15 Tips for Living Green
by Carla Hill
With so much energy and attention being spent on fixing the economy, it’s easy to lose sight of other important issues. One of these is the environment. Homes and households consume a large amount of energy and products to keep in good working order.
Here are 15 simple ways you can transform your home into a green sanctuary. Every little bit helps. Do what you can and spread the word!
- Buy earth-friendly cleaning products: This used to be a tall order for budget-conscious households, but now there are a plethora of products on the market available for the same price as traditional cleaners. Some households take it one step further and harness the cheap cleaning power of baking soda, vinegar, and lemon.
- Lights out: Turning lights off when you’re not in a room means you use less energy. This means the power plant produces less power and emits less pollution.
- Turn the water off: It is tempting to let the water run while we brush our teeth or wash dishes. Take a quick second to turn the handle to “off” and preserve water each day!
- Upgrade Insulation: A well-insulated home can save you money! Insulation helps keep your warmed or cooled air inside the home. Check the attics and walls of older homes to see if upgrades are needed.
- Check for cracks: Air escapes through cracks around windows and doors. It is essentially wasted energy. Check windows and doors for leaks and fill them with caulking.
- Change lightbulbs to CFLs: These new bulbs might look a little funny and cost a bit more initially, but they last longer and save tons of money in the long run.
- Use cloth diapers: Attention all parents! Cloth diapers aren’t what they used to be. Not only do they work just as well as disposables (some say better), but they cost less and save the environment. A disposable diapers takes up to 500 years to biodegrade in a landfill. Americans send millions to the dump each year.
- Use a laptop: Did you know a laptop uses less energy than a desktop unit? For home use consider using a laptop. Not only will you save energy, but you’ll save space as well.
- Electric water heater: These compact units are great for families wanting to heat water only on demand. You’ll never run our of hot water and you’ll use less energy in the process because you won’t be heating water for when you don’t need it.
- Zero-Voc paints: Paint can be toxic. Traditional paints emit fumes for years to come, meaning your family breathes in this nasty stuff. Zero-voc paints, however, are safe and cost only a fraction more than traditionals.
- Unplug appliances: Even if an appliance isn’t in use, it is still pulling a small amount of power. Unplug appliances when they’re not in use. Even small changes can have a big impact if everyone does it!
- Free and Clear laundry detergent: Our rivers, lakes, and oceans will thank you. Every year gallons and gallons of toxic chemicals make their way down our drains and back into our water supply.
- Energy efficient appliances: Energy Star rated are a great place to start. These appliances meet a strict standard of energy usage. Switching to an energy efficient washer or dryer can save you cash and energy.
- Wash in cold water: Once you have those Energy Star appliances, be sure to wash in cold water when you can. It uses less energy!
- Recycle! Most cities have recycling centers where you can drop off metal, glass, paper, cardboard, and plastic. Keep extra bins in your garage, spend a few extra minutes sorting your trash, and do your part of save the environment.
Do your part to help make the Earth a healthier place.
Future generations will thank you!