Big Ways To Go Green At Home And Live A More Sustainable Life

As we face a growing concern over global warming and the need to limit our energy usage, many families are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint. From the obvious to the innovative, there are literally hundreds of ways to go green and make your home more sustainable over the long term. If you’re having trouble knowing where to start, here are a few recommendations that you might not have considered.

Ditch the Post Office

Let’s face it. The holidays are the only times we really need to depend on old snail mail. In today’s digital age, nearly all of your bills can be received paperless. While most utility and financial organizations will let you know of the option, ask the billing department in cases where you’re unsure. Some businesses will even offer you a discount for switching to paper-free billing.

Additionally, get your name taken off as many mailing lists as possible. First, the junk mail is just a waste of paper and, if you’re honest, you don’t even look through most of it. Secondly, there’s probably not anything you receive that you can’t find online. Look at the most recent shopping flyer you received. It probably has the company’s website listed someplace. Just save the site address in your bookmarks and put an end to the waste of paper.

Watch Out for VOC in Your Purchases

VOC stands for volatile organic compounds and these are the substances that give off that chemical odor from new carpets, furniture, paint, and building materials. The odor is caused by the evaporation of the chemicals used in the manufacturing process. While some people like the smell and refer to it as a “new” smell, it can actually be damaging to the eyes, respiratory system, and central nervous system. VOC products contribute to indoor air pollution, making it 5-10% higher than outdoor air pollution. The Environmental Protection Agency has tested products containing VOC chemicals and found that they can make air pollution content as much as 100 times greater than outdoor air pollution. When shopping for these types of products, watch for labels that guarantee the product is VOC free. They may be a little more expensive, but they won’t put your health at risk.

It’s Time to Replace Your Incandescent Light Bulbs

In most households, lighting comprises 12% of the home’s energy consumption, so looking for ways to reduce this expense is an important factor in going green. Incandescent light bulbs should be replaced with LED and CFL bulbs, which can save as much as 75% on your energy usage. In addition to using less energy, compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) and light emitting diode (LED) bulbs last longer. They will typically outlast incandescent bulbs by 10 to 25 years.

Use Organic Cotton Bedding and Linen

Therapists often speak about quality sleep which is essential for healthy living. Standard linen used in your bedding hampers this by triggering allergic reactions such as itchy eyes, headaches and fatigue. Swapping your conventional sheets for organic linen is one of the quickest ways to reduce your exposure to toxins. Choosing organic bedding is a right way to incorporate a greater environmental awareness into your everyday life.

Invest in a Composting Bin

A large portion of the trash produced in homes comes from food scraps and leftovers. The simplest way to get rid of these unwanted scraps is to throw them in the trash. However, that means they’ll take up valuable landfill space, where they will serve no purpose. Instead, invest in a composting bin, so you can turn those food scraps into fertilizer. A typical composting bin runs between $100 and $600. It may be worthwhile to invest in a higher end model with a removable bottom hatch for removing the fertilizer and a secure top lid to prevent pests from creating a problem.

Collect Rainwater

Water is our most valuable resource and we’re only now beginning to realize that our supply of freshwater is limited and diminishing. To save on water consumption, collect the rainwater that falls on your roof and in your yard. Otherwise, much of that water will end up flowing into the street, collect contaminants, travel through the sewer system and end up released into the area’s natural bodies of water. Set up barrels to collect the rainwater that falls on your roof. This may involve hiring someone to clip and alter your gutters, so they can be redirected to the barrels. The savings on water will pay for that expense. Rainwater can be used for gardening and watering houseplants.

Reuse Containers and Supplies

The internet is filled with nifty ideas for reusing everything from old containers to unused crafting scraps. In addition to reducing waste, this can help you explore your creativity, make better use of what you have, and create some truly unique homemade gifts for your loved ones. How challenging you get us up to you, but many projects don’t require more than some glue, thread, and basic tools. The best way to be sustainable is to reduce your waste as much as possible and crafting is a great way to do that.

Upgrade Your Appliances

This includes everything from your refrigerator to your air conditioning system. As for household appliances, look for the Energy Star rating and compare energy usage for different brands of the same items. Additionally, have a professional evaluate your heating and air conditioning units to make sure they’re as efficient as possible. If it’s an older home, updating the system may provide significant savings on your monthly energy usage.

Smart Home Tech is an Invaluable Resource

Smart home technology is helping people reduce their energy usage in big ways. Many systems allow homeowners to control door locks, heating and A/C, and lights remotely from their mobile devices. This means costly energy usage can be eliminated, when no one is at home. Similarly, the devices can be programmed to turn back home, just before the first occupant is expected to return. By getting a better control on your utilities, you can manage your energy usage more efficiently, which also helps to reduce spending on your monthly budget.

These are but a few ways that you can live greener at home. While reducing energy consumption plays a big part in being more sustainable, it’s not the only way to do your part to protect the environment. If you’re looking for more things you can do, search the internet or consult your local utility companies. There are options for financing your home improvement where you can take help. They may have inexpensive changes you can make to reduce your household’s carbon footprint.

Incredible Planet Staff

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