When you’re ready to start a sustainable lifestyle, one of the first things to try is going green in your home. Your home is where you eat, sleep and spend time with your family, and going green here will yield far-reaching results.
Creating an energy-efficient and green home is simpler than you think. You can easily start with choosing organic food, chemical-free products and energy-efficient appliances. Making green changes will help you save money, keep you healthy and make a positive impact on the world.
1. Energy Conservation
Conserving energy at home is easy with some simple changes. You can start by scheduling a professional home energy audit. This will help identify areas where you can make improvements such as adding insulation. Then you can take additional steps that will help you save energy:
- Lower your thermostat in the winter and raise it in the summer to reduce utility costs.
- Switch to efficient compact fluorescent light (CFL) or LED lights, which use a fraction of the energy an incandescent bulb uses.
- Turn off the lights when you’re not in a room and unplug appliances that aren’t in use.
- Consider replacing appliances that are more than 10 years old with ones that are Energy Star rated, as they use 50 percent less energy than the regular models.
- Use cold water when doing the laundry.
- Use a drying rack or outdoor clothesline rather than the dryer.
- Keep your appliances in top shape and schedule regular maintenance such as air filter changes to improve efficiency.
- Use ceiling fans to create a wind-chill effect that help you feel cooler; they use less energy than the air conditioner.
2. Waste Reduction
By reducing your household waste, you can lessen the landfill burden. The best way of reducing waste is by recycling, reusing and composting as much as you can. Start by setting up separate bins for recycling paper, plastic and metal.
Try reducing the amount of food that goes to waste by cooking and serving smaller portions. Instead of throwing away food and yard waste, compost it and use in your garden as a natural fertilizer for your plants.
Eliminate household hazardous waste by participating in community disposal programs and reconsidering what you use, sometimes there may be a safer alternative. Use the same cell phone or computer as long as you can and recycle them when they break or become obsolete. Electronic waste contains toxic elements such as mercury, which contaminates the environment. Recycling electronic products reduces the amount of resources needed for manufacturing new items and lowers greenhouse gas emissions.
3. Water Conservation
Almost 50 percent of a typical home’s water is wasted. There are many ways you can reduce your water use, saving your money and conserving this valuable resource:
- Fix leaky faucets, as they waste a gallon or more of water per hour.
- Take shorter showers, which lowers your heating and water bills.
- Use an aerated shower head to reduce water flow.
- Turn off the water during tooth brushing, shaving or shampooing.
- Upgrade to a dual flush or low-flow toilet.
- Recycle household “gray” water to water plants or flush the toilet.
- Collect rainwater in a cistern or rain barrel and use it for watering plants.
4. Stay Free of Chemicals
Convectional cleaners contain harmful chemicals which can pose a serious threat to your health and the environment. Opting for plant-based, organic cleaners is a much safer choice. You can also try making your own green cleaners with natural ingredients such as baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice and essential oils. This preserves your family’s health, boosts indoor air quality, saves money and time, and reduces packaging.
Harsh chemicals can even be found in personal care products and many people aren’t aware of the fact they may cause allergies or even cancer. The chemicals in these products aren’t good for the environment either. Always read the labels of your products and switch to organic personal care products.
5. Educate Yourself and Your Family
Learn about why green living matters and what are some other things you can do to be more green. Teach your family about the importance of preserving the environment and show them what exactly can be done. You can also spend time volunteering in the community and let your example inspire others.
Every day, each small action you take can play a big role in preserving the environment. Going green in your home will not only benefit nature but it will also contribute to your family’s health and save you money. Green is the way of the future and now is the perfect time to start.
If you are one of our many buyers of halogen Light Bulbs here at Easy Light Bulbs, we have some news that could be both good and bad for you: they may cease to be available as soon as 2016, as part of the EU’s continuing energy-saving efforts. That could be a positive thing for the environment, but it could be hugely inconvenient for you as a light bulb customer.
