By Alena KairysApr 18, 2021
Protecting the environment is a huge task, but you don’t need to move to a wind farm to make your home eco-friendly! Every day actions add up and can make a difference. There are many easy ways that you can reduce your environmental impact, even without making radical changes to your lifestyle. Here are 6 ways to make your home more sustainable
1. Energy Use
It’s nearly impossible to live in the modern world without using energy of some sort, but it’s certainly possible to make more energy efficient choices in your home. Take advantage of sunny days by minimizing your use of indoor lights and make it a habit to turn on your lights only when you need them. The sun brightens up a room unlike anything else—and it’s free! Speaking of lighting, swap out your incandescent lightbulbs for LED bulbs. LED lights can last around 50,000 hours and use 75% less energy than incandescent lights. If you don’t already have one, consider installing a programmable or smart thermostat. You’ll be able to have more precise control over the temperature in your home, and even schedule temperature changes based on your daily schedule.
When you’re using your washing machine, opt to use cold water instead of hot. Most of the time, cold water cleans just as well as hot water does, without having to worry about shrinking. When your clothes are out of the washer, try drying them the old-fashioned way with air drying. Line drying is perfect for bulkier items like towels, sheets, and blankets. Another way you can save energy is by letting your dishes air dry rather than using the heated dry setting on your dishwasher. The heated drying feature can increase your energy consumption by about 15%. Simply leave your dishes in the machine after the cycles are done and leave the door slightly open to let air in.
2. Water Use
Much like your energy usage, you might not realize how much water you use every day until you see your monthly bill. Check your faucets for leaks or drips and get them repaired. A dripping faucet may seem inconsequential, but a continuously running one builds up fast. It’s also good practice to have your plumbing inspected every two years; keeping on this schedule will help address any issues before they become serious. Another way you can save water is to not prewash your dishes. If doing so is the only way to get your plates sparkling, troubleshoot your dishwasher to help it operate better in the long run—it’ll save you time and water. Also, make sure your hygiene habits aren’t contributing to water waste, such as leaving water running while you brush your teeth or excessively long showers.
3. Invest in Eco-Friendly
When you’re ready to replace or upgrade the appliances and features in your home, consider investing in a more sustainable version. Today, there are many top-rated windows, refrigerators, dishwashers, and ovens that are optimized for energy saving. Going with a greener option can pay off when you see how much you’re saving on utilities. Be sure to do your research beforehand to see which models are right for you.
If you’re still throwing out your kitchen scraps, you’re missing out on the joys of composting! Starting a compost pile is a low maintenance way to get rid of your food waste and create richer soil for your garden. Some things you can compost include produce scraps, eggshells, coffee grounds, shredded paper, and yard waste. As you add these leftovers to your compost bin, be sure to mix and turn everything frequently to encourage decomposition. It will take several months before your compost is ready for use, but it’s a casual way to give back to nature.
5. Plant a Garden
Gardening has a myriad of benefits: it adds curb appeal to your home, it’s relaxing, and it benefits the environment. Adding beauty and personality to your yard is one of the perks of being a homeowner. You can grow a flower bed, a vegetable garden, or even a new tree to give your garden flair. Whenever possible, plant native species in your yard to enhance the ecology. Growing more plant life boosts oxygen levels to create cleaner air—it’s a win-win for everyone!
6. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
You’ve probably heard the 3 R’s before, but how often do you do all three, and in that order? If you jump straight to recycling, that’s a great step to being more eco-conscious, but don’t stop there! Start by being more aware of what, how much, and how often you buy things. Chances are, there are probably several areas in your life that don’t require frequent replenishing. By reducing your consumption habits, you can minimize your carbon footprint.
Before you throw your old things in the garbage, ask yourself if it can serve a new purpose. Turn worn clothing into cleaning rags, dated papers into scrap paper, or a faded dresser into an upcycled conversation piece—feel free to get creative! Additionally, consider donating your gently used items to charity. Donating your possessions will give them a new life cycle and make your home a little less cluttered. When you can no longer find a second (or even third!) use for something, then you can recycle. Papers and aluminum are usually recyclable, as are some plastics. Check with your local recycling center to see what items can be accepted.
Maintaining the quality of your home is necessary to protect its value and preserve it for the next family who will own it, and the same goes for the earth. When we do what we can to care for the planet, we ensure that there will be something for the next generation to look forward to.
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