It’s still not too late to make a New Year’s resolution. Now is the time to make your home more ecologically friendly. Here is a list of actions you can take to start changing the environment for the better.
1. Invest in Solar
Solar is a great way to make your home more sustainable. With efficient use of solar panels, your house can go from an energy importer to an exporter.
2. Increase your HVAC efficiency
You can increase your HVAC efficiency in several ways. You can replace your old system with a more efficient one, you can replace or repair your ducts, or you can install heat pumps. Not only will your system be more efficient, but according to Ygrene installing new energy efficient HVAC systems can save you 20% of your cooling costs.
3. Replace your lightbulbs
A simple change from incandescent light to LED lighting can cut as much as 5% of your electricity bill. LEDs are not only more efficient, but they last much longer reducing waste
4. Make your utilities more efficient
Upgrade old appliances with new Energy Star compliant ones. An Energy Star certified appliance is on average 20% more efficient than a non-certified one. They are a good way to save energy and reduce your utilities at the same time and can pay for themselves after a few years.
5. Use ecological landscaping
According to the Ecological Landscaping Alliance, “Ecological Landscaping is a method of designing, building, and maintaining landscapes that consider the ecology of a site and create gardens that enhance the surrounding environment for the benefit of humans and all other life in the ecosystem”. Ways to create an ecologically friendly landscape include:
- Promoting biodiversity
- Choosing Native Plants
- Reducing water consumption
- Reducing chemical treatment
By getting rid of your lawn and replacing it with a diverse group of local plants you will be helping the environment, and helping endangered animals and insects in your area.
6. Install Low Flow Toilets
Replace the toilets in your house with low-flow models. This can save up to 60% of the water a flush which will cut the biggest use of water in a household.
7. Lower your thermostat
Turn down the thermostat in your house by a couple of degrees. It can make a surprising difference in your heating bill. Consider installing a smart thermostat that has the convenience of being programmable and the ability to be remotely controlled.
8. Decrease your electricity usage
Unplug your smaller appliances like microwaves or toasters if they aren’t being used. Turn off your computer instead of putting it in sleep mode.
9. Start Composting
Instead of throwing away your scraps in the trash or disposing of them in your garbage disposal, start a compost bin instead. Use the compost in the soil of your new eco-friendly lawn.
10. Drink from the tap
Quit drinking water or other beverages out of plastic bottles. Instead, drink it out of the tap if possible. There are many filtration systems on the market today that make tap water safe to drink.
Focus on recycling whatever you can. Some commonly forgotten recycling problems are that you can’t recycle bottles or plastic with food residue on them, they’ll need to be rinsed. Also, Pizza boxes can’t be recycled without cutting away the oil.
12. Reduce your usage of sources of VOCs
VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) are created by several products including paint, aerosol sprays, air fresheners, fuel, dry-cleaned clothing, and pesticides. Cut back on their usage, by using VOC-free paint and other household products and reduce tobacco consumption.
13. Weatherproof your windows
Use removable caulk, foam, plastic wrap, or thermal blinds and help seal your windows from the weather. Invest in high-efficiency double-paned glass.
14. Grow your own veggies
Grow your own veggies in your garden. Remember to only use eco-friendly pesticides and fertilizer.
15. Use reusable bags
Quit using plastic bags and only shop with reusable ones.
16. Use bamboo toothbrushes
Plastic toothbrushes aren’t biodegradable. Switch instead to bamboo which can break down and they have the extra effect of being antimicrobial.
Hopefully one or more of these tips inspired you to make a small or big change in your household, and these aren’t the only ways to help. There are countless ways to help the environment, you just need to start.