You’ve probably seen the term “eco-friendly” being thrown around a lot lately. Whiles it’s become a trendy buzzword in many circles, the fact remains that we all need to do our part to become more eco-friendly in our everyday lives. The misconception these days is that you have to build an entirely new home in order to make it environmentally sustainable and energy efficient, but this is simply not true. Small, daily lifestyle changes sometimes make the biggest impact! Here’s a list of five ways you can get started on your path to an eco-friendly home.
1. Be Mindful of Energy Use
An eco-friendly home is not about having the latest and greatest in technological features—it’s about how you treat the energy within the home itself. You have to change your mindset about how energy is being used, particularly light. Make sure to turn off light switches when the sun is out, and open the windows to brighten the room. Build the habit of checking that all lights are off when you leave a room and especially before you leave your home. There must also be concern for items that remain plugged into wall outlets throughout the day. You might want to keep your chargers or power strips plugged in for convenience’s sake, but by doing so, you’re wasting valuable energy. Unplug anything that’s not needed in the moment, especially devices that need lots of energy like kitchen appliances, computer charges, and hair dryers.
2. Fill in Gaps
The standard home has a number of different design flaws. One is the simple fact that the natural settling as well as the age of the home can produce gaps, allowing heat and air to leak out. Small gaps can add up to big energy loss when the temperatures go to the extremes. Take time to assess the age of the home and locate any potential gaps in the structure. Gaps can be found around windows and doors as well as between floors and walls. Tighten up these gaps by reframing the structure or at the very least filling them in with some form of caulking or insulation.
3. Look at Materials
Eco-friendly materials are everywhere these days, yet most people do not evaluate the furnishings in their home to determine their eco-friendly nature. Some have switched to eco-minded clothing as a means to reduce their impact on the environment and even purchasing only second-hand clothing so new materials do not have to be used for manufacturing goods. These are all excellent steps, but another area to think about is furniture and fabrics in the living room and bedroom. Your mattress should always be made with eco-friendliness in mind. The ojai mattress, for example, uses non-toxic materials and is made with the eco-friendly concept in mind.
4. Cold Water
It takes a considerable amount of energy to keep hot water hot, and if you have not yet been able to afford transitioning to a tankless system, you might want to consider saving energy by washing items in cold water. This keeps more hot water within your water heater that can be reserved for bathing and washing dishes, which are more important than washing your clothes with piping hot water. Reserve hot water for getting out stubborn stains and bleaching items. That will not account for many loads and will save you on your energy costs as well.
5. Be Aware of Water Usage
Filling up the tub and soaking in the hot water is a wonderful way to relax. It also uses a considerable amount of water, so taking a bath or long, hot shower every night can quickly use way too much water. Take the same initiative with water that you do with all energy costs. Take more showers than baths and try reducing the length of the showers for people in your household. This is not to say you have to stick to a strict time limit without any relaxation time, just limit it to allow for less water to be used throughout the day. You will quickly see that the effort will pay off in your lifestyle as well as your finances, and you know you’ll be making a difference for the environment.
Even though we hear the word eco-friendly a lot today does not mean that it should lose its power. We all have to live in this world together and need to require ourselves to take steps to become more mindful of how we use the energy within our homes, offices, and even social areas. These steps are just a few avenues you can take to make your home more eco-friendly. There are a number of ways, but these small changes are an excellent way to improve your life and your home all while keeping the earth’s needs in mind as well.