Lowering our overall impact on the environment is a team effort, and like a ripple effect, a little from each of us can go a long way. The place where we can start making a change is the one we know best—our homes. In honor of Earth Day, here are just a few ways you can make your home more eco-friendly.
Install programmable thermostats
When it comes to being eco-friendly, a lot of tips come back to higher efficiency. The more efficient your air conditioning or water usage can be, the better it is for the planet. Programmable thermostats are a quick and easy way to reduce your energy use. They work on a predetermined schedule rather than a 24-hour a day automatic one. So your home can automatically start heating up later in the day, and cooling down in the morning. This precision can save you 1-2% on your utility bill! Not to mention, it can also keep your HVAC system working longer.
Use LED Light Bulbs
Using LED light bulbs is a no-brainer! They use 25-30% of the energy as an incandescent bulb, and they last 8-25 times longer! So you’ll save money on buying fewer bulbs, a lower utility bill, and Mother Earth will thank you.
Prevent air leaks
When outside air enters your home, or conditioned air exits your home through cracks, this is called an air leak. Not only does this result in lower quality air in your home, but it is not eco-friendly. For instance, if cold air is getting out of your house during the summer months, you’re more like to keep cranking up the air conditioning. This can mean a high energy bill, but also a drain on Earth’s resources.
Pick energy-efficient appliances
These days, we have so many appliances in our homes! From refrigerators, to dishwashers, to washing machines, and air humidifiers, all of your appliances are probably used constantly. This means they are also using energy constantly. Using energy-efficient appliances means less energy and in the case of washing machines, less water. Additionally, these energy-efficient appliances can save you money! If you have a standard washing machine that is about 10 years old, you could be spending $185/year more than you need to!
Reduce water use
This eco-friendly tip is an oldie but a goodie. We’ve all heard that we should take shorter showers and turn off the faucet when we’re brushing our teeth. However, some ideas you may not have thought of include planting drought-resistant plants to cut back on water use in your yard. If you wash your own car, turn the hose off while you’re soaping down your car. Only use the hose to rinse the soap off. You can also use a broom to clean your driveway or sidewalk, rather than wasting water to wash it down.
Much like leaks in your windows aren’t eco-friendly, neither are leaky toilets or faucets. Fixing these should be a high priority so you don’t waste water. While you’re at it, consider installing low-flow showerheads and toilets to maximize water usage.
Explore solar energy
In the last few years, there has been a shift away from more traditional energy use, towards renewable energy. One of these renewable options is solar panels. While solar panels can have high costs upfront, they are known to save homeowners a lot of money in the long run. In fact, the average home can save $10,000-$30,000 over the lifetime of its solar panel system. In addition to being a money saver, solar panels are eco-friendly as well! They help prevent the emission of greenhouse gases and save water resources.
Use no- to low-VOC products
VOC stands for volatile organic compounds. These chemicals are emitted in a gas form from some solids and liquids. Think of the smell that comes from paint, aerosol sprays, and even some cleaners and disinfectants. VOCs are extremely bad for the environment and can contribute to acid rain, and too much ozone too close to the earth. Furthermore, VOCs can cause eye nose and throat irritation, headaches, and even damage to the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system. So how can you help? Try to use as few of THESE products as possible, and look for alternatives when you can.
You can also help and beautify your home at the same time! Try planting one of these eco-friendly plants that actually help remove VOCs from the air!
In the US, food scraps and yard waste are more than 30% of what we throw away! That trash goes to landfills where they take up space and release methane. Neither of which is eco-friendly. Instead, try composting! It has a number of benefits both for you and for the planet. Compost enriches soil and reduces the need for chemical fertilizers – another win for Mother Nature. Plus, it uses trash you already produce like fruits and veggies, eggshells, coffee grounds and filters, yard trimmings, etc.
However, we get that the switch to composting can be an overwhelming process! So CLICK HERE for a breakdown of how to compost, both indoors and outdoors.
Enroll in Online Statements
This is one of the easiest eco-friendly tips to put into motion! Every time you get a credit card bill or utility bill in the mail, go to the website that is listed on that bill. Then, choose the paperless option. After a few months, you should stop getting any hard copy bills. Instead, they’ll go straight to your email inbox and you’ll help save the forest.
How Do You Make Your Home Eco-Friendly?
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