Whether you are looking to be a conservationist, or interested in going off-grid to minimize your dependence on others, ‘going green’ may be within reach. If you are looking for ways to be more energy efficient and reduce your impact on your environment, you can start at your own front door – or rather, how you build your own front door and manage the home behind it! There are a variety of methods that you can implement either in building your home or making small changes to build up to a significant change in your energy consumption or wallet.
Heating your home
When building your home, the orientation of the house and windows can make a significant difference in a natural greenhouse effect. Taking into consideration your local weather swings when building a new home can affect your heating or cooling bill and your ecological footprint. Consider also installing geothermal to better utilize the earth’s natural temperature – less of a jump to heat in the winter or cool in the summer.
Watering your home
Living in a drought-prone area can make water a scarce resource. The Cadiz Water Project is working to provide groundwater as a new source for local families, but you can do your part by installing low-flow showerheads and toilet tanks. Use front loading washing machines and run the dishwasher with full loads to use water more efficiently. Check your faucets and pipes regularly for leaks to minimize waste. If you want indoor plants, consider ones that require minimal water.
Powering your home
Electricity is a regular expense that can fluctuate wildly. In regions with good sunlight, solar power can be a great way to reduce your energy consumption from nonrenewable resources. Panels on the roof or standing alone can provide electricity, or they can be used for heating water. Harnessing the power of the sun can be more passive as well – beyond using sunlight to light your rooms, you could also use a solar oven to heat your food.
Minimizing waste in your home
Reduce, reuse, and recycle has been the slogan of conservation for decades and is still practiced today even if you may be more likely to hear about upcycling and composting these days. Repurposing thrift store finds into furniture and storage or patching and sewing worn clothes instead of tossing them is a great way to get started. Buying foods that come in bulk may help in reducing the amount of packaging waste. Holding on to your food scraps for a compost pile, and reusing those nutrients for your garden allows for a more full-circle use of sustenance.
Making changes to your home and lifestyle doesn’t have to be done all at once. Some upgrades take considerably more time and skills to complete than others but can be part of a long-term goal to reduce personal impact and financial responsibilities. By making steady and intentional steps towards green living, you can take greater control over your use of resources and make the decision about how you want to live.