The green initiative is no longer just a fad – it’s something that people around the world actually care about and are working toward. By going green, we can conserve the earth’s precious energy sources where we can, because it only takes one small step to start a mass reaction. Are you doing your part?
These are 8 easy ways to make your home green. You’ll be saving money, effort and the environment, so really, by going green, how could you ever possibly go wrong?
Replace the Light Bulbs
Instead of opting for your regularly-charged light bulbs, switch to the more eco-friendly counterpart that uses less energy to operate, but still gives off just as much light. They’re the ones in the store that look squiggly and wrapped around themselves. Usually you can replace a 60-watt regular light bulb with about a 10- or 13-watt eco-friendly one.
The best part of all is that these green light bulbs cost about the same, so it won’t cost you any extra money, and in fact it could lower your electric bill since each one uses less total energy than your old bulbs.
Program Your Thermostat
When you’re not home, there’s no reason for your house to be nice and toasty warm. You don’t want to shut heat off completely, though, because you want to avoid having the pipes freeze or burst, but you can easily lower the temperature when no one is in the house and save on your energy bills in no time.
Just program your thermostat to adjust the temperature of your house throughout different times during the day. If you’re cold when you’re home, try to use a blanket or put on a sweatshirt instead of rushing to turn up the thermostat. You’ll be making your house more green-friendly and saving yourself some money by just bundling up or cuddling around a fireplace.
Use Reusable Shopping Bags
Ditch the plastic habit at the grocery store and pick up a couple of the canvas bags that can be used over and over and over again. Each bag only costs between $1 and about $3, so you won’t be breaking your bank, and the environment will certainly thank you.
A lot of grocery stores now even offer a slight discount with each reusable bag you bring in to bag up your groceries and take them home (usually 10 cents off for each bag or something like that). The reward may be small, but it says that even the major grocery stores know and appreciate the importance of going green, so you should, too.
Perhaps one of the “greenest” things you can do, planting a tree can have more benefits than just that of adding to your natural environment. By planting a tree in a strategic location around your house, you can significantly decrease your cooling costs during the hot months of the year. The tree will provide natural protection and shade from the sun, meaning less heat will be able to enter your house.
Plant a tree and save on cooling – it’s a win-win situation. Plus, if you have kids, they’ll love watching the tree grow up as they grow up!
Replace Your Appliances
If you have a little bit of money to spend and some updating to do on your home anyway, consider purchasing Energy Star efficient appliances to replace your old energy guzzlers. Energy Star appliances can save you 10-30% in operating costs just by being more energy efficient.
Energy Star even has a product line that includes hot water heaters, furnaces and air conditioners, so theoretically, you could replace every running piece of equipment in your home with one that uses less energy and is therefore better for the environment. The only problem here is you have to have the money to spend if you want to save any money!
If you’re one of the people that leaves the faucet running while you’re brushing your teeth, a simple change of habits will help you become a greener household. Turn off the water when you’re not using it! Try taking shorter showers and doing dishes only when absolutely necessary. Saving water is an easy step to take and it’s something that could have one of the biggest impacts on the environment.
For whatever reason over the past several years, it has almost become a habit in many households to just throw away plastic bottles, glass bottles and aluminum cans. These materials can be recycled and reused in so many ways and it is such a hazard to the environment to discard them improperly.
Set aside a specific bin for recycling products only, and bring cans and bottles to recycling centers often. If you bring enough, you’ll even get a bit of a cash return, so you’ll be helping the environment and actually making money at the same time.
Revert to the Old-Fashioned
When you’re stuck for ideas on how to save energy and go green in your home, try to think back to a time when there was no electricity or energy to be used. Think way, way back, now. People didn’t have dryers so they had to line dry all of their clean clothes. Bring clotheslines back and start line drying your clothes again!
Try other alternatives, too, like making your own, less-toxic cleaning products for your home and opening windows to let in a spring breeze instead of immediately cranking the AC.
Simple steps can go a long way in making your home a greener place, it’s just a matter of your willingness to make the changes!
Jade Evans is a freelance writer and mother of two. She has used many cross country movers in her families’ travels from home to home across the U.S., and she has made a point to make each home as eco-friendly as can be!