10 ways to add green to your home and your wallet
From recycling to making energy efficient home upgrades, protecting the environment is not only trendy–it’s necessary.
The past 10 years has seen a rise in the popularity of sustainable living and in using “green” products, with the number of green homes‡ continuing to grow rapidly each year. According to the United States Green Building Council, there were around 370,000 green homes around the country as of 2017. Whether you are a renter or a homeowner, you can implement some practices to create your own eco-friendly green home while staying on a budget.
Location, location, location
Carefully consider the location of your home. If you’re close to work, shopping and entertainment, you may not need a car. You could save money on gas, car insurance and maintenance, not to mention reducing pollution. If you’re thinking about moving further from your workplace, try to find a house that is convenient to transit, shopping and other centers.
Light up the house, not the electric bill
Replacing incandescent light bulbs with more energy efficient compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs will save you about $6 a year in electricity costs per bulb and more than $40 over its lifetime. According to ENERGY STAR‡, if every American used this eco-friendly green home tip and replaced just one light bulb, we would save enough energy to prevent six billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year.
Some like it hot, hot, hot…or cold, cold, cold
Closely monitor your thermostat. Adjusting it just a few degrees while you’re out of the house can save energy and money. You can make it easier to track by installing a programmable thermostat. Use fans and close the blinds during the warm months, and let the sun in for natural warmth in the winter. Also, change your air filter every three months to ensure your systems are running as best they can.
How low can you go?
Reduce your water waste by using low-flow toilets and quickly fixing any leaks. You can also change habits, like turning off the tap while you brush your teeth and not rinsing dishes under running water.
Make it mean-green-clean
Cleaning supplies can be expensive and are often made with toxic chemicals. You can save money and help the environment by making your own cleaning supplies. All you need are some basic household ingredients like vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda and borax to clean everything from windows to tile. Check out how-tos and suggestions for making your own eco-friendly green home cleaning supplies online‡.
Reduce, reuse, recycle!
Sticking to this mantra can help you save money around the house. Use a rag instead of paper towels. Buy products in bulk, concentrate or refillable containers to reduce packaging waste. Look for products made from recycled content. And don’t forget to recycle!
Wins for your windows
There are several ways you can make your windows more energy efficient without replacing them. For better insulation you can caulk exterior joints, install shrink wrap or hang thermal blackout curtains.
Fan the green flames
To keep your refrigerator running efficiently, keep the fan clean. The motor won’t have to work as hard if the fan is clear of debris. Avoid standing with the fridge door open as you “browse” your options to limit cold air release.
Houseplants are like living air-filters. English ivy, rubber trees, peace lilies and red-edged dracaena can help clean the air, and they look pretty, too.
Eliminate vampire energy
On or off, anything plugged into the wall sucks energy—a waste known as vampire power. Vampire power costs U.S. consumers more than $3 billion a year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Unplug electronics and appliances when they’re not in use.
An average homeowner can save $723 to $1,182 a year by making these minor changes, according to Realtor‡. Start making changes today to save money and energy. For more eco-friendly green home solutions, visit epa.gov/greenhomes‡.
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