Every year millions of trees and shrubs are cut to build new homes, places of business, and other structures. And while this may seem like a good idea at first, it is better to reduce your home’s environmental impact by making it as eco-friendly as possible. These suggestions will give you ideas for making changes that can help save the environment. Many are easy to do, don’t cost too much money, and will leave you with a healthier eco-friendly home.
Use a Smart Thermostat
If you are planning on upgrading your heating and cooling system, consider buying a smart thermostat. These are designed to help you save money by automatically adjusting the temperature in the home depending on what time of day it is. They can even be set to turn down or off when no one is in the room most of the day.
Use Green Cleaning Products
Most cleaning products are made with harsh chemicals that can be harmful to the environment. To avoid using toxic chemicals, look for environmentally friendly cleaners at natural food stores or online. These types of products do an excellent job cleaning and they don’t cost much either. You’ll find both ready-made products as well as recipes you can make yourself.
Use Sustainable Home Appliances
Electricity usage is the single largest source of carbon emissions in our country so look for ways to reduce it. The way you use your appliances can help some, but taking some steps to buy new appliances that don’t draw as much power will have a significant impact on reducing greenhouse gases. Look for ENERGY STAR appliances that have a yellow sticker with the power usage of the product.
This can also include appliances such as washing machines and dryers. If you’re thinking of buying a new washing machine, look for one that uses less water and energy. Most models now have an option for using cold or warm water, which can save significantly on your utility bill. If your laundry room is not near the kitchen faucet, consider getting a clothesline so you can air-dry clothes during the summer.
Make Your Home More Efficient
If you are planning to make home improvements, look for ways to make them more eco-friendly. Replace old windows and doors with ones made with insulated glass units (IGUs). These are more efficient than older windows and can save up to 30 percent of your energy costs. You can also seal air leaks around ducts, doors, and windows which will cut down on the loss of warm air in winter or cool air in summer.
Ensuring that your home is properly insulated is one of the best ways to conserve energy. When the home is properly insulated, it won’t have to use as much power to heat or cool your home. If your walls are made of wood, you can get R-5 insulation at hardware stores by spraying foam into the space between the studs. You can also save energy by insulating just the attic area instead of covering the entire roof.
Use Eco-Friendly Materials During Renovations
Using sustainable materials when remodeling your home is a great way to keep things green. Consider using recycled building materials, including lumber. Engineered studs made from recycled wood are a great option because they meet most building code requirements and work just like regular wood, but lower your impact on the environment.
Eco-friendly flooring is another good idea when renovating. Bamboo floors, for example, are one of the fastest-growing plants in the world and can be harvested when they are mature, so it is eco-friendly AND sustainable.
This may seem like an obvious tip, however, many things that you would think recyclable may not be accepted in your area. Make sure to check with your local recycling center to find out what they are willing to take. Also, remember that some items are only biodegradable, which means they may be able to be composted vs. recycled.
Upgrade Your Lighting
When you need to replace lightbulbs, look for the most efficient options. Incandescent light bulbs are very inefficient and can waste electricity, however, they are still sold at many stores. Compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) are more efficient alternatives that use 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs. Another option is LED lights which are even more efficient, producing the same amount of light as incandescent bulbs but using 80% less energy.
Consider Solar Power
If you feel like making a large investment, it may be possible to get solar panels and energy storage for your home. This will allow you to use the sun’s power instead of fossil fuels or nuclear plants that generate electricity. However, these systems can cost tens of thousands of dollars, so do some research before taking this step.
Lower Your Water Usage
Using water wisely is also a great way to be more eco-friendly. Make sure your appliances are water-efficient by checking the Energy Guide labels that you see on many products. You can also opt for a dishwasher or washing machine that uses less water, but still cleans clothes and dishes well.
Even changing out the shower heads in your home can make a big difference when it comes to conserving water. In addition to saving water, taking shorter showers will help you save money as well.
Making your home more green doesn’t have to be costly or complicated. The small changes that you make can help create a better world for future generations. What are some steps that you’re going to take in the near future?