5 Easy Ways to Make Your Home Green and Eco-friendly
The paradigm is shifting for those of us who are looking to live a permanent eco-friendly lifestyle, especially when it comes to our homes. Today, doing your part to protect the environment is more than simply being a recycling enthusiast. It extends beyond that. While separating plastic, glass, and other recyclable materials from your regular trash is a practice you should always continue to pursue, there are further steps you can take to live “green” and still be enjoying life.
- Enhance the Efficiency of Your Entryways
“Stop the leak!” is a familiar saying for anyone interested in an eco-friendly home. Sadly, inasmuch as the idea is preached, many homes are still losing their energy through windows and doors. According to This Old House, drafty windows account for 10 to 25 percent of your heating bills alone. Ironically, fixing poorly sealed windows is not all that difficult either. From applying window caulking to installing weatherstripping, homeowners can repair their windows while dressing them up with highly insulated window treatment to keep the house cooler in summer and warmer in winter.
- Invest in Energy-Saving Light Bulbs
Your traditional incandescents may look just like any energy-saving light bulb, but their performance says otherwise. As Earth Easy explains, “Electric lighting burns up to 25% of the average home energy budget.” Although an incandescent bulb may be slightly cheaper than the efficient Light Emitting Diode (LED) and Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL) bulbs, the electricity it consumes is actually 5 to 10 times more than the original purchase price of the bulb itself. Compare this with LED and CFL bulbs that typically use about 25%-80% less energy than traditional incandescents, you will know why investing in energy-saving light bulbs is an eco-friendly investment you don’t want to miss!
- Organic Cotton Bedding
The choice of your bedding can make a huge difference for the environment, but also for your health. Consider that you spend ~1/3 of your life in your bed, breathing whatever chemicals are off-gassing, and you’ll understand that the implications of your bedding choices are huge. This is because conventional cotton farming is primarily responsible for 25 percent of the pesticide in the United States, which translates to over 10 percent worldwide. Pesticide is intrusive and adverse to the environment. The chemicals are known to compromise and even destroy natural habitats and ecosystems. Organic cotton, on the other hand, is grown without synthetics, toxin, and other harmful chemical input. Homeowners can also choose to purchase organic cotton bedding with a natural dye to further reduce the amount of toxins that is being dumped into the environment.
- Fix Leaks around Faucets/Toilets
Like the leaky windows you hear so much about, leaky faucets and toilets can be a true culprit around the home. According to EPA.gov, an average household can leak over 10,000 gallons of water per year. That’s around the amount you need to wash 270 loads of laundry! The same study also finds that 10% of the homes have leaks that cost them at least 90 gallons per day. Fortunately, homeowners can immediately address the problem by hiring a plumber to stop the leak and save as much as 10% in their overall water bill. However, if you’re passionate about saving more water, EPA.gov has a list of WaterSense labeled products to help you conserve water from your showerheads to your bathroom sinks.
Related: How to check your toilets for leaks
- Upgrade to Smart Wi-Fi Thermostat
We all know that the way we set our thermostat can directly affect our cooling and heating bills. Tracking temperature change and manually adjusting the thermostat is something we don’t have time for. Smart Wi-Fi Thermostat does the monitoring for you by effectively turning on/off/down your AC or heater around your schedule. A study conducted by Nest Labs also found that smart thermostat can give homeowners 10-12% savings on heating and 15% savings on cooling. Smart thermostat also gives homeowners the convenience to track their energy use and make smart adjustments. Some are even built to integrate a smart home system that works in tandem with security systems, automated lighting and more.
About the Author: Paul Kazlov is a “green” home remodeling enthusiast and an industry pioneer for innovation in home renovation. Paul writes for the Global Home Improvement blog and strives to educate people about “green” products such as metal roofing and solar. Follow him on Twitter @PaulKazlov
Caulk photo from Shutterstock