Being environmentally friendly is more important now than ever before. Natural disasters, pollution, a weakening ozone layer and irreversible damage to our environment are all often the result of humans and our reliance on fossil fuels and non-renewable energy sources. As a result, more people want to be as eco-friendly as possible to do their part.
In fact, more than three quarters of Americans report wanting to live more sustainably. While not everyone can go completely green, there are some things you can do to. This is especially true when it comes to your home. Most of our homes use a ton of energy, even when it doesn’t need to.
Use an Energy Monitor
A great way to make your home more eco-friendly is using an energy monitor. An energy monitor is a tool to help you see how much energy your home is using in real-time. These tools will help you to monitor your usage, and be able to identify any potential problem areas so you can fix them. They are relatively cheap to buy, and simple to use.
Not only are these monitors great for the environment, they can help you save some money by allowing you to better track your numbers. You will be able to check in and measure your usage anytime, to make sure you aren’t using more than you need to be.
You could even take it a step further and pair this monitor with some research from a site like energybot.com to learn about the cheapest energy rates. This could see your energy costs shrink by a wide margin, while also helping you stay eco-friendly.
Invest in Solar Panels
One of the best ways to produce renewable energy for your home to use is by investing in solar panels. These sit on the roof of your home, and turn the sunlight they collect into usable energy. You can lease these panels, or even purchase them outright. They are quickly becoming more affordable, and will pay for themselves quite quickly with how much you’ll save. You might even get some rebates or incentives depending where you live.
There are even smaller and more aesthetically pleasing options like solar shingles, which are often much easier to add to your home, as well. In addition to solar panels, there are several other types of renewable energy you could consider like wind power or hydropower.
Watch for Drafts and Leaks
A lot of the energy usage in our homes often comes down to heating or cooling costs. While using our A/C and furnace to keep our homes at a comfortable temperature is okay, many of our homes aren’t using this energy as efficiently as they could. See, if you have leaks or drafts in your home, letting air in and out, you will have to run your A/C or furnace longer to reach the desired temperature.
As a result, you should check around all of the doors and windows in your home to check if there are any leaks or drafts. Even a tiny one can have a noticeable effect. If you do indeed find any, it’s a good idea to get them fixed and patched up as soon as possible. These can be anywhere, so be sure to do a full energy audit on your home and fully inspect it. Adding insulation to your home can also help keep your home at the correct temperature.
Purchase More Efficient Appliances
Another huge energy hog in your home are the appliances you use. These include dishwasher, oven, toaster, washer dryer and a variety of others. All of these use power or energy in some way to operate. However, you can’t exactly stop using these in many cases as they are important for washing dishes, washing clothes, cooking food and so much more.
What you can do is purchase more efficient appliances. If you want to make sure the appliance you’re using is efficient, consider looking for Energy Star appliances, such as dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, These will use less energy, and thus, be better for the environment and your pocketbook. Many can even add value to your home.
In addition to kitchen and laundry appliances, consider buying a new toilet. While it might seem like an afterthought to many, your toilet uses a lot of the water in your home. Each flush is normally well over a gallon of water used, and those can add up over the weeks or months. Changing to a new or dual-flush toilet can drastically reduce how much water you use.
Utilize a Smart Thermostat
As mentioned earlier, heating and cooling your home is quite important, especially if you live in an area with extreme temperatures. However, it is incredibly common for people to forget to change the thermostat back, which can result in wasting heat or air when no one is home or when it’s not needed.
This is bad for the environment, as well as costing you more money. Instead of constantly relying on your own memory, it is a good idea to consider investing in a smart thermostat. These programmable thermostats will automatically change the temperature of your home depending on what you choose.
If you want it warm in the morning and evening, and then cool in the daytime, you can easily program the device to do the work for you. Many of these devices can even be adjusted or programmed remotely, so you can always see and change the temperature in your home.
Purchase Efficient Light Bulbs
Keeping our houses constantly lit up with lights can use a lot of power. This is especially true if you are using old and traditional incandescent bulbs. Instead, opt for some energy-efficient bulbs. They will provide just as much brightness in your home, but only use a fraction of the power.
These cost nothing more than a few dollars, and can often last more than 10 times longer than a traditional bulb. They also won’t get as hot to the touch as older bulbs, which have certainly led to thousands of burns over the years. Of course, whether you have efficient LED lights or not, be sure to turn off your lights when you leave a room. The same goes for electronics like TVs and computers. It is also a good idea to consider unplugging them when they’re not in use if possible.
Consider Making or Buying Rain Barrels
From washing dishes, to taking showers and even watering our plants, our homes often use a lot of water. Instead of running up your water bill month after month, it is a good idea to consider getting a rain barrel. Depending on where you live, there is a good chance it rains several times a month, and that is a lot of wasted water coming down.
If you attach a rain barrel to your gutters, all of that water can be saved and used for a million and one different things. Instead of using your hose to wash the car or water from the kitchen sink to water your garden, these barrels will suffice. These can help you get gallons and gallons of water, much quicker than you might think. Having these should greatly lower the amount of water you end up using every month.
Have an Eco-Friendly Kitchen
Being smarter and more environmentally-friendly in the kitchen is another great option to consider. If you don’t think about eco-friendliness while in the kitchen, you can end up creating a lot of waste. This could be wasting the heat by keeping your oven open, or simply using a lot of products or ingredients with packaging that isn’t recyclable.
Also, instead of throwing out and wasting old food scraps, consider using it as compost. Many of the leftover food that you have laying around that ends up getting tossed can be recycled and turned into compost.
Talk to Some Experts
While you have seen that there are many potential changes you can make, knowing the best way to go isn’t always easy. That is where experts like sustainability consultants come in handy. These are individuals or companies that can help people and businesses with reducing their carbon footprint.
Every home is different, and certain changes might work for someone else but not for you. These sustainability consultants will look at your home and lifestyle, and can make some recommendations on how you can become more eco-friendly.
In conclusion, the solutions in this article will be able to make your home more eco-friendly in 2020 and beyond. They are far from the only options you have, however, so get as creative as you want when it comes to making your home as green as possible.