Many households these days are going green and putting systems into place to reduce the household’s impact on the environment. Even after you’ve started recycling and doing some small things to run a greener home, there are always more changes you can make. In addition to reducing your environmental footprint, many changes save you money as well, which is a big added perk.
Cleaning With Green Products
Most conventional cleaning products include synthetic chemicals that not only harm the environment when you use them, but also require complicated processes to create the cleaners in the first place. There are actually several natural cleaners that work well and reduce your environmental impact. Baking soda is a great deodorizer and works well as an abrasive cleaner for tough jobs. Plain white vinegar has antibacterial properties and, when diluted with water, is a perfect multi-purpose cleaner to use on countertops, floors, windows and other surfaces. If you want to add a little bit of scent, use natural essential oils rather than synthetic fragrances.
Avoiding Unnecessary Plastic and Paper Use
Rather than just recycling the plastic and paper you use, focus on eliminating your use of these products as much as possible. Instead of buying bottled water, invest in sink and refrigerator water filters to purify your drinking water. Instead of using plastic or paper bags at the store to bring your groceries home, buy several reusable bags and get in the habit of taking them to the store with you. Set your printer to use both sides of paper or save single-sided documents you’re done with to use as scratch paper.
Cutting Heating and Cooling Energy Use
The energy you spend heating and cooling your home is one of the biggest components of your gas and electric bill each month, especially if you live in an extreme climate. But you don’t actually need to maintain your home at 70 to 72 degrees all year. Instead, set the heater to as low as you can comfortably manage in the winter and the air conditioner to as high as you can comfortably manage in the summer and use other methods to maintain a comfortable environment. Dressing in temperature-appropriate clothing helps a lot, as does running a ceiling fan in the summer or using a space heater in the winter. You can also adjust the temperature further while you’re out of the house or sleeping to reduce energy use during those times.
Reducing Hot Water Use
Heating water uses a lot of energy, and there are several ways to reduce the amount of hot water you use. First, lower the temperature on your water heater to 120 degrees, which is not only safer, but also reduces energy use. Then turn to several strategies to reduce the amount of hot water you use. Instead of washing clothes in hot water, use warm or cold water, which is just as effective in most cases. Install a low-flow shower head to cut up to half of the water that flows each minute, and turn off the water while you’re soaping up to reduce the number of minutes you use hot water for each shower.
Regardless of the strategies you choose, it’s important to get the whole household on board with the changes you’ve decided to make. That way you can all support each other in a unified approach to making your home more green. Every little thing you do reduces your environmental footprint, and the results add up over time as you stick to the habits you put into place.
Jessica is interested in health and fitness. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outdoors.