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I care about this planet, a lot more as I grow older and begin to be more aware of how we affect it. We, huemans, play a large role in the care or destruction of the earth. And yes, with the many space programs happening it could seem like we are charting a course to leave earth in the dust but just in case we aren’t or can’t we should take strides to care for this planet now. We’ve already received more than we need from the planet and if we don’t learn to care for it, future generations will suffer.
Living in an eco-friendly home is one of the many ways we can improve our relationship with this planet.
What does it mean to live an eco-friendly life? It means that you try and live your life with as little negative impact on the Earth as possible. There are many simple ways to do so, some cost money while others don’t. Try and think about what you’re buying and how it affects the environment before you buy something. Buying second-hand or borrowing things is far better than buying new and wasting resources and energy for no reason at all!
The idea of making your home “eco-friendly” can often feel overwhelming, the good news is that it doesn’t have to be. Being more eco-friendly will not only help you contribute to a sustainable environment but it can even save you money. While many people associate going green with inconvenient and expensive lifestyle changes, there are actually several cheap and easy adjustments you can make around the house to significantly shrink your carbon footprint.
Energy-saving changes that will lower your bills and prove that you can live green without sacrificing style or comfort. The term “eco-friendly” gets thrown around a lot — you see it on labels for everything from sandwich bags to sheet sets. Since it’s used so often, it can be hard to understand the importance of eco-friendly lifestyles and products.
According to Merriam-Webster, the official definition of eco-friendly is: “not environmentally harmful.” When it comes to products, that means everything from production to packaging needs to be safe for the environment.
Here are 9 little things you can do tonight, or tomorrow, or this weekend to make your home a more eco-friendly place.
1. Light Up the House with LEDs
When it comes to an eco-friendly or green household, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) should be at or near the top of your list of upgrades. Beyond their eco-benefits, there are lots of good reasons why they make sense from a financial standpoint as well.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, LEDs use 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent lighting. And not only do they have the potential to save the environment, but they’ll also save you a huge chunk of money on your energy bill.
LEDs are one of the best recent advances in home improvement. They’re simple to use and will last for years, but before buying you should learn about them and what makes them such a good electrical upgrade.
You can also use beeswax candles to create a nice glow and smell in your home.
2. Turn Off The Lights
Using less energy means air pollution will be reduced too! Not only will this benefit people, but it will also benefit the planet. There is no reason why you should not try to be eco-friendly wherever you can, and turning of your home’s lights is one easy step you can take to help the environment.
Simply turning off the lights is another way to have an eco-friendly home. Turning off your home’s lights when they are not being used is one way you can do this. This helps save money because it reduces the amount of energy you would otherwise have to pay for. It also saves energy in general by reducing your carbon footprint. You are living more sustainably by saving electricity through conservation and using renewable resources rather than non-renewable sources of non-recyclable materials made from fossil fuels .
If you or others in your household are forgetful, install movement sensors so lights only activate when needed. Another way to save energy is to install automatic timers for lights frequently left blazing in empty rooms.
3. Use More Rags, Fewer Paper Towels
Whew, the sheer number of paper towels I use to go through was extreme. I would use one after washing my hands, another one to wipe a spill on the counter, one to wipe off my shorts because I am a clumsy eater. I’ve even been tempted to use one in order to grab warm plates from the microwave.
I decided that the only way to go green is to do it right, so I eliminated paper towels completely and switched over to rags. Now not only are these more eco-friendly, but they can also be used for multiple purposes in my household.
We’re not saying no paper towels—that move takes serious commitment—we’re saying fewer. Cut up old shirts to make rags (just like grandma did!) and launder them in a batch whenever you run out.
4. Put Away the Plastic Bottles
Putting your plastic water bottle in the recycling bin doesn’t make up for the fact that you’re using a plastic bottle in the first place, unfortunately. Buy a reusable bottle instead and you’ll be saving the environment with every sip. According to The Water Project, an estimated 80 percent of all plastic water bottles in the United States get tossed in with the trash, and only 20 percent of the bottles that are recycled can actually be used for recycling.
5. Reuse Items
Ever finish up a candle, look at the jar and think, hmm what else could I use this for? Now that is some eco-friendly thinking. Reusing items is a great way to reduce overall waste. Before you throw away that old t-shirt with red wine stains, think about how you can use it around the house: as a cleaning rag, re-purposed napkins, hair towel (cotton t-shirts are great for wrapping around wet hair). It also helps to buy things that last longer — they can be more expensive, but can save you money in the long run, and will take longer to get to the dreaded landfill.
6. Use Recycled Material
When building an environmentally friendly home, you should also think about where your building materials are coming from. Consider looking for materials made from recycled products or repurposing used materials. A few examples of recycled materials you can use include:
- Rubber roofing made from recycled products
- Composite decking made from recycled paper and wood waste
- Paper-based countertops made from tree pulp from managed forests
- Carpets made from recycled plastic bottles
7. Set Cooling and Heating Temperatures Correctly
Your refrigerator and freezer are probably the biggest electrical energy consumers in your house. Take steps to make sure they’re not working harder than necessary. Be sure to close the fridge and freezer doors. Leaving them open for just a few extra seconds wastes a lot of energy. Get an electronic thermostat so your furnace heats your home to a lower temperature while the family sleeps and returns it to a toastier temperature before you get out of bed.
- In the winter, set your thermostat at 68 F in the day and 55 F at night. In the summer, keep it at 78 F.
- Water heaters work most efficiently between 120 and 140 F.
8. Get Unplugged
If you don’t use it, lose it, or at least unplug it. Unplugging items that are not in use is a great way to save on your energy bill and be eco-friendly. Appliances account for about 14 percent of all household energy consumption, according to the EPA , and many small electronics — like cell phone chargers — can also contribute to your household’s energy bill.
It may seem like common sense, but items that are plugged in still consume electricity even when they are not turned on. This happens because the device is always plugged in and has an internal battery that slowly drains even if it is not being used. If you can manage to take these steps for just one hour per day, you could save up to $50 a year by making sure items are switched off at night or when they’re not being used.
Electronic appliances, including TVs, computers, and CD players can consume almost as much energy when in standby mode as they do during the relatively small amount of time they’re being used.
9. Let the Sun Shine
The cheapest and most environmentally sound heat and the light source are just outside your window. Open blinds, drapes, and shutters to let solar energy warm and bright.
In reality, we have everything we need to thrive on this planet and the sun is proof of that. The sun can be your home’s light and heat source if harnessed correctly. When you start to think of the sun in these terms, there are options for off-the-grid living that no longer seem so far-fetched.
Let the natural light of the day be your lamp and the sun’s heat your furnace. Open your windows to let in the sun when you need a little extra warmth during the day. This will help reduce your use of artificial light and may even save you money on the heating bill.
If you live in an area where sunlight is plentiful, make use of it by installing solar panels. Solar panels are expensive to install but they offer a way to let the sun power your appliances and give you free electricity for years at a time. If this sounds too expensive, you can always go with a smaller version like solar-powered garden lamps instead.
Everybody’s homes are different, which means that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to using natural sources as energy sources for their house or apartment. The important thing is to use renewable resources as opposed to nonrenewable resources.
Using the sun as a light and heat source is just one of many ways that people can save money and make their houses or apartment more eco-friendly.
Having an eco-friendly home is a non-negotiable these days. Luckily, we can do our part to reduce our carbon footprint without sacrificing our style. There are many small changes you can make in your home that can truly make an impact on both the environment and your energy bills.n your home naturally.