Fortunately, there are many simple ways you can begin making your home more eco-friendly, and they won’t break the bank, either. Taking small steps now will help reduce the amount of energy and waste your household expends, helping you protect the environment and giving you peace of mind that you are doing your part for the planet.
Here are a few tips on how to get started.
Change those bulbs
With all the changes in technology that have been made in the last 10 years, more and more people are able to work from home, and while this is a great way to reduce emissions from vehicles, it actually means we’re using more energy in the home because we spend more time there. You can reduce your electricity use by using natural light; throw open those curtains and let the sun shine in! You can also change your light bulbs and use energy-efficient LED bulbs. These will not only last longer than regular bulbs, they’ll also save you money on utilities.
Create a family garden
Even if you’ve never imagined yourself as someone with a green thumb, you can start growing your own veggies (and some fruits, depending on where you live) right in the backyard. Tomatoes, lettuce, peppers and herbs like cilantro are fairly easy to grow and can be labeled a “taco garden” to get the kids excited about helping out. Growing your own foods will save you money at the grocery store, help you eat a healthier diet and will reduce the amount of labor and emissions it takes to get food to your table. Click here for more info on how to start a family garden.
Conserving water is a great way to help the environment, and it’s fairly easy to do. Set a time limit for everyone in the family when it comes to showering, use a dishwasher instead of washing them by hand and install an energy-efficient shower head and toilet to help conserve the amount used everyday. If you do create a garden or have landscaping that needs hydration, do some research on landscaping techniques that conserve water and collect rain water during the wet season that can be used for landscaping during the dry season.
Seal it up
No matter what the season is, it’s important to make sure your home isn’t leaking cool or warm air. Go from room to room and check all the doors and windows to look for cracks that can be sealed up. If there are wide gaps beneath doors, seal them with a “draft snake”-- a tube sock filled with uncooked rice or beans -- or look for a rubber seal at your local home improvement store. Keeping cool air in during summer and warm air in during winter will lower your energy bills and will keep your utilities from working overtime, preventing emissions at the same time. Ask your utility company to run an energy audit on your home to see how much you’re using compared to your neighbors. If the number is high, you might have some sealing and insulating to do.
While there are plenty of ways you can update your home to make it more “green” that will cost a pretty penny -- installing solar panels, for instance -- there are still many smaller steps you can take to ensure that your home is eco-friendly. Talk to your family about how they can do their part in living a green lifestyle.