Many people have committed themselves to the important cause of minimizing their impact on the environment. One great thing about making that commitment (other than the reward of helping to save the planet) is that there are many, many different options available to someone who wants to be more eco-friendly. However, for an individual with a restricted budget, it may seem like all of the available options require a hefty monetary investment. This can be quite discouraging. If this describes you, don’t give up! Here are five things you can do around your home to go green without spending any green. In fact, these tips can even save you some green!
1.) Go natural. When you’re at home, take full advantage of natural lighting to cut down on your use of electricity. This will make you more environmentally friendly and lower your bill. To make the most out of the natural light available to you try regularly washing your windows inside and out. In addition, keep your windows unobstructed by trimming trees and hedges.
2.) Mix things up. If your refrigerator and your stove sit side by side consider rearranging your appliances if possible. When your refrigerator, which is trying to keep things cold, is touching your stove, which is trying to heat things up, both appliances must work harder – meaning they’re consuming more energy.
3.) One person’s trash is another person’s recycling. If your area offers recycling, what are you waiting for? Start recycling! If your area either doesn’t offer recycling or charges for the service look for ways to reuse the things you would typically toss in the garbage. For instance, there was a great tip in Real Simple magazine a while back about using cereal boxes to create drawer organizers – check it out here. You can also save disposable containers (ex. those that butter or margarine come in) to store leftovers. This is especially convenient when you have children in school who will be taking the leftovers for lunch; if they loose the container or accidentally throw it away its not a big deal.
4.) Aren’t you tired of being plugged in all the time? Some appliances are energy vampires – they suck energy even when you aren’t actively using them. The appliances guilty of this bad behavior are those with standby lights or displays such as your microwave with its digital clock. According to the article “10 Myths About Being Green At Home” from This Old House magazine, the biggest culprit of this is your cable box. Unplug these appliances when you aren’t using them. For added convenience, try plugging them into an extension cord so that you can just flip the switch to cut off and restore power.
5.) Hot and cold. Every time the temperature rises or falls a few degrees, don’t go sprinting for the thermostat. This is especially important to keep in mind during those awkward periods when its hot one day and chilly the next. When it starts to get warm try switching off the heat and opening your windows rather than turning on the air conditioner. You’ll be surprised at how cool fresh air can keep you home especially on breezy days. The same goes for when the temperature starts to drop. Obviously, use a little common sense – don’t be sitting around your home getting frostbite; however, when its just a little bit chilly try adding an extra blanket at night or wearing a sweater rather than cranking up the heat.
Article contributed by Alex with Stone Statements. Alex is an interior design buff with a particular interest in things home owners can do to make their home green.