In case you thought that to be eco-friendly, you need a huge upfront investment, you got it all wrong. In fact, it is just the opposite of that. A green lifestyle translates to frugal living, money-saving, and minimizing your carbon footprint.
Going green means making the best of the resources available to you; using them as much as possible before they end up in landfills. And, this need not necessarily mean that you have to compromise on your comforts, luxuries, and conveniences. With the know-how, planning, and commitment to the green cause, you can balance your green initiative with a comfortable lifestyle.
Moreover, the commitment to the green cause is not something that you can expect the rest of the world to follow while you live as you please. You cannot shirk responsibility towards the upkeep of the environment in which you are living. You should also pitch in with your share of effort to make sure this beautiful planet remains liveable for future generations.
When it comes to making your home more environmentally friendly, small improvements around the house can make a big difference. Here are fifteen easy sustainable living home tips to help get you started!
How to make a house eco-friendly?
Just imagine a home fully run on renewable energy like solar power! A home that captures every single raindrop that hits its roof or yard and uses the harvested rainwater to meet its water needs. Every compostable waste is turned into organic fertilizer that is used to help grow the garden.
This is not a Utopian dream. This is sustainable living.
Millions of people who have realized the importance of a sustainable lifestyle are already following it around the world. You can also embrace it and make your home greener.
Some of your activities are more harmful to the planet than others. By focusing on them and making necessary adjustments, you can reduce your carbon footprint. You would be surprised to know that you can save money in the process.
Let’s get started.
1. Change your incandescent bulbs
Lighting your home accounts for 8-10% of your energy consumption. Do you know that you can get the same lighting with 10-20% of the energy consumed with LED or CFL bulbs?
You must be wondering how less energy usage can save the environment? Most of the electricity produced on a commercial scale is from fossil fuels like coal. You may have heard that known coal deposits can last for a few more decades at this consumption rate. The less energy you use, the coal supplies can last longer. Moreover, the electricity generation process is harmful to the environment. This means, if you consume less energy, your carbon footprint will be lesser.
Another advantage is the long lifespan of LED and CFL bulbs. This means fewer bulbs turn up in landfills and less land pollution from the harmful parts of incandescent bulbs.
Incandescent bulbs waste most of the energy consumed as heat. Besides energy wastage, this also means your air conditioner has to work extra hard to bring down the temperature. On the other hand, energy wastage by LED and CFL bulbs is minimal as very less heat is generated.
2. Weatherproof your doors and windows
Whether you want to retain heat indoors in winter or maintain the cool air from the air conditioner, a point to remember is to seal all the gaps and cracks around windows and doors. Or else, it is easy to lose energy through these gaps, forcing the heater/air conditioner to work extra hard.
And this means more energy usage. The lost energy through the gaps automatically increases your utility bill as well as leaves a bigger carbon footprint.
Sealing these gaps is not hard work either. You can put weather stripping to make your home more energy-efficient. If you are a DIY kind of person and handy around the home, you can get the supplies from a hardware store and do the work yourself.
3. Fix the leaks
With use, faucets and toilet tanks are bound to develop leaks some time or the other. It will start small so that you may not even notice. If ignored, it will turn into more visible leaks. The problem with leaking faucets and tanks is that usable water gets wasted continuously. If you care to measure the leaking water, you would be astounded at the quantity of the wasted water.
Some studies estimate about 10% of homes have unattended leaks and on average, 90-100 gallons of water get wasted every day. The sad part about leaked water is that it is not even being used.
Plugging this leak is a vital step in making your home greener. You can either repair the leaks as and when you notice them. Or else, you can periodically check the plumbing or get it checked by a plumber to detect the leaks and get it rectified. Another simple tactic is to watch the water consumption in your water bill. An unusual increase in consumption most probably means that there is a leak somewhere in the plumbing system.
4. Segregate waste
Depending on where you are living and the waste collection arrangements in your area, sort and collect your waste in the correct bins and keep them ready for pickup. When you put compostable and recyclable waste in the wrong bin, you are rendering them useless.
Come up with an arrangement at home so that no recyclable or compostable waste gets wasted. If you have the initiative, you can compost your own waste at home. Home composters are available for as little as $100. Make sure that they come with secure lids to keep flies and insects away.
5. Harvest rainwater
Rainwater harvesting setup is typically elaborate and requires much work and investment. If you have the resources for this, go right ahead and get it done. This is one of the best things you can do to make your home greener.
In case you are not in a position to harvest rainwater on such a large scale, you can still collect rainwater using barrels or even smaller containers. Rooftop gets the maximum rain. If you already have drains to collect this rainwater, you can just place a collection barrel where the water drains.
