While people today are certainly more environmentally conscious, there are still many out there who think that going green is all about expensive and therefore inconvenient lifestyle changes. Some think that real environmental impact is possible only on a global level.
But each of us can make a difference in our homes. Making them more eco-friendly and energy-efficient won’t only have a positive environmental impact but will also keep the money in our pockets. There are many easy and cheap home adjustments that will make a difference regarding both carbon footprint and our wallets.
Heating & Cooling
Heating and cooling our homes adds up to half of our energy costs, so this is the issue we need to tackle first. Leaks or problems in the distribution are common for older heating and cooling systems, so it’ important to give them a full check-up and install advanced solenoid valves in place of older connections and seals.
The next step is to prevent the escape of cool air and heat as the air duct stops blowing. This is where good insulation comes in, sealing all the tiny crevices within the walls, windows, doors, and roof. Energy-efficient windows with double or even triple panes are always a plus, reflecting blinds and thick drapes will keep the unwanted sunlight at bay, and area rugs are a stylish way to prevent the air from escaping through the cracks in the floors.
This will not only lower your dependency on fossil fuels, but also your monthly energy bills by 30%.
Many of us take the term “energy-efficient” quite literally, thinking only about electricity and easily disregarding our water consumption. Besides the fact that water on numerous occasions does need to get heated, it also needs to be filtered in factories using fossil fuels, so conserving it is as eco-friendly as it gets.
And we’re not just talking about fixing leaks, but making changes in your lifestyle. A leaking faucet can waste 5 gallons per day, but by shortening your showers to 1 minute you’ll save 150 gallons per month. There’s no need for the tap to be running while we shave or brush our teeth.
Everyone knows that CFLs and LEDs are a better alternative to incandescent bulbs. These energy-efficient light bulbs are certainly not a new thing, but it took a while until people decided to invest in them. Now there should be no doubt about making the switch – it is not only that LEDs use 75% less energy but they also last 25 times longer. You don’t have to be a math genius to figure out they’ll save the environment and a huge chunk of our energy bills at the same time.
Harvesting The Sun
Solar panels are not the only way to harvest energy from the sun. Going back to the water issue, there are solar water heaters. These heaters coated in special absorbent material and consisting of durable materials will heat a substantial amount of water using only sun rays, providing completely free baths and showers.
That said, we should also bust the solar panels myth as a big investment. Sure, some years ago they were still an experimental energy alternative and therefore expensive, but today they’re much more affordable. Besides, there’ll be occasions in which you’ll be able to sell the part of the provided energy back to the grid. Solar panels are still a long-term investment but have established themselves as an essential energy-efficient and eco-friendly home feature.
Seemingly Insignificant Actions
In the end, we need to mention simple energy-efficient and eco-friendly actions that many consider insignificant, wrongly so. The act of turning off the lights or unplugging unused electronics is like saving the planet and your budget in a second. Placing a simple compost bin in your garden will make you realize the amount of food waste we make after every meal. This may seem insignificant until you find out that one of the leading causes of methane is precisely food waste in landfills. Using a pressure cooker or toaster oven for smaller meals won’t only save half of the energy, but also reduce cooking time up to 70%. You may think that using chemicals for cleaning is not a big deal, but where do you think they go when you wash them away? That’s right – directly into the water supply, which in turn demands more purification afterward. So stick to bicarbonate of soda, citric acid, and vinegar which are more enough for day-to-day cleaning tasks.
As you can see, there are many things we can do to make our homes more eco-friendly and energy-efficient. Some of them are quite urgent, some simply neglected, some wrongly deemed “too expensive”, but one thing is for sure – no action is an insignificant one.