in your household. This can be a bit of an investment at first but if used long term the money saved can really add up.
Use Compact fluorescent lamps
These can save energy and money. Low energy bulbs typically expend 1/5 of the amount of electricity compared to traditional incandescent bulbs and can last up to 15 times longer.
Let the sunshine in
Turning off lights whenever your leave the room is a practice that predates the going green movement and still remains an easy and effective way to conserve power. To further reduce the amount of artificial light in your home, open the curtains whenever the sun is. Consider installing dimmer switches in certain rooms to dial down electricity fees each year.
Switch off appliances when they are not in use
These are sometimes referred to as “vampire appliances” because of the power they suck up. Leaving certain electric items on like computers, sound systems, and kitchen appliances on standby uses electricity even when they’re not being actively used. If you’re not using these appliances, shut them down completely.
To conserve power, unplug your your phone, tablet, or laptop when it is fully charged.
Having your home properly insulated can make heating much more efficient.
Lower the thermostat
Reducing the temperature on your thermostat just a few degrees can help reduce the amount of energy and money you spend on heating.
Wash clothes at a low temperature
A lot of the energy used in a washing machine is spent on heating up the water. Use the lower temperature on the machine whenever possible.
Line dry laundry
Using a dryer is another venture that uses a large amount of electricity. Try to use a washing line or drying rack to dry laundry more naturally and save energy.
Cover pans while cooking
Cover up pans when a meal is simmering. This can actually reduce the amount of energy that escapes from pots and pans. As well as reduce the time it takes to heat up food or water.
How to Save Water
Saving water is also a great way to reduce harmful impact of environment. It can also decrease costs in your home.
Use short cycles when washing clothes
Many modern washing machines have an “Eco Wash” option. Also make sure to only run the washer when its full, this reduces the number of loads you need to wash and reduces the amount of energy expended.
Making sure there are no leaks in the plumbing, pipes, and taps can help reduce unnecessary wasting of water.
Take shorter showers
Hot showers feel wonderful but taking a shorter spritz can help save a lot of water over time
Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth or washing your face
This is often forgotten. We give little thought to letting the tap run while we go about our morning or daily routine. However, it’s an unnecessary waste of water and one of the easiest to fix.
Consider energy efficient modifications
Installing tap aerators or low flow shower heads are relatively cheap additions that reduce the flow of water while improving water pressure.
Boil only the needed water
To all tea drinkers- be careful with those kettles- Measure out only the needed amount of water to avoid waste by pouring some down the drain.
Keep a bucket near the shower or tub
Don’t waste that initial blast of cold water at the start of your shower. Fill a bucket with the cool water that streams out before the heater kicks in. This can be used to water plants.
How to Create Less Waste
There are several daily habits we all have that create an unnecessary amount of waste. For many of these unfortunate habits there are actually green living alternatives. Here are a few to think about.
Use Recycle Bins
Create designated areas for each type of recycled material and product you may encounter. Place them in convenient and hard to miss locations in the house and garage to remind yourself to utilize recycling.
Avoid bottled water
Bottled water is incredibly convenient and it’s no wonder that so many people use it. However, the used bottles produce a large amount of plastic waste which can be avoided by utilizing a refillable water bottle. If you’re not comfortable with the water coming out of your tap- consider a water filter to cleanse. If this is too large an undertaking for your household, opt for recycling plastic bottle tops as plastic bottle recycling can now handle the tops- leave them on the bottle.
Ditch plastic bags
Using plastic bags is another avoidable habit that is very wasteful to the environment. There are believed to be 100 billion plastic shopping bags used in the US each year. Only 1-3% of which are actually recycled. If you want to reduce harmful environmental impact, recycle any plastic bags you have. Many grocery stores have an area to drop off bags for easy recycling. You can also utilize a reusable grocery bag to avoid this entirely.
If you want to go a step and above, choose to go paperless. Most companies have an option where you can receive all your bills by email.
Reuse and repurpose.
In the household, particularly the kitchen there are many miscellaneous items that can be saved from becoming waste by finding a new purpose for them! This could be anything from using old jars to store office supplies to turning tin cans into candles to using old bottles as a flower vase.
Also opt for reusable versions of any disposables such as razors, batteries, ink cartridges or AC filters.
Simplify your life
Try to use and keep only the belongings you use and enjoy regularly. By making this effort alone, you will naturally purchase and create less waste.
Try for a tree free home
Save the trees by reducing the amount of paper you use. This can include replacing paper napkins and towels with cloth versions. Or switching to a digital organizer in lieu of traditional shopping lists and calendars. Or ditching notepads and getting a reusable message board to write notes for the household.
Buy in bulk
Avoid products that are for single use consumption such as drinks, school lunches, canned pet food, and salad mixings.
Utilize a compost bin
This turns your food scraps and lawn wastes into rich mulch for use in planting and gardening.