It’s just the latest round of a drive to cut greenhouse emissions across the continent that has already seen the end to production of traditional incandescent bulbs, and as you might expect, there has been a mixed reaction from various consumer and manufacturer groups. There are millions of halogen bulbs presently in use in British homes, particularly for kitchen and bathroom spotlights, and while there are alternatives, these aren’t as affordable to buy upfront as halogens. On one level, it makes sense for the European Commission to bring the axe down on halogen bulbs, given that they aren’t much more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs. That has led to the EU’s suggestion that they are replaced with energy-saving LEDs and compact fluorescent bulbs, the latter also known as CFLs.
But not only can the alternatives be up to 15 times more expensive to purchase, there are certain other issues with each one – such as LEDs’ incompatibility with the dimmer switches and wiring circuits that halogen bulbs use, as well as the up to five minutes that are required for CFLs to reach full brightness. An EC vote will be held on the issue in April, with the options including to proceed with a 2016 ban or instead delay it to 2018.
Consumer group Which? said that with half of its members still having halogen bulbs in their home and more than two in five having halogen spotlights, a delay until 2018 would allow more time for the resolution of some of the user and compatibility problems. A campaign group of manufacturers, LightingEurope, went even further, suggesting that the potential impact on consumers and the industry necessitated a delay of any such ban until 2020 at the earliest.
On the flipside, however, the alternatives to halogen bulbs do last longer and could make a big positive difference to a customer’s longer-term energy bills. Indeed, you may wish to make the change now to experience the massive difference for yourself. There have also been suggestions that keeping to the 2016 deadline will minimise or eliminate the risk of blackouts resulting from the closure of old power stations.
We’ll watch this story carefully here at Easy Light Bulbs, and will keep you posted on the latest developments.
Reducing the amount of energy we use at home benefits both our bills and carbon emissions, and doesn’t have to be a gruelling or challenging task. In fact, by taking regular advantage of quick and simple tricks and tips, you might be surprised at the amount of home energy your household could save.
Simple, No Cost Options for Saving Energy in the Home
• Turn off appliances when not in use. Rather than relying on standby mode when you’re not watching television orn using the computer particularly when you don’t intend to quickly resume the activity – turn the power off. Even in standby mode, electronics draw on the power.
• Power off the lights when leaving the room. Just as opening the window blinds and using natural light by day can help to reduce the amount of electricity that you are using, you can also save energy by turning off the lights when no one is using the room.
• Unplug chargers for portable electronics from the wall when not in use. When the charging cord for an MP3 player or mobile phone is attached to the outlet – whether or not it is being used to charge a device – it draws electricity.
• Launder clothing in cold water. While this may mean making the switch to detergent formulated for cold-water washing, you’ll discover that not heating the water requires far less energy. Save even more by line drying clothing rather than using a clothes dryer.
• Adjust the thermostat. In colder months, lower the temperature to the lowest comfortable level; wearing a thicker sweater during the day or adding an extra blanket to the bed at night are both more efficient means of staying warm that may allow you to turn the heating down, especially during the months that lead into winter. Additional savings are to be had with a programmable thermostat scheduled to keep the temperature lower when you are not at home; simply set the heat to come on a half an hour before the family returns home from work and you’ll come home to a comfortable temperature without having had the heat on throughout the day. This applies to the control of cooling systems as well.
• Lower the temperature on your water heater to 60 degrees Centigrade. This is plenty warm enough for your hot water tank, but requires far less energy. If you’re so inclined and willing to spend a small amount to save even more, consider insulating your hot water tank using a specially designed jacket for this purpose.
Obviously this list is merely an overview and introduction to ways to save energy in the home, but you’ll find that implementing little changes regularly will add up over the months and years and go a long way toward cutting costs. It is always a welcome surprise to see small changes add up to a reward that seemingly outweighs the sum of their parts, and with more time and a bit more upfront investment, you can uncover many more methods to save energy at home.