Making your home greener and more energy efficient is simple and affordable. Here are 10 practical tips for green living:
1. The average family uses 107,000 gallons of fresh water every year with 50 percent of that going down the drain or dumped in the garden. Reduce your water consumption —and your bill—by setting out buckets, bins, and even old toddler pools to collect rainwater that can be re-used in the garden when rain is in short supply.
2. Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lights, which use 20-30 percent less electricity and last 10 times longer. If every American replaced just one incandescent bulb, the country could save $600 million a year in energy spending and eliminate the equivalent of greenhouse gas emissions from more than 800,000 cars.
3. Turn on ceiling fans instead of adjusting your home’s thermostat. Fans run at about 130 kilowatt hours per year, compared with the 500 kWh for evaporative cooling and up to 2,000 kWh a year for refrigerated air-conditioning.
4. Unplug unused appliances and electronics or use a power strip with an on-off switch to save up to $50 per year, the amount the average American household spends leaving devices in “standby” or “sleep” mode.
5. Save as much as one gallon of water per minute by turning off the faucet while washing your hands and face or brushing your teeth.
6. Keep air fresh and beautify your home by opening windows and investing in houseplants, which remove toxins and air pollutant.
7. Hang towels to dry after each use. Fewer washings will save time, energy and utility costs.
8. Flip off the light switch and set the mood with candlelight. Avoid paraffin wax products that are derived from crude oil and emit carbon dioxide. Instead opt for a beeswax or pure soy wax candle adding a few drops of essential oil for aromatherapy.
9. Reduce exposure to chemicals by replacing cleaning products with eco-friendly formulas. Clean your bathroom with a bit of baking soda and vinegar, and substitute chlorine bleach with all natural tea-tree or eucalyptus oil.
10. Invest in a set of reusable plastic-ware to cut costs and waste. With myriad sizes, colors, and shapes on the market, there are few reasons for resorting to plastic wrap and zip-top bags.