There are many ways to be “green,” and many of them are probably simpler than you think. By merely recycling one glass bottle, you could save enough electricity to light a 100-watt bulb for four hours (MSN Real Estate). The best ways to be eco-friendly are the little and inexpensive things that we can do, such as cutting down on what we consume daily and recycling whenever we can. By making small changes in our habits at home, we will be able to make a difference in the community, the environment, and ultimately, the planet.
These days, cold-water detergents are available for purchase and are able to clean your clothes just as well as if you were using hot water. The U.S. Department of Energy found that washing machines use all the way up to 90% of their energy just to heat the water. Not only is a lot of energy preserved by using cold water, but clothes will actually keep their color and last longer too.
Make sure you’re keeping your lint filter clean. Check it between every load. This could end up saving you around $34 per year in energy costs, says Energy Star. To save even more energy and money, dry your clothes by hanging them on a line outside of the house or on an indoor drying rack instead of using the dryer altogether.
Don’t Waste Electricity
First off, get into the habit of turning off lights as you leave a room. There’s no need to leave the electricity in a room flowing when it’s not in use. According to Energy Star, around 20% of a home’s energy usage comes from light bulbs. Swap your bulbs out for compact fluorescent light bulbs; these use up around 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs.
When the refrigerator is very near a vent, dishwasher or stove, it will have to work a lot harder than it otherwise would. These can give off a lot of heat making the refrigerator work harder, using more energy to keep food cold.
Opt for Greener Appliances
According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), getting rid of an extra refrigerator in the house or garage could save you up to $150 per year! The refrigerator is one of the most energy-consuming appliances throughout the entire home. Also, appliances that are over 10 years old could be sucking up a lot of energy, as much as 10-50% more than appliances with an Energy Star label.
Heating and Cooling
Nearly half of the energy consumption in the home is due to heating and cooling. Ways to save on energy bills include using fans more and air conditioning less in the summer and using a fireplace to warm the house so that you can keep the thermostat lower in the winter. Just by keeping the temperature in the home a few degrees higher in the summer and a few degrees lower in the winter will help cut costs.
Outside of the House
Think about growing perennials in your yard or garden. Perennial ryegrass and drought-tolerant fescue don’t need a lot of water to survive or require the use of chemicals to stay alive. Also consider adding a layer of mulch around the yard to keep weed from growing. This will help the soil stay moist while keeping the roots of plants cool so that they require less watering.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
We’ve all heard it a million times, but by reducing the amount of trash you produce weekly, recycling whenever possible, and donating clothes, dishes, appliances, or anything around the house that you don’t need anymore, can make a huge difference. Try setting out furniture or appliances at the end of the driveway and label them “free.” You’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll be rid of them. This way they won’t just be thrown in a landfill. Someone else will be able to benefit from their use and save money by not having to go out and purchase something new.
Green Cleaning Solutions
Instead of buying household cleaners at the store that are most likely toxic for you to breathe, make your own cleaning products at home. By using simple household ingredients like water, soap, baking soda, vinegar, or lemon juice, you will most likely save yourself money and at the same time save your family from exposure to harmful chemicals.
Green Flooring Solutions
If you’re thinking of updating your floors, consider a hardwood flooring such as bamboo. Bamboo is an environmentally friendly flooring solution due to its ability to grow quickly and replenish itself. It is also very durable and easy to maintain and comes in a variety of colors and grains.
These are just some of the many ways to live a more healthy life for you, your family, and the environment. If you’re thinking of remodeling, Cyclone Contracting offers many types of green solutions for your home remodel. Serving the Ames, Huxley, and Story County area, Cyclone continues to set the bar for customer service and craftsmanship in the heating, cooling, plumbing, and home remodeling business.