While the focus on building “greener” homes is increasing significantly each year, the majority of people who want to contribute to the environment end up not doing it because of the high up-front investment. Luckily, there’s plenty of ways to become eco-friendly that don’t involve starting from scratch. Here are five ways to make your home more green.
1. Reduce heating energy
Making your heating system more efficient is one of the best ways to reduce energy, as this is one of the most significant sources of energy consumption. During the winter months, the heat is often used much more than necessary. One way of solving this is by installing a smart meter, which can be programmed to only turn on at specific times of the day. Another way to improve energy consumption is by insulating your home. Proper insulation helps retain the heat, meaning that you don’t have to waste energy by reheating your home all the time. Low-E window coatings are yet another alternative to retain heat, which reflect interior heat into the room during the winter and reflect heat outside during the summer.
2. Get energy-efficient appliances
Look for refrigerators, washers, air conditioners, or any other appliances certified by Energy Star, which guarantees a high level of energy efficiency. If you don’t want to invest too much money, you can aim to change your regular light bulbs to compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs), as they save energy and have a much longer life span.
3. Water
“Sustainable” not only means energy efficiency, but water consumption too. The first thing you should take care of is water leaks. As basic as it is, many people are not aware of leaks throughout their homes and this can waste a significant amount of water. Another way to be smart about water consumption is by installing low-flow showerheads and ultra-high-efficiency toilets. Toilets use approximately 30% of homes’ water, so change the standard 1.6 gallons per flush toilet model to the ultra-high efficiency toilets that use only 0.8 gallons per flush. Your bank account will thank you in the long run.
Another great idea to save water – and energy – is to get wool dryer balls to dry laundry more quickly. The dryer balls will get in between the towels and clothing, separating them and allowing more hot air in and around your laundry. This way, your laundry heats faster and the evaporated water is extracted more efficiently.
4. Switch to green power
You can change your plan with your electricity provider and opt for green power, a more premium service that supports production and distribution of renewable energy technologies. It’s an extra fee, but it’ll mean clean and sustainable energy!
5. Replace Chemical cleansers and air fresheners
Strong chemicals in cleansers are very harmful to the environment because they go straight into the water supply when you wash them away. There are now plenty of organic, natural, and odor-less cleansers to choose from that work just as well as regular ones (and are environmentally friendly to boot). If you still want that citrus or lavender scent in your home, you can use an essential oil diffuser. You can also add essential oils to the previously mentioned wool dryer balls to make your laundry smell good!

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