In today’s world most people are more conscious about being greener. We all don’t want to contribute to the degrading of the planet we live on. Some will go to great lengths to do so while most of us will do things as long as they are simple and don’t take too much effort. Remember small changes can become big things for the planet and improve your health and mood. Though we cannot control the environments we work in and the cities we live in we can have an effect on the smaller environments we live in – our homes. Whether you live in an apartment, condo or house here are ten easy things you can do to make your homes greener.
1) Cut down on water use: There are many ways to do this including:
-installing a low-flow toilet
-turning off the water while you are brushing your teeth can save between four to five gallons each time
-using a dishwasher to clean your dishes rather than washing by hand uses less water
-collect water from your roof by installing gutters and downspouts
-run your dishwasher and washer only when they are full
-when running a bath, plug the bathtub before turning on the water
-teach kids how to turn off faucets tightly
-shorten your shower by a minute or two and you can save up to 150 gallons a month
-at home or while staying in a hotel reuse your towels
2) Use energy efficient light bulbs: Compact fluorescent light bulbs use 66% less energy than the older incandescent bulbs. Plus they last up to ten times longer.
3) Reduce or eliminate the use of plastic bags: The plastics used in the bags are made from petroleum and the processing and burning of them are big contributors to global warming. Also when we throw these bags out they end up in landfills and increase the amount of greenhouse gases produced. If you cannot eliminate – reduce and re-use.
4) Use healthier paint: When painting try to choose zero or low-VOC paint which are made by most major paint producers. These types of paints contain less solvents, toxic metals and volatile organic compounds. Bad ingredients like this are released during production of paint, while painting, as the paint is drying and even after the paint is dry.
5) Clean green: Do not buy cleaners that are toxic to humans and the environment. Use simple things like soap, water, baking soda, vinegar, borax and lemon juice. You’ll be greener and saving money at the same time.
6) Install programmable thermostats: Half your energy bill goes towards heating and cooling your house. Experts say that 20 degrees in the winter and 25 degrees in the summer are optimal. As such you can program your programmable thermostat to stay at these temperatures at all times. If you program your thermostat to go below 68 and 78 then you can save up to five percent off your energy bill.
7) Turn off lights and appliances when not in use: Simple and speaks for itself.
8) Make sure your home is properly insulated: Proper insulation will keep your home warmer in the winter by not allowing heat to escape and cooler in the summer by not allow your air conditioned air to escape. This is especially true in your attic or just under your roof. An amazing ¼ of your heat escapes through there so proper insulation will minimize that.
9) Install energy efficient windows: Will save money on your heating bills. It will be quieter, warmer, less draughty and less prone to condensation. Other related ways to save on heating is to put up heavy lined curtain, install shutters or sealed blinds.
10) As much as possible use ceiling fans rather than air conditioners: Air conditioners use a lot of energy. You can also lower the temperature in a room by using a ceiling fan. Moving air feels cooler so a slow moving fan can up the tolerable temperature to 27.