Bright Ideas to Make Your Home Environmentally Friendly (and Save You Money)
People are wising up about climate change and beginning to realize that we all need to do our part to keep the earth healthy for generations to come. How exactly does one go about doing that? It’s not as difficult as you might think. Here are some changes — both big and small — you can do to make your home and life more environmentally friendly.
Forget About Bottled Water
Bottled water is far more expensive than tap water, and it creates a tremendous amount of container waste. Add in the cost of producing and shipping bottled water across the country and the environmental impact is tremendous. Opt for reusable water bottles filled with filtered water. If taste is an issue, consider adding a few pieces of fruit to give it flavor.
Similarly, drinking mass-produced bottled sodas and juices also negatively impacts the environment. Even if you recycle the individual bottles you purchase, the production, transport, and promotion of single-serving containers has a negative impact on the planet. So cut out or reduce the amount of products you purchase.
Use “Green” Cleaning Products
Realtor.com offers this unexpected piece of advice: Stop wearing shoes inside the house. According to the website, one study showed 30 to 40 percent of indoor contaminants are brought in from outside. Removing your shoes will reduce the amount of grime in your home, which means you’ll lessen the use of harsh cleaning chemicals. When you do have to clean, use environmentally friendly products. However, be sure to research whether they are actually better than traditional options or are merely capitalizing on the eco-friendly trend.
Switch to Energy-Efficient Lighting
If you are using a standard, incandescent light bulb, you should replace them once they die with bulbs that are light emitting diode (LED) and compact fluorescent lights (CFL). With the latter, don’t be scared by the word “fluorescent.” While these types of bulbs are just miniature versions of full-sized fluorescents, the light they give off is more similar to a standard bulb than it is to the stark lighting you might remember from an older office building or school. The cost of LED and CFL lighting has gone down over the years, and they will ultimately pay for themselves by consuming less energy and lasting longer than standard bulbs.
Purchase Energy- And Water-Efficient Appliances
In the kitchen, your refrigerator should be priority number one. Older fridges can be energy hogs that cost you more than $200 more in electricity than a newer, energy-efficient model. However, you should also consider the energy efficiency of other appliances like dishwashers, microwaves, and compactors. In the bathroom, you can swap out your standard toilet, sink, and shower for low-flow versions. Of course, you should pair that with a commitment to taking shorter showers. Similarly, in your laundry room, look for energy-efficient washers and dryers, but also try to use the appliances less. Don’t launder clothes that aren’t really dirty, and don’t run a half-full load unless absolutely necessary.
Install Solar Panels
Homeowners would be wise to invest in a solar panel system for their home. The biggest benefit (besides helping save the world!) is the cost savings from not having to purchase energy from your local power company. Even people in cloudy locations will see cost savings since panels can draw energy from indirect and diffused light. In many states and municipalities, tax credits and rebates are available for those who want to install solar panels.
“Going green” starts with small, everyday choices and continues to major purchases. By doing your part — and encouraging others to do theirs — you can help slow climate change and keep the world great for generations to come.
Author: Ginger Reid