When people think of eco-friendly living, they often picture rooftop gardens and solar panels. While these are both great ways to become more sustainable, there are tons of simpler things you can do at home that have a bigger impact on the environment. From using less water and energy to planting a garden near your kitchen window so you can eat fresh produce that’s grown locally – there are tons of ways you can make your home “green” without breaking the bank or sacrificing your personal style!
How can I make my home more Eco-friendly?
Here are some simple tips on how you can make your home more eco-friendly with minimal effort and cost.
Install energy-saving bulbs
Lighting accounts for about 25% of the electricity used in the average home. That means installing energy-saving bulbs, like the ones that come in an “A” or “B” family (or have a lower or higher Kelvin rating), can save you money by reducing your electricity bill.If you’re replacing bulbs in a living room or dining room, consider investing in LED bulbs. They last about 10 times longer than standard incandescent bulbs and use a fifth of the energy. If you’re replacing kitchen and bathroom bulbs, consider halogen or a CFL (concertina fluorescent lamp).
Repair/replace any appliances that consume a lot of energy
If your appliances are old and inefficient, you’re likely wasting a lot of money on electricity. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, typical washing machines can use as much as 10% more energy than modern models. To find out how much energy your appliances are using, check the energy efficiency rating (EER) sticker on the front of the appliance.EERs are a way of rating appliances based on their energy efficiency. They show the amount of energy it takes to run the appliance at its peak. Appliances are usually given an EER of 0-18—with 18 being the most efficient. If your appliances have an EER of 10 or 11, they are fairly efficient. If they have an EER of 7 or 8, they are less efficient.
Install a programmable thermostat
A programmable thermostat can reduce both your energy bill and your carbon footprint. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, if you set your thermostat to between 16 and 18 degrees Celsius and you lower it by 3 degrees during the night, you can save 5% on your energy bill.The average American household spends $68 a month on energy bills. If you switch to a programmable thermostat, you can save about $30 a month on average. You can install a programmable thermostat fairly easily and can even do it yourself with a programmable thermostat controller. You’ll want to install it in a central location in your home.
Change your light bulbs to LEDs
Lighting accounts for about 25% of the electricity used in the average home. If you use the same lighting for every room in your home, you’re probably using way more energy than you need to. You can save money and energy by replacing incandescent bulbs with LEDs.They’re much more energy efficient than other types of bulbs (and cost much more to produce). For example, a 60-watt incandescent light bulb has an efficiency of 13 lumens per watt. A 27-watt LED light bulb has an efficiency of about 90 lumens per watt.That means for the same amount of light, an LED light bulb uses about 10 times less energy than an incandescent light bulb.
Check your water and sewer bills
If you’re not sure where your water and sewer bills are going, find out! You can do it for free online at Energy.gov. Once you know where your money is going, you can try to save money and resources by getting a water meter and putting a composting toilet in your home.If you don’t want to get a water meter, you’re probably paying for more water than you need to. The average American household uses between 30 and 50 gallons of water a day, but most water meters only measure water usage to the nearest 3 or 4 gallons.If you live in a city, the water you use is often treated so that it can be used for drinking. You can ask your city if they offer water that you can use for gardening or other non-drinking purposes.
Go paperless and switch to solar power
If you’re reading this, you’re probably already “paperless”. The average American household spends $100 a year on paper, mostly in the form of newspapers and magazines. That adds up to about $800 a year. Instead of wasting that money, consider switching to digital copies of your favorite magazines or newspapers.Most newspapers and magazines offer digital subscriptions, so you can read them on your computer or phone. If you want a hard copy, you can usually print them from your computer.You can also shop online and read online newspapers, magazines, and blogs. You can even download e-books.
Don’t forget the small things
Finally, don’t forget to keep in mind the little things that can add up to a big difference. For example, when shopping for groceries, remember to bring your own reusable bag instead of using a plastic bag. You can also bring your own reusable containers for leftovers instead of using plastic jars and containers. You can also reduce your carbon footprint by using public transportation and walking or biking when you can.Most of the eco-friendly stuff you do at home is free or almost free, but they all add up and can make a huge difference.