Open the door to the cabinet underneath your kitchen sink. How many different types of cleaning solutions and products are there? Finding ways to make our homes greener such as using fewer products containing toxins and reducing the amount of stuff we buy helps the environment and boosts our health and sense of well-being. Even the smallest change can have a big impact. Making your home greener in 2019 might be easier than you think.
Be Smart about the Energy You Use
While we like to be toasty warm, turn the heat down during the day when family members are not in the house or are busy doing activities like chores, playing, etc. Remember to lower the thermostat when going away for the weekend, on holidays, or on a business trip.
Replace a standard thermostat with a smart one. Smart thermostats allow you to see your household’s energy consumption and let you control the temperature remotely. If a smart thermostat is too tekkie for you or it’s just not in the budget at this time, switch to a programmable thermostat.
If they’re still hanging around, swap incandescent bulbs for LED lighting options.
Properly maintain appliances such as the dishwasher, dryer, washing machine, and furnace – change filters, make repairs, etc. When they are not running optimally they typically use more energy. Unplug appliances when not in use.
Be Smart about the Water You Use
Little things like turning the water off when brushing teeth or shaving, taking shorter showers, taking fewer baths, and not flushing unnecessarily can conserve noticeable liters of water per week.
Install a low-flow toilet, a water saving shower head, or shower timer. Fix dripping taps and check toilets and pipes regularly for leaks.
Always run the dishwasher and washing machine on full loads.
Earth-Friendly Kitchen Habits
If there’s ever a place to limit toxins and reduce waste, it’s in the kitchen. Swap paper towels for rags (old tee-shirts, pillowcases, etc.), reusable cleaning pads or washable microfibers cloths.
Waste less food by planning meals for the upcoming week and shop only for those items that you will need. Find creative ways to use leftovers. It might be “just shopping” or “just food” but it’s like small ripples in a pond – purchasing less food means you’ll help reduces emissions from food production, the manufacturing of packaging, and transportation to and from the grocery store.
It seems that everything these days is wrapped in plastic. But there are stores that support and encourage zero waste. If that’s not an option where you live, taking along your own recyclable containers and reusable bags will help reduce the number of containers and plastic shopping bags you bring home.
Switch to homemade cleaning solutions. Or cut down on the number of cleaning products you buy; often you only need an all-purpose cleaner for most of your cleaning chores.
Buying Less Stuff
More consumers are reevaluating their buying habits and materialistic needs in the context of the environment, sustainability, and their home’s carbon footprint. While it’s tempting to keep up with the latest technology and trends, if your current computer, electronic device, appliance, or car or are still in good working condition, save the upgrade for when you really need to replace a certain item.
Don’t let Heat Out
When your house feels cold or certain areas are drafty regardless of the temperature, cold air is coming in and hot air can escape. Especially if it’s older than ten years, make your home more energy efficient by insulating the basement, inside exterior walls, and the attic.
Weather strip around windows and doors that leak air; it can reduce your energy bill from 10% to 25%. If weatherizing doesn’t make much of an impact, plan on replacing entry doors and old, single pane windows with energy-efficient models.