You can also leave big or small containers in the yard, balcony, or window sill to collect rainwater. You can use this to water the plants, instead of allowing the rainwater to run off, get mixed with waste and dirt, and flow into waterways.
6. Insulate the roof/attic
Energy used to heat or cool indoors can escape easily through the roof. If your home comes with an attic, it will act as an energy guzzler. When energy gets wasted through the roof/attic, more energy is drawn from the grid to maintain the temperature indoors. This means higher utility bills and wasted fossil fuels for energy production.
Depending on the kind of home you live in, you should choose the insulation for your roof or attic. This is best done when you build the home. If you are doing this at a later date, get professional help to ensure good results.
7. Go solar
Installing solar panels at home is not just about reducing your utility bills. It also helps in reducing your carbon footprint. Renewable, clean, green, and non-polluting, solar power also helps in reducing your dependence on fossil fuels for energy needs.
Though solar energy systems require a high upfront investment, this can be recovered in a short period as their running cost is minimal. Moreover, you can make use of the slew of incentives available to homeowners and businesses for solar installation to recover some of the expenses.
If the high initial investment cost is preventing you from going solar, you can choose to lease them. Whichever way you choose to finance your solar system, your monthly spending will come down with the utility bills shrinking.
8. Install water-saving fixtures
The amount of water flowing out from a faucet or showerhead decides its water-saving feature. In case your home is fitted with regular plumbing fixtures that use more water, you can get them changed to low-flow water-saving ones.
Having low-flow faucets and showerheads not only saves on your water bills but can also cut down your energy use if you are pumping water to overhead tanks. Using less water also helps you save energy for filtration, disinfection, purification, and pumping at the pumping station. In case you are heating water, you can save on energy there as well.
Toilet tanks are also big water guzzlers. Choosing one that uses less water can help you reduce your overall water usage.
9. Replace old appliances with energy-efficient ones
This doesn’t mean you throw away recently-bought devices. When your home appliances have broken down or are ready for replacement, you can choose an energy-efficient one. The same rule applies to water efficiency as well.
Advancements in technology have made the latest appliances more energy and water-efficient. This is true for washing machines, refrigerators, dishwashers, dryers, and water heaters. Check the Energy Star rating to understand how energy-efficient they are before buying.
There are no such ratings available to measure water efficiency, though you can always check the product description for more information.
10. Replace old water heaters
Old storage water heaters heat large quantities of water and are low on efficiency. Their insulation is not good, making it easy for the heat to escape. When it is time to change the water heater, choose one with smaller capacity, better insulation, and energy efficiency.
You can also opt for tankless water heaters that heat water instantly and only when needed. Or else you can choose a solar water heater that can reduce your grid energy consumption and utility bill substantially. Gas water heaters are another option but their shorter lifespan makes them less green.
Some more green tips for home
- Grow a garden. If a kitchen garden is not your forte, you can try your hand at show plants. Every single plant you grow can help with the environmental cause.
- Stop using single-use plastic. Be it for shopping bags, drinking straws, disposable cutlery, or water bottles, find ways to use reusable substitutes.
- Use a bike or public transport. Reduce your trips outside by planning and clubbing errands. Avoid taking out your private vehicle as much as possible to reduce your consumption of petrol/diesel.
- Minimize your paper use. Now, it is easier to go paperless in most situations. Read news online instead of getting the print version. If at all a document needs to be printed, print on both sides. Instead of regular toilet paper, you can choose an eco-friendly one, like recycled or bamboo toilet paper. Collect all used paper and ensure they are recycled.
- Buy local. The e-commerce sites have made it easier for us to order and buy things from anywhere in the world. However, this comes at a cost. Every mile your package travels adds to its carbon footprint. Instead, look for local substitutes.
- Use solar-powered security cameras. Are you looking for a way to make your home greener? If so, consider installing wireless solar security cameras. These cameras are powered by the sun, so they don’t require any electricity to operate. Plus, they can help you keep your home safe and secure. Check out this guide to learn more about some of the best wireless solar-powered security cameras on the market today and how they can benefit you and your home.
You can make your home greener and save money at the same time! By following these 15 green living tips, you’ll be on track to a greener lifestyle without sacrificing comfort or convenience. Even when you travel, you can continue your green agenda by opting for Green Key certified accommodations.
You can choose to live sustainably by opting for at least some of the above tips. You may start with the easiest ones to adopt and incorporate the rest one-by-one at a later date. Do remember that any positive step to make your home greener will cut down your environmental impact and carbon footprint.
When it comes down to it, what’s better than being eco-friendly? And saving money in the process too! So come along for this journey towards a cleaner and greener life.
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