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
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, light-emitting diodes (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, they’ll also save you a huge chunk of money on your energy bill.
You can also use beeswax candles to create a nice glow and smell in your home.
2. Turn Off The Lights
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
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
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
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.
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.