Not all methods for reducing your carbon footprint in the home have to require huge amounts of time, money, and effort. These simple ideas for having a greener home are easy, cheap and even fun. With just a few simple adjustments, you can turn your house from one that wastes energy into one that saves it. One light bulb at a time!
Though it is impossible for one person to save our precious earth, if each citizen of this planet does their part, we can leave a better home for our grandchildren to inherit.
1. Turn off the lights:
It seems simple, when you’re not in a room, flick the switch and turn off the lights to save energy and the hassle of replacing used bulbs. You can even install automatic sensors for the forgetful family.
2. Keep window treatments closed in summer:
This is especially important on the sunniest side of your home. Keep blinds or drapes closed to reduce cooling costs.
3. Open the blinds during the day in the winter:
Simply allowing the light to come in and warm and brighten your home can save up to 10% of the energy used to heat living areas.
4. Replace light bulbs:
Ditch those old lights and replace all the bulbs in your home with Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFL). It is well worth the effort, as this act saves 66% of the energy used for lighting. Plus they last 10 times as long as traditional bulbs. 1 CFL blub will save 400 lbs of greenhouse gas emissions when replacing a single incandescent bulb
5. Go solar:
Harnessing the power of the sun for your home with even one solar panel can significantly cut down your energy use.
6. Grow houseplants:
Houseplants not only clean the air, but they also improve the mood in a room and liven up any decor. Try purchasing spider plants, peace lilies, or bamboo palms for optimal air cleansing.
7. Switch to eco-friendly paint:
Noxious gases produced by paints containing volatile organic compounds (VOC) can be extremely harmful to health and greatly reduce the air quality in your home.
8. Switch to non-toxic cleaners:
Try baking soda or vinegar to limit air pollution from harsh cleaning chemicals.
9. Switch to microfiber cleaning cloths:
One way to limit cleaners all together is to purchase reusable cleaning cloths that attract dirt and bacteria without the need for added cleaning agents. Wash and reuse over and over again!
10. Outlaw smoking inside the home:
Smoking is one of the greatest detriments to the health of any individual, but it doesn’t just affect the smoker. Secondhand smoke causes more than 7,300 lung cancer deaths each year across the U.S. Outlawing smoking is the number one way to prevent air pollution in the home.
11. Freshen home with essential oil diffuser:
Switch from harsh aerosol fragrances to essential oils or other non-toxic scents. See what kind of diffuser is best for you home here.
12. Opening windows:
Opening windows with screens can allow in fresh air and reduce chances of mold growing in the home.
13. Search for alternative methods of pest control:
While exterminators may be effective, using pesticides and insect repellents in the home leads to numerous health issues. Limit pest activity by keeping eating areas clean of food and sealing cracks where bugs may creep in.
14. Place rugs on wooden floors:
Insulating bare hardwood floors with a soft rug can greatly save 4-6% of energy previously expended to heat your home.
15. Install a programmable thermostat:
The temperature in the home is often set and forgotten about. Limit extra energy expenditure by programming your thermostat to turn down the temperature at night.
16. Wear a sweater:
Snuggle up in your coziest clothes and place a plethora of throw blankets around your home to reduce heat by a few degrees.
17. Insulate your home against leaks:
Plug holes where warm air may be escaping with insulation, caulk, or other fillers. Focus primarily on the cracks under doors and around windows.
18. Invest in attic insulation:
If you have an attic, you may want to consider investing in attic insulation. This can prevent hot and cool air from escaping and substantially cut down on your energy expenditure.
19. Shop for energy-efficient appliances:
Dishwasher and washing machines can be a tremendous waste of precious water resources when they are outdated and inefficient. Upgrade to energy star appliances and save 50% more water.
20. Use appliances efficiently:
Wait until you have a full dishwasher or laundry load to start a cycle.
21. Fix water leaks in your home:
About 48 gallons of water is lost in a 24 hour period from one leaky faucet. Inspect your home for any water leaks and take preventative measures by replacing washers on the head of faucets often. Also, make sure to check toilets for persistent leaks.
22. Install a water-efficient toilet:
Since flushing the toilet accounts for 30% of water waste in the home, a low-flow toilet is a good investment for water conservation.
23. Turn off the water when brushing teeth:
Simply turn the water on to rinse.
24. Install low-flow showerheads:
Showering accounts for nearly 17% of daily water usage in the home, which is almost 40 gallons of water per day! Switch old showerheads for new low-flow options to halve the water wasted from the shower.
25. Avoid taking baths:
Take a shower instead of a bath and cut down on water usage by 14%.
26. Limit shower time:
While the occasional 30 min shower is lovely, it should be treated as a luxury. Try to keep showers to 10 minutes.
27. Shave smart:
Rinse your razor with a cup of water rather than excessively running the faucet.
28. Collect greywater:
Water that has been used in sinks, tubs, or washing machines can be used to water your yard or garden. Research ways you can collect and reuse old water.
29. Collect rainwater:
Install a rain barrel under your homes gutter outpour to collect rainwater for your houseplants and garden.
30. Plant a low-water garden:
Thousands of gallons of water are expended each year on lush green gardens in environments that don’t receive much rain. If you live in an area prone to drought, grow a garden with native plants that thrive on low-water.
