The idea of making your home "eco-friendly" can often feel overwhelming, the good news is that it doesn't have to be. We've put together 20 ways you can reduce your home's carbon footprint. Create an eco-friendly home by starting with the small things, over time you can take bigger steps to build a green, energy-efficient home.
1. Add solar panels
Compared to traditional energy, solar is the cleaner and a more sustainable alternative power source. Solar panels don't produce greenhouse gases which helps combat the negative effects of climate change. By installing solar panels, homeowners can become energy independent, reap the cost-saving benefits of solar, and feel satisfied knowing they are being environmentally responsible. If you are interested in solar, contact us today and we'd be happy to give you a free quote.
2. Create a recycling center
To help make recycling a consistent habit your family does on a regular basis, create a recycling center. Place a convenient recycling bin in the center of your home, most likely in your kitchen where you produce the most waste. The next step is to find a space in your home to set up bins for sorting the different recycled products. Label the bins so your family has a quick reminder of what goes where. Recycling can often feel inconvenient, but in reality, it just takes some commitment.
3. Create a compost station
Composting is the process of breaking down organic materials using natural decomposition to turn them into rich soil. Depending on where you live you can make your compost space indoors or outdoors. If you are composting inside you will need a designated bin. If you plan to start your compost station outside you can use either a bin or start it on the bare dirt ground. With your newly set-up compost station, the next time you cook you can throw your leftover peels or old eggshells in your bin. Some things you can and should compost include fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, loose leaf tea, used paper napkins and paper towels, cooked pasta and rice, stale crackers, and much more. Composting helps enrich your soil and reduce methane emissions from landfills - helping lower your carbon footprint.
4. Switch to LED lightbulbs
LED stands for light-emitting diode. According to Energy Star, LED lightbulbs produce approximately 90% more efficiently than traditional incandescent light bulbs. Using LED lighting can help make your home run more efficiently while helping you save money. High quality LED lights have a life expectancy of 30,000-50,000 hours or even longer, while a typical incandescent light bulb last only 8,000 to 10,000 hours.
5. Install low-flow showerheads
Showers are responsible for up to 30 percent of household water use. Swapping out your showerhead for a low-flow one can help conserve water. You can save around 2,900 gallons of water each year when you install a low-flow showerhead. Up until the year 1992, traditional showerheads would use up five to eight gallons of water per minute. Today's showerhead standard is that only 2.5 gallons per minute, while low-flow models only use up two gallons or less per minute. Installing a low-flow showerhead will decrease your home's water consumption, save energy, lower annual heating costs, and reduce your monthly water bill.
6. Purchase energy-efficient appliances
Purchasing energy-efficient appliances may be a bigger investment than a traditional appliance, but it's important to think about the price tag of an appliance over its entire lifetime.
7. Use natural cleaning products
Making the switch to eco-friendly cleaning products helps reduce harmful chemicals that are being released into the environment, creates better air quality, and creates a safer home. Ditching the toxic, hazardous chemicals found in conventional cleaning products will help improve earth's eco-systems. When conventional cleaning products are sprayed they can create pollution in the surrounding air, switching to natural products will help reduce dangerous chemicals in both the air and on surfaces in your home.
8. Use a smart thermostat
Smart thermostats save you money while reducing energy waste. Investing in a programmable thermostat will allow you to monitor and control your heating and cooling. When you go solar, adding a smart thermostat is a great way to take full potential of your clean power production.
9. Switch to paying your bills online
Reduce paper waste when you use online billing. The fewer paper bills that are sent out, the less energy that is being used to print, process, mail, and transport them. Not only is online billing the more environmentally friendly option it also cuts out paper clutter in your life.
10. Buy pre-loved furniture
Strive to buy pre-loved furniture when you can. Repurposing and reusing items is a great way to save money and reduce the amount of waste that is put into landfills. Extend the lifetime of items in your household by learning to reuse, repurpose, and upcycle them.
11. Reusable bags
Some 18 billion pounds of plastic waste flow into the oceans every year from coastal regions. Plastic has made its way into almost all aspects of our lives. We can make a big impact by switching some of our day-to-day habits. Using a canvas bag when you do your grocery shopping will significantly decrease your plastic use over your lifetime.
12. Seal air leaks
One of the easiest first steps to creating a more energy-efficient home is to seal the air leaks around your house. Especially in older homes, air can make its way through openings in the ceilings, walls, floor and window edges. Save on your monthly heating and cooling costs by caulking, sealing, and weatherstripping all openings and cracks.
13. Be more water aware
We're all pretty accustomed to having a steady supply of clean water and often take this for granted. Reducing our water usage will cut the amount of water we take from rivers, bays, and estuaries. This helps keep the environment healthy and prevents air pollution from energy used to treat, pump, and heat water.
14. Fill your home with plants
Adding plants to your home is a fantastic way to improve air quality. Plants perform photosynthesis, through the removal of carbon dioxide in the air and transforming it into oxygen. Some house plants can reduce pollutants in the air, such as carbon dioxide, benzene, formaldehyde, and mercury. These air pollutants cause health problems like dizziness, headaches, and eye irritation.
15. Climate-appropriate landscaping
When landscaping your home be sure to pick plants and trees that are appropriate for the climate you are in. Traditionally sought after landscaping includes large grassy areas surrounded by plush shrubs, trees, and flowers. This type of landscape does not perform well in all climates. Dryer climates will require larger amounts of water and maintenance to care for it. You can significantly reduce the amount of water needed for your yard by creating an eco-friendly landscape. Not only is this approach more environmentally friendly - but also more cost-effective.
16. Eat environmentally
Households across the country are joining the sustainable food movement. Developing eco-friendly eating habits can make a difference for both our bodies and the earth. Aim to buy foods with minimal packaging and avoid plastic, bottled beverages. A few other tricks to make better eco-friendly eating habits include: sourcing your food locally, eating raw, and shopping at company's that strive to take care of the planet
17. Fix leaks
If your kitchen or bathroom faucets leak one drop per second you can waste thousands of gallons of water per year. A showerhead that leaks 10 drips per minute can waste more than 500 gallons of water a year. Taking the time to examine your home for leaks and drip can significantly cut the water waste your home produces.
18. Line dry your clothing
Promote energy conservation in your home by line drying your clothing. The household dryer is one of the biggest energy consumers in your home. Choosing to air-dry your clothes can reduce your household carbon footprint by nearly 2,400 pounds a year.
19. Pass on paper towels
Ditch wasteful paper towels and instead use sustainable alternatives such as cloth and linen rags. While paper towels are extremely convenient, you might want to think twice for you reach for your next roll. Each year the U.S. produces over 3,000 tons of paper towels waste. 120,000 tons of waste could be eliminated each year if U.S. households used three rolls less a year.
20. Embrace cold water
Opting for cold water when washing your clothing can reduce your energy consumption and financial expenses. Hot water heating accounts for about 90 percent of the energy that washing machines use. Turning down your hater water heater by 10 degrees can save 3 to 5 percent on energy costs. Dropping your water heater from 140 degrees to 120 degrees comes at no cost to you while saving you roughly $40 - $60 a year.
Have you already been practicing these eco-friendly tips? Have we missed any? Share your strategies for creating a more environmentally-friendly home in the comments!
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