When you think of ways to help the environment, what is often mentioned are the big life changes that you should make: buy an electric car, become vegan, ban plastic from your life… that is all very admirable, but what simple, cheap and easy ways you can make your home greener?
Gorgeous windows can be one of the biggest selling points for a home. And as much as we all adore natural lighting, those pesky UV rays can make a house unbearably hot. This makes the AC work twice as hard, and consequently, use much more energy.
Have you ever noticed that most stores have their windows tinted? That is no coincidence. Tinting windows save retailers a lot of money when it comes to energy bills. So. Why not apply that principle to your home?
A tinted window will filter the sunlight coming into your house, making it cooler and therefore, you’ll need less of a blasting snowstorm AC to keep things cool. Window tinting will additionally save you money and save your furniture from getting faded over time by the sun.
According to the EPA, Americans produce 245 million tons of trash per year. That number is almost unimaginable. A great way to reduce the amount of trash we generate is to compost organic matter! So your peels, shells, leftovers, yard clippings, paper, even cardboard boxes that normally account for about 28% of our trash.
When in a landfill, organic matter decomposes and releases methane gas, which is a lot worse for the environment than carbon dioxide, the gas released if the same matter is composed. In fact, methane is 25 times worse than CO2. According to the EPA, the organic matter we throw away in landfills accounts for about 14% of the US’s methane emissions.
Composting happens trough chemical reactions, after organic matter t is put in a composting bin or pile. After some time, it will turn into a nutrient rich soil like matter, which can, in turn, be used for gardening. Even if you don’t use the compost in your own garden, you must know of a neighbor that would be more than glad to take it!
It might be a bit of a controversial topic, but toilet paper is not environmentally friendly at all. Every year, millions of trees are turned into toilet paper through a shockingly harmful process. It takes 37 gallons of water to make a single roll, and chlorine bleach to make the paper white and soft. That ends up polluting water sources. Not to mention the amount of electricity that it takes to make and transport the paper. All that just so it can be flushed down the toilet.
There is a simple, cheap, and more eco-friendly solution: installing a bidet attachment to your toilet, since only a few people have the space and money for a traditional bidet in their bathrooms. You will still be using toilet paper, most likely, but a whole lot less. For $50-$100, you can buy a good bidet attachment for your toilet that is easy to install and will tremendously reduce your need for toilet paper.
Other cultures are known for using bidets or various water devices, like a Tabo in the Philippines and a Lota in the middle east. Most homes in Japan have bidets, in fact, the Japanese are known for their fancy bidets, some of which offer heated water, various pressures, and settings.
Bidet attachments are sold on hardware stores and online, they are super easy to install and use! So why not make the switch?
It is estimated that 23% of all power consumed in the U.S. is from what is called Vampire energy or vampire power. That is a phone charger, a TV that you keep plugged in 24/7 even when you’re nowhere near them, your coffee maker, microwave, DVR, garage door opener, printer… The list goes on. You might not be using them, but they are using energy.
It might be impractical to spend your days plugging and unplugging everything when flipping the switch on a power strip is much, much easier. And it helps that you probably already have one or two lying around at home!
Ok, this one might not have to do with your house but it involves things that you already have in your home. Plus, it is the easiest item on this list. Learning to use your appliances in a way that saves water and energy can make a huge difference for the environment and your bills.
Washing your clothes with cold water and air drying them is not only easier on the garments, but it ends up saving a lot of power.
Most people have dishwashers but some are still afraid to use them. Washing dishes by hand can use up to four times the amount of water that is used by a dishwasher. Less work, softer hands, and helping the planet? Check, check and check.
Replacing your incandescent and fluorescent bulbs with LED lighting is another easy switch. They last longer and use less power, therefore playing an important role in reducing greenhouse emissions.
Another very simple way to save on energy is to close the air vent on rooms that are not being used at your home. So guest rooms, bathrooms, etc that don’t need to be cool all the time