When it comes to going "green," many people think of expensive solar panels and hybrid cars. In reality, there are thousands of small changes and repairs you can make in your home to save money and the environment. Becoming more eco-friendly at home involves saving electricity, gas, water, and other essential resources. This can be accomplished in a wide variety of ways, such as updating your home's insulation or switching from inefficient incandescent light bulbs to energy-saving CFL or LED bulbs. Follow these tips for eco-friendly living at home.
1. Upgrade to Energy Star appliances. Making the switch to Energy Star certified appliances like air conditioners, heaters, refrigerators, and dishwashers can save you hundreds of dollars per year in electricity costs.
2. Replace all of the light bulbs in your home with compact fluorescents. These energy-smart bulbs use up to 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs and last 10 times longer.
3. Turn down the thermostat. Each degree below 68°F can shave 3 to 5 percent off your heating bill.
4. Clean with eco-friendly products. Choose cleaning products that are biodegradable with low toxicity levels for a safer, cleaner and more environmentally friendly home.
5. Make improvements to your roof. Research shows that using light-colored tile on the roof can help to lower attic temperatures.
6. Save water by installing an aerator on all household faucets. Doing so can cut your annual water consumption by up to 50 percent.
7. Recycle items with care. Properly dispose of household items like cleaning products, pesticides, oils, old batteries, and other products that may contain components that are hazardous to humans and the environment.
8. Use a motion detector on outdoor lighting to avoid wasting energy.
9. Install a low-flow toilet in each of your bathrooms. Modern low-flow toilets use only 1.6 gallons of water per flush, compared to 3.5 gallons used in models prior to 1994.
10. Repair leaky faucets promptly. Even a slow-leaking faucet can waste thousands of gallons of water per year.
11. Cook at home from scratch. Eating out not only adds up financially but can use numerous resources that can be saved by making your own meals at home.
12. Buy recycled paper and save a tree. Recycled paper is now used in everything from toilet paper to greeting cards and keeps more waste out of landfills.
13. Wash your laundry in cold water. Also consider wearing jeans or using towels a few times before washing them.
14. Opt for bamboo flooring. If you're in the market for new floors, bamboo is considered environmentally friendly.
15. Install low-flow shower heads. Just like low-flow toilets, water-saving shower heads can drastically cut down on water usage in the home.
16. Cut plastic waste by reducing, recycling and reusing plastics. Carry reusable fabric bags when shopping instead of taking plastic grocery bags from the store.
17. Eat less meat while staying nutritionally sound. While you don't need to cut out meat altogether, incorporating a few vegetarian meals into your diet can save you money and help the environment.
18. Use eco-friendly paints in the home. Opt for zero- or low-VOC paint, as conventional paints contain toxic metals, solvents, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
19. Create a compost pile in your yard. Combine food wastes, such as coffee grounds, eggshells, and spoiled vegetables, with dirt to create natural compost.
20. Grow your own food. Fruits and vegetables can be grown in your own backyard and are extremely healthy to boot.
21. Clean and replace air conditioning filters regularly. A dirty air filter will cost you more to run than a clean one.
22. Avoid food waste. Instead of buying an entire bag of potatoes and throwing away half, only buy what you're going to use.
23. Invest in an automated thermostat. Set the thermostat to a lower temperature during the winter and a higher one in the summer during the hours when you're not home.
24. Use reusable water bottles instead of disposable ones. A quality BPA-free water bottle filled with tap water can save water and reduce plastic waste.
25. Install glass doors on your fireplace. Not only are glass doors safer to use, but they also reduce the amount of heat that continually escapes through the chimney.
26. Eliminate bad water habits. Don't waste water by allowing it to run as you brush your teeth, lather your hands or wash the dishes.
27. Use a power strip for your home computer. Unlike electronics plugged directly into electrical sockets, power strips prevent energy from being wasted by stopping the continuous flow of power.
28. Take shorter showers. Taking shorter showers each day can save thousands of gallons of water each year.
29. Install fans around the home. Fans pull unwanted heat and humidity from warm areas of the home during the summer and reduce dependence on air conditioners.
30. Turn down the water heater. A majority of people never use straight hot water, and adjusting the hot water heater to 120 degrees can save up to 10 percent on heating costs.
Additional Eco-Friendly Tips for Going Green in the Home:
By: Lisa Smith