Being environmentally conscious is much more than tree-hugging. It means adopting a lifestyle based on saving resources. Everything around us is a resource, and most of the things can be either upcycled or recycled. While some feel naturally inclined toward this kind of lifestyle, others may need a nudge to welcome it. Usually, it’s sufficient to show people how much they can save by making a few simple but economical home improvements. Truth be told, some of the methods to make your home more eco-friendly require significant initial investments. This can be a powerful obstacle, even for the most enthusiastic. However, the investment pays off soon enough. It is often this moment when people start fully embracing sustainable living.
Out of the plethora of eco-friendly advice, which tips to adopt first? The ones you find easiest to implement into your daily routine, of course. The others will follow more easily soon.
- Saving water
Living busy lives as we do, how often do we have the time to soak in our bathtubs? Almost never. Switch the soaking for a quick shower using an aerated showerhead. Most of the time, the massive amount of water run down the toilet is entirely wasted. Low-flow toilets, as well as faucets, are a great way to make your home more sustainable. They rely more on water pressure than the amount of water used. Consider installing solar panels (if it makes sense in your climate) to heat your water. Should you have a garden, place a rainwater collector close by and use it to water your plants or lawn.
- Energy conservation
Whichever type of fuel you’re using to heat or cool your home, and for your daily activities, it leaves a significant ecological footprint. Hence, making your house eco-friendly starts with the simplest of tasks – the conservation of resources. Especially if those resources are not renewable. Why would anyone want to be eco-friendly aside from the obvious benefits for the environment and our future? Mostly because it is also quite economical.
With energy conservation, you will certainly and significantly save on your electricity bill, and this welcome saving will be noticeable at once. The most common ways to reduce the use of fuels and electricity is by installing
- good quality insulation (focus on your roof, walls, and garage)
- energy-efficient windows and doors (double glazed)
- LED light bulbs (remove the incandescent bulbs)
Each of these options will allow you to save in the long run, make your home more eco-friendly, and last longer than their conventional alternatives.
- Smart devices
Even if you use conventional energy sources, you can easily reduce the consumption with the help of smart features. Programmable smart thermostats can regulate the heating (or cooling) and allow you to use, waste, and pay less. You will get positively surprised by how much you can save when your HVAC is turned on only when it really matters. Moreover, installing smart meters will give you a clear insight into your consumption. Not only can you use the results to tweak your monthly expenses, but you can also quickly notice any problems or damage, like leaks. When the time comes to buy a new home appliance, opt for the one with ENERGY STAR certification.
- Renewable energy
Solar power is not helpful only when it comes to heating water. Aside from solar panels, you can install photovoltaic cells and use less power from the standard grid. Even if there aren’t enough sunny days where you live, don’t worry. Wherever you live on the planet, at least two or three renewable energy sources are likely available to you. Your home might need remodeling to accommodate the new system(s), as they need some space, but the long-term payoff is but guaranteed. Also, bear in mind that storing away your furniture is the safest way to protect your precious belongings while you’re remodeling your soon-to-be eco-friendly home.
- Minimizing waste
Waste minimization starts by abandoning a materialistic lifestyle. Ask yourself honestly how many of the items you own you genuinely need and use. Dispose of the clutter you currently have and persevere in abstinence from unnecessary shopping. However, not everything you discard needs to end up in a landfill. Offer your excess items for sale first. Everything else that is still in good condition, you can donate or gift. The broken, unusable stuff should be recycled if possible. Only if recycling is not feasible should you dispose of it.
- Try composting
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a third of the food produced goes to waste. Vast amounts of natural products simply don’t satisfy the markets’ aesthetic standards. Making unrealistic grocery shopping plans or making none at all only contributes to this. Even with the best of efforts, we’re left with organic leftovers. These can be reused in the form of compost. Using a modern compost bin will make the whole process simple and completely odorless.
- Use eco-friendly materials and house chemicals
With only a few of these tips becoming a habit, making a green home can easily become a reality. With time, you will more easily add new environmentally-friendly features to your home. And most importantly, make them a part of your lifestyle. Eventually, you will start noticing the materials products are made from, choosing the fair-trade and biodegradable ones. You will also take time to read the list of ingredients of most, if not all, home cleaning products, focusing on those that don’t pose a risk to your health and the environment. Eventually, wastewaters do end in nature, and some chemicals present are quite harmful.
- Substitute single-use items and other disposables with multi-use items
The more single-use items you use, the more trash they make after their useful life ends. Replace everything you can in your home with multi-use items to reduce your impact on the environment. Every little thing counts, from reusable bags, cloth napkins, and reusable water bottles to repurposed scrap paper. Ditch the disposable razors, paper cleaning cloths, and disposable diapers.