Do you ever find yourself reading about others committing to an eco-friendly lifestyle, and wonder how you can make a difference in your busy life? You don’t have to dramatically change the way you live in order to have a positive environmental impact, and it’s important to realize that every little bit you can do makes a difference. In the spirit of Earth Day, we’d love to share some ways that you can make a difference in your own home, and listed below are a few tips to help get you started….
Keep the Flow Low
You can conserve water easily by installing low flow options for your toilet, shower head and other faucets throughout your home, and save money in the process. While a standard toilet uses about 7 gallons of water per flush, a low flow toilet only uses 1.6 gallons per flush--which will help to significantly lower your water bills over time. Water conserving shower heads are a more affordable option, but will still save you a considerable amount of water, with only 15,000 gallons being used per person within a year. Not to mention the energy that you will save from not having to heat the reserves of water in your tank. You can find some great options at your local Home Depot!
Upgrade your Lightbulbs
There’s been some debate over which type of eco-friendly bulbs are better for your home, but if you haven’t already, consider switching to CFL or LED bulbs. This will have a positive impact on decreasing the carbon footprint of your home, while also being more cost effective. LED bulbs would be the best option, lasting longer than most bulbs and using about 10 percent of the power. Whichever option you choose will get your home one step closer to being a positive impact on the health of the earth!
Use Green Cleaning Supplies
The cleaning supplies that you use in your home can have a direct impact on the quality of the air you are breathing in. Many generic cleaners have toxins and unwanted chemicals that pollute the natural air. Chlorine and Ammonia are two unhealthy ingredients that are widely used in store-bought solutions, and can cause skin irritation, headaches and coughing. There are many green, safer options that are readily available and approved by the EPA, or if you are a DIY person, you can make your own cleaners from simple ingredients like vinegar and baking soda.
Bring in Earth Friendly Furnishings
Recycled and sustainable furnishings can be a great addition to any space, from rustic mason jar decor to investing in dining furniture made from recycled natural resources. There are so many companies today that create home decor and furnishings that are made with sustainability in mind. When you are looking to buy furniture for your home, make a note to ask about eco-friendly options and companies that have been certified by. the Sustainable Forestry Initiative(SFI). These companies create products that are made in a safe and intentional way, and are marked with a little green shield!
Unplug your Appliances
It seems obvious to many people that we should keep home appliances and lamps turned off when not in use because they can be wasting power and running up the electricity bill. What you may not realize, is that you may still be wasting energy if you leave them plugged in. This phenomenon is known as vampire power, or phantom load, which refers to the draw of electricity and energy from a product that is plugged in. It may take a little extra effort, but unplugging your devices and lighting pieces after you are done using them will lower your electricity bill, and in the long run decrease the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the air.
Cold Wash and Hang Dry
Washing your clothes with cold water will save the energy it takes to heat the water and is also easier on your clothes. You can also save some power by hanging your clothes on a clothesline or drying rack, rather than running them through the dryer. This win-win situation will save you money on electricity and conserve energy, while saving your clothes from dryer wear and tear.
Take your Banking Online
The days of paper statements and getting your bills in the mail are coming to an end--or at least they should be. Paying your bills online is an easier alternative to paying them through the mail, and making the switch to digital will cut down significantly on wasted paper and carbon dioxide pollution from driving to the bank. In fact, many financial institutions now even offer incentives to go paperless and do your banking online through their website or mobile app. However, when online banking, it’s especially important to defend your devices, connections, and accounts from cyber criminals seeking to use your information to commit identity theft. So do your research, weigh all your options, and consider the web to help make things easier and environmentally conscious!