The term "eco-friendly" has become a buzzword across the web, but it's more than just a popular topic for conversation; living an environmentally friendly lifestyle can benefit your home and family in a variety of different ways.
Whether you hope to lower your energy bills or help support the planet, here are some simple tips and tricks you can use to transform your home in the new year.
1. Keep it clean
Did you know the air in your home is likely more polluted than the air outside? This is, in part, because of the cleaning products we use to freshen our household. Many of these products contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These are bad for our health, but they can be worse for sensitive pets and the surrounding environment. When you dump these chemicals down the drain, they can also pollute our waterways.
One way to mitigate the effects of strong cleaning products is to create your own. For example, vinegar and water is a healthy mixture that kills bacteria and pests without releasing harmful VOCs. Hydrogen peroxide is a great component in tile scrubs, laundry, and more. Try your hand at creating your own by searching for some recipes online.
If you're not the crafty type, don't worry; there are a bunch of environmentally friendly cleaners available at your local supermarket. Though they may not be as friendly as creating these products yourself but, the store-brand spray is often made with the environment in mind.
2. Cut down on electronics
Don't worry, we're not asking you to ditch your cell phone just yet. If you want to lower your energy bills and create an eco-friendly home, limiting electric use in the home is a great first step.
Try to rely on natural lighting as often as possible whenever you're home. Large windows can reduce the need for lamps and other forms of lighting while creating an open atmosphere in your favorite rooms of the house. When you do need to rely on lamps and overhead lights, keep in mind that your electronics will still sap energy if they're plugged into an outlet, whether they're turned on or not. Before you leave a room, unplug any unnecessary electronics, such as lamps, televisions, chargers, and microwaves. You should also make the switch to environmentally-friendly LED bulbs over traditional incandescent options. LED bulbs last longer, look better, shine brighter, and don't release harmful chemicals into the environment when they're all used up.
3. Insulate your home -- and your body
The proper home insulation can reduce the cost of your heating and cooling budget by more than 40% in older homes. Get a professional to look over your home insulation before your cash flies out between the cracks of your floorboards.
Want to go even simpler? Try hanging a heavy set of curtains and wearing a cozy sweater; with these two items, the draft doesn't stand a chance. Keep your heating bill a little lower by bundling up or providing throw blankets should you catch a chill in the winter.
4. Watch your water
If you have a leaky faucet, inefficient toilet, or dripping shower head, your money is quite literally going down the drain. Luckily, many plumbing issues such as these are minor and are a simple fix with a call to the plumber.
Once you've fixed any leaks in your plumbing system, you can start monitoring your water use even more thoroughly. It's simple and easy to make a few small changes to help limit your water use. Here are some examples:
- Minimize shower time to under ten minutes
- Install a low-flow toilet
- Turn off the water while you're brushing your teeth
- Utilize grey water in your home
- Lower your hot water heater by a couple degrees to save energy on heating costs, as well.
5. Reduce, reuse, recycle
It might seem cliché, but reducing your waste is one of the best things you can do to help the environment. By recycling unneeded products, you're preventing these items, including plastics, from entering our waterways. Teach the other members of your family to recycle whenever possible.
Creating an eco-friendly home may seem hard, but it's easy with these tips and tricks. Try incorporating some of these habits in your routine to live a healthier, more eco-friendly lifestyle.