Much like becoming a vegetarian, “going green” can be an intimidating proposition for many people. Creating an eco-friendly home is often associated with spending loads of cash, loads time & effort, or loads of both. Don’t buy into this! Being eco-conscious is not as difficult as it may seem, and you don’t have to be an environmentalist to make a difference. Ultimately, the Earth is our home outside home and we should invest in it the same way we do our own four walls. Here are a few easy, effective, and affordable adjustments to make that may facilitate a full-on transition into eco-friendly, low carbon-footprint, clean living.
Whether we recognize it or not, many of us are living like the Jetsons. The future has arrived and it’s setting up shop in every area of our lives. The tech boom of the early 2010s has found its way into our homes in the form of dynamic learning thermostats. Companies like Nest, Honeywell and Ecobee are offering smart thermostats that are more like Jarvis from Ironman than your average, run-of-the-mill thermostat. This awesome new tech is intelligent and can be trained to adjust your home’s atmosphere based on when you’re home, when you sleep, and which rooms you spend the most time in. To put it simply, this tech allows you to utilize energy when you need it and save money when you don’t. These devices can save between 10 to 15 percent on total heating and AC expenses! Not only do they pay for themselves in a matter of months, but it’s also a great investment for your community. A win – win!
Low-Flow Showers & Toilets
We’re always told to “take shorter showers” and “turn off your water while you brush” both of which we should be doing but can be difficult to make a habit. Here’s an easier remedy for water-wasting tendencies that doesn’t involve policing yourself. Install low-flow showerheads and low-flow toilets in your home. Low-flow showerheads and toilets reduce water pressure and the overall amount of water used in the bathroom by a substantial margin reducing your carbon footprint and cutting down your water bill. By reducing the flow and pressure of water running through your showers and toilets you also extend the life of these fixtures. If you have a set-it and forget-it mindset, invest in low-flow showerheads and toilets!
Energy and water usage take center stage in any conversation concerning the environment. However, one area that touches all households equally as much, if not more, is waste (particularly food waste). Landfills are overflowing so cutting down on the garbage that ends up there is a must. This includes properly disposing of food waste. Organic matter makes up nearly half of total household waste which, when dumped in landfills, decomposes improperly producing harmful methane gas. Composting is an eco-friendly means of disposing of your own organic waste. An experienced composter can remove a staggering 20 to 50 percent of his or her total household waste reducing strain on landfills and further sustaining their lawn, garden, and houseplants. You might be surprised at the long list of items that can be composted, it goes far beyond organic products. Everything from fruit/vegetable scraps and eggshells, to tea bags, used paper napkins/towels, and unwaxed cardboard boxes can be composted into natural fertilizer. Although composting has been distilled down to a science, there is a thriving online community through which proper techniques and methods can be learned quickly and without very much research.
Replacing all traditional incandescent/halogen lightbulbs with energy efficient CFLs or LEDs is a great way to save money and conserve energy. These bulbs are much more energy efficient and last considerably longer than their counterparts. While they are pricier up front, they more than pay for themselves over their lifespan.
Understandably, climbing on your roof and installing solar panels is not a financially feasible option for most. There are other ways to access solar both outside and inside your home that are affordable and energy efficient. If your home utilizes landscaping lights, this is a great place to introduce solar power to your home. Porch and deck lights can also be purchased affordably online or at your local Lowe’s or Home Depot. This can be taken a step further by investing in solar powered lawn equipment. Most national retailers and manufactures of lawn equipment have noticed the shift towards environmentally friendly products and have made the adjustment. Solar powered appliances are also becoming readily available.