Jeff Flowers on January 10, 2018 0 Comments How to Create an Eco-Friendly Home Doing your part to protect the environment doesn’t have to be difficult. Making every effort to conserve energy and preserve the environment just makes sense. You don’t need extra time or money to look after the planet – there are plenty of small, simple ways that you can help, starting with your own household. Here are some of the easiest, and most effective, ways to make your home more eco-friendly. 1) Invest in Energy-Efficient Appliances Every year, we spend thousands of dollars on energy to power our homes. According to the latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (PDF), the average electricity bill for American homes was $112.59 per month. And, this is just for electricity, once you start to add in natural gas and other transportation costs, the amount you spend per year really starts to add up. One of the easiest ways to cut your overall energy use, is to start using energy-efficient appliances in your home. Look for the EnergyStar logo whenever you’re buying a new appliance for your home. Appliances that feature the EnergyStar certification logo have been tested, rated and certified to use less energy. These are types of appliances that are designed to use the minimum amount of energy needed to complete a task – whether that’s through using renewable energy (think water or solar power), or the smallest amount of energy possible. So, if it’s time to update any of your appliances, why not select a product that meets a high level of energy efficiency? You can either buy EnergyStar-rated appliances (doing this alone can save up to 30% on electricity bills) or simply replace old appliances with more efficient models. 2) Opt for a Programmable Thermostat Ideally, you should be turning off the heat and AC when you’re not at home, but this small action can sometimes be easy to forget. Enter the programmable thermostat! This type of thermostat helps to regulate your home’s temperature according to settings that you create ahead of time. There are many benefits to using a programmable thermostat, but the two most notable reasons is that they can help you cut your energy use and save you money. A win-win for everyone. 3) Fix Leaks As Soon As Possible Leaking toilets and faucets may seem like a non-issue, but the truth is, even the smallest leak can waste a ton of water. Pay attention to any dripping noises that you may hear around your home, and also be sure to check out your water bill – unexpected increases in your monthly water statement are often caused by everyday leaks. On top of this, if there’s a water leak of any kind, it can lead to other issues within your home, ranging from too much humidity in the air, to the possibility of widespread water damage. Bottom line: if you notice a leak in your home, turn off the water and call a plumber immediately to fix it before gallons of water are wasted. 4) Give Solar Energy A Try Residential solar power is becoming more and more ubiquitous every year. Solar panels are an easy and excellent way to make your home greener – you can either buy panels or lease them. In most cases, even the lease payment is less than a typical electricity bill – plus, you won’t have an electricity bill if you use solar power to fuel your home. 5) Switch to CFL or LED Lights A relatively cheap and easy way to reduce your environmental footprint is to switch to CFL or LED lights. On average, the EIA reports that home lighting accounts for 9% of monthly residential electricity consumption. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) not only cost less to use, but they both have a longer lifespan than most traditional bulbs (typically, both CFLs and LEDs last longer 10-25 times longer than incandescent bulbs!), which can greatly help in the fight to conserve energy. Plus, LED and CFL lights produce less heat, which helps give your air conditioner a break during the summer. 6) Recycle and Compost If you’re not recycling and composting yet, now’s the time to do so! Recycling waste is incredibly easy to do, considering that most cities now pick and up process recyclables. But, make it even easier on yourself by placing a recycle bin in your kitchen and even in various other parts of your room. In addition, composting has come a long way in the last few years – regardless of whether you live in an apartment or a house, there are plenty of different backyard or in-house bins available. Considering how harmful food waste is for the environment, composting is an excellent way to cut your carbon footprint and keep your home as green as possible. 7) Go Paperless With Online Statements (& Just Say No to Junk Mail!) Paper mailings are a HUGE waste in this day and age. Keep in mind that most utility providers and cable companies do offer the option to receive online statements. Simply login to the company’s website or get in touch with a provider to change your preferences for receiving statements. In addition, it’s crucial to be conscious of opting out of all the various credit card and insurance offers that inevitably come your way. This way, you can do your part to help reduce the number of trees that need to be cut down, as well as the amount of plane and car exhaust associated with delivering mail. 8) Collect & Use Rainwater Collecting rainwater doesn’t have to be difficult! Consider for a moment, that just one night of rain can dump over 200 gallons of water on the roof of your home. In turn, the majority of this water simply runs down into the street and into the sewer systems. Why not try to collect some of this? Rainwater collection is hugely beneficial for the planet. Instead of using a sprinkler, you can use this (free) water in your garden or lawn. This will not only help you cut the amount of water you use every month, but it’ll also save you a ton of money. Start by investing in just one rainwater barrel. You’ll quickly see how easy it is, and you’ll want to expand from there. 9) Or, Just Reduce Your Water Use Altogether Aside from reducing water for simple landscaping tasks outside, also consider how you can reduce your overall water use inside, too. One easy way to reduce your water use, is to upgrade to a low-flow faucet and shower heads in your home. Older shower heads release roughly five gallons of water per minute, which can add up very quickly – particularly if you have multiple people in your household. Low-flow shower heads and faucets can greatly help to reduce water usage, as well as save a bunch of energy. There are easily dozens of ways you can cut water use in your home, but here are just four simple water reduction methods to start with: Washing your clothes in cold water. Start air-drying your clothing. Turn off water when brushing your teeth. Use native plants and vegetation in your yard (these generally require much less water and fertilizers). 10) Stop Buying Paper Towels Instead of buying paper towels every week (which can add up to be a huge waste!), buy a couple packs of reusable microfiber towels to use for cleaning purposes, and invest in cloth napkins for mealtimes. You could even cut up old t-shirts and use these as cloths. Then, simply toss these towels into the washer when you have a full load. Simple, and super-efficient! What are some of the ways that you keep a green home? Tell us your secrets in the comments!