31. Unplug appliances:
Even appliances not in use can suck up energy and raise your power bill. Unplug appliances such as your TV, microwave, and computer during the day when no one’s home or before any out-of-town trips.
32. Invest in a tankless water heater:
Rather than heating water unnecessarily with an old water heater that continually uses electricity, invest in a tankless water heater that heats water on demand and only uses energy when hot water is turned on.
33. Turn down the water heater:
Turn your water heater down just 5 degrees and insulate it and the energy saved will astonish you!
34. Banish that extra freezer:
Having a secondary freezer just doubles the energy used for food storage. Plus, most chest freezers are largely inefficient and suck electricity. Host a dinner party and use up your overflow food. Then ditch that hulking freezer for good.
35. Move fridge into the shade:
Keeping your fridge in the sun will cause it to work harder to keep your food fresh. Move it into a shady spot or install window coverings to reduce sunlight.
36. Stop staring into the fridge:
Opening the refrigerator door while pondering food options is a fantastic way to release all the cool air your fridge has generated. Decide what you want to eat before opening the refrigerator.
37. Turn air-conditioning off when not needed:
Leaving the air conditioning cranked up during the warm summer months can be detrimental to your electricity bill. Turn it down or off when you are away from home. A programmable thermostat can also be beneficial in helping you remember this energy saving tip.
38. Switch to energy efficient cookware:
Though it may never have occurred to you, many dishes require higher temperatures to cook food properly. Use ceramic, glass or silicone dishes instead as they are much more energy efficient.
39. Use the microwave instead of the oven:
The microwave uses a fraction of the energy of heating up the entire oven. Plus, it doesn’t heat up your home and requires extra cooling efforts.
40. Switch to cold water for washing clothes:
Washing clothes in cold water can save 85-90% of energy costs used to heat water during a wash cycle.
41. Invest in power strips:
Having all of your energy-sucking appliances connected to a power strip makes it hassle-free to flick a switch and eliminate those wasteful kilowatts.
42. Avoid opening the oven door during cooking:
Though the urge to check on your delicious creation may be strong, avoid opening the oven door unnecessarily. This releases heat and requires your over to work overtime to restore the internal temperature.
43. Utilize ceiling fans:
Ceiling fans allow you to reduce the temperature on the thermostat by about 4 degrees Fahrenheit without changing the air temperature in the room overall.
44. Line dry laundry:
Take a few moments to string up a clothesline and air dry laundry rather than running the dryer.
45. Reusable water bottle:
It is estimated that over 38 billion water bottles end up in landfills each year. Make an effort to reduce your waste and recycle plastic. Or better yet, install a water filter in your home and invest in a reusable water bottle.
46. Grow an organic garden:
Even if you don’t have space for a massive vegetable garden, you can at least plant a pot of lettuce or strawberries. This can not only make your home greener but can cut down on food costs as well.
47. Buy wool sheets:
If you have the choice between wool and polyester, choose wool sheets as they are more eco-friendly.
48. Don’t buy single use plastic wrap:
Whilst plastic wrap has been around for generations and is very useful at preserving leftovers, once used it ends up in our overflowing landfills and can take hundreds of years to decompose. Choose eco-friendly alternatives like bees-wrap and glass containers to keep your food fresher for longer.
49. Avoid plastic grocery bags:
Switching to reusable grocery bags is an insanely easy fix to a massive waste problem.
50. Shop thrifty:
Check out your local thrift stores for furniture that suits your taste rather than buying new.
51. Repurpose old furniture:
Rather than immediately buying new when the old no longer matches your style, try upcycling by giving it a fresh coat of paint or turning it into an artistic creation.
52. Make coffee at home:
Rather than taking a trip to the coffee shop every morning, invest in a good coffee maker and some organic fair-trade coffee. This reduces waste from plastic coffee cups and saves time, money, and gas. Seems like a no-brainer!
53. Limit paper waste:
Avoid printing anything unnecessary and try switching to online pay for bills. Use washable rags instead of paper towels for household cleaning.
54. Compost kitchen waste:
Over half of the trash produced in the home is composed of food waste. Invest in a compost bin to make this waste useful for you by being turned into fertilizer for your yard or garden. Research the best compost bin to purchase and learn what can be composted for later use.
Other methods for a greener home
55. Make a no-shoes policy:
On any given day, your shoes collect a myriad of nasty bacteria from elements such as fertilizer, oil, and various allergens. These components are then tracked into your home and can often go airborne. Taking off shoes at the door can significantly limit the number of toxins and pollutants that make their way indoors.
56. Dispose of toxic waste safely
Check under your sink and in your garage for toxic chemicals such as paints, stains, weed killers or old motor oil. Rather than throwing this away where it can pollute the ground in a landfill, research ways to dispose of it properly. Check with your local government for more information.
57. Purchase a new mattress:
Purchase a mattress that has not been treated with toxic chemicals as many are full of harmful synthetic materials.
58. Choose bamboo:
If you are picking a new flooring for your home, go with bamboo instead of hardwood. Since bamboo is the fastest growing plant, it is better for sustainability than slow-growing wood options.
There you have it, 57 super simple ways to dramatically reduce your homes energy use. Not only will these changes make your life greener, implement these methods and watch your electricity and water bills drop.