It’s easier than you might think to “go green.” You don’t have to swear off all plastic products and only wear hand-stitched clothing as you wash your dishes in the local river. You can live a more eco-friendly life by making a few simple changes around the house!
- Improve Your Lighting
Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) use anywhere from 25 – 80 percent less energy than traditional halogen bulbs. This is a fact straight from the U.S. Department of Energy. You can also save power by utilizing more natural light around the house as opposed to turning on lamps and light switches at all. For example, you can install more windows or invest in front doors with glass. Anything that improves visibility will help.
- Get Smart About Your Thermostat
“Smart” thermostats can be controlled with your phone, so you won’t have to leave the heat blasting all night just because you’re too tired to get up and switch it off. You can also program your smart thermostat to save energy by predicting your patterns, sensing your levels of household activity and lowering your home’s internal temperature when no one is around.
- Start Using Solar Power
You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to completely rewire your home. If you want to harness the power of the sun, you can start with nothing more than a few photovoltaic panels installed on your roof or mounted in your yard. You can also buy and use solar-powered gadgets instead of traditional ones. For example, did you know that solar-powered chargers work just as effectively as electric ones?
- Upgrade Your Fixtures
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average family wastes 180 gallons of water per week. The good news is that there are many ways to lessen this number without changing your household habits at all. For example, you can install low-flow valves in your toilets and showers, and you can put less forceful aerators in your sinks.
- Replace Old, Energy-Guzzling Appliances
This is a bit of an investment, but if your washing machine is about to give up the ghost anyway, it’s worth the effort of replacing it with an energy-efficient model. All you have to do is look for the official Energy Star label. You can also do this with other household appliances like dishwashers, refrigerators, water heaters, dehumidifiers and air conditioners.
- Use Natural Cleaning Products
The American Lung Association has issued warnings about the dangers of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), but many people are still using cleaning products that contain them. From detergents to disinfectant wipes, they’re slowly polluting your indoor air quality. Not only will replacing them be good for the environment, but it will be good for your lungs as well.
- Beware Vampire Energy
“Vampire energy” refers to the energy used by devices that are turned off but still plugged into electric outlets. It’s a common problem with things like microwaves, televisions and computer printers. If you don’t feel like unplugging these devices every night, you can still cut back on vampire energy by putting them all in power strips and turning those off before you go to bed. This simple change can reduce a lot of energy waste over the course of the year.
Last but certainly not least, if you aren’t recycling, it’s time to start. Most cities have made recycling programs that are ridiculously easy to join; you won’t even have to sort your own papers and plastics. Just throw all of your recyclable goods into a separate trash can, and your local recycling center will do the rest.
These are just a few tips for living a more eco-friendly life. As you can see, most of them won’t require any great sacrifices on your part. You’ll just need to be a bit more aware of your habits, especially when you shop. Good luck!