You don’t have to be some hippie who only shops at Whole Foods to understand the benefits of going green in your day to day life. All of us end up wasting far more resources than we truly need. By limiting the amount of resources we use in our home and our day-to-day lives, we can both help limit carbon emissions, promote a greener world, and save money all at the same time.
Here are a few tips for how you help greenify your home, along with notes for how easy or difficult they may be.
1. Fix Household Leaks
As the EPA notes, more than 1 trillion gallons of water are wasted nationwide every year, enough to provide water to 11 million households. But with so many pipes in your house, it can be difficult to detect when there is a leak in your home.
So what do you do if you notice a leak? You may need to call a plumber, but sometimes you can do it yourself just by tightening a showerhead or replacing the toilet flapper. If you want to try a more extensive repair yourself, do take care to turn off the water line first. There are far too many stories out there of self-professed “experts” who end up destroying their own homes with a plumbing job gone wrong.
2. Get a Native Lawn
Do you have a grass lawn outside just like all of your neighbors? Generic grass lawns can cost a huge amount both in terms of water as well as the fertilizers and chemicals needed to take care of it. A homeowner will spend 10 times as many fertilizers and pesticides per acre as a farmer does for his crops.
Part of the reason we use so many chemicals is because we try to put grass lawns in places where they have no sense being, especially in drier states like Texas or California. This is especially shameful because every area of America has their own natural wildlife which is beautiful in its own right. Natural wildlife has adapted to the local conditions over thousands if not millions of years, meaning that they only use as much water as they need and are not dependent on fertilizers.
Check out your local nursery, which should have native plants which have adapted to the climate. They can help give you pointers on how to get rid of your normal grass lawn and replace it with something more natural.
3. Get off of Junk Mail lists
You get home after a long day at work, only to find a dozen envelopes crammed with junk mail inside your house when you enter. But junk mail is not only annoying. More than 100 million trees are destroyed every year to produce junk mail which no one even opens.
While you should obviously try to recycle your junk mail when you get it, the best thing to do is cut the mail off at the source and not get it at all. The FTC has a list of organizations you can contact to put yourself both on a “do not mail” and “do not call.”
4. Install Solar Panels
Needless to say, this option is not for everyone. Installing a solar power can represent an upfront cost from $15,000 to $29,000 and they may not be the best investment if you live in a cloudy area. However, there are tax credits and rebates which can help lessen the cost and a solar panel can save you money over years to decades thanks to almost non-existent energy bills.
Installing solar panels on your home roof is obviously a professional’s job, and you need to take the time to find a contractor whom you can trust. Inspect any contractor, ask for professional references, and go over the contract and warranty they offer in detail. Installing a solar panel is not like buying a computer. It’s something which will be part of your life for decades, so make absolutely sure that there are no surprises.
5. Install CFL lights
This is the simplest, yet arguably the most important way to greenify your home. Lighting and using incandescent bulbs are one of the biggest ways in which we end up using too much electricity and resources. A CFL bulb uses one-fourth as much electricity as an incandescent bulb. And while some individuals may complain that a CFL bulb’s light is not bright enough, that is actually an argument in favor of CFL bulbs. This is because you can purchase a CFL bulb with a larger wattage that will still use less energy than a regular bulb, while a larger incandescent bulb can be dangerous depending on your lamp.
You can find CFL bulbs at pretty much anywhere which sells light bulbs these days, so there is no excuse not to own one anymore. Just put it in your lamp and feel satisfied on helping to make a greener, less resource intensive home.
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