When was the last time you considered the environmental impact of your home? If you’re like most people, you don’t think about it nearly enough. And that’s not an accusation – it’s just the reality of homeownership in the modern age. But here’s the good news: Small changes in your home can contribute significantly to a more sustainable future.
What Makes a Green Home?
When it comes to having a green, eco-friendly home, there are several factors involved. They include:
- Location of the property (and orientation on the lot)
- Age of the home and materials used
- Green home design and engineering
- Energy efficiency
- Energy sources
- Water conservation
Honestly, this bulleted list is just scratching the surface. There are dozens of different factors that, when combined, dictate the energy efficiency and environmental impact of your property.
6 Ways to Make Your Home Greener
If you’re looking for some of the best ways to make your house greener, there are several steps you can take to really get the highest return on your efforts.
Let’s take a look at six of them:
- Upgrade to Energy-Efficient Appliances
Energy efficient appliances make a huge difference. When your old appliances like fridges, washing machines, or light bulbs retire, consider getting new ones with an Energy Star label. They use less energy, which means lower electricity bills and a smaller carbon footprint.
Typically, you’re going to pay a little bit of a premium upfront to get an Energy Star appliance, but do the math and project your cost savings. For example, let’s say a dishwasher costs you $150 extra, but you know it’s going to save you roughly $9 per month on your utility bills. This makes your payback period roughly 17 months. If you plan to be in your home for at least two years, then it probably makes sense to pay the premium.
- Embrace Solar Power
Installing solar panels might sound high-tech, but it’s a great way to generate your own clean energy. Plus, it can even save you money on electricity bills in the long run.
While most people immediately assume the only option is to put panels on their roof, there are actually plenty of other opportunities to introduce solar power into your home. Other solar power options for homeowners include solar pergolas, ground mounted solar, and solar carports.
- Save Water Like a Pro
Did you know that simple changes in your bathroom and kitchen can save tons of water – literally? Fixing leaky faucets and switching to low-flow showerheads and faucets are easy things any homeowner can do. They help you save gallons of water without you even noticing.
There are also other options, such as collecting rainwater for your plants. While you’ll have to check local laws in your jurisdiction, you may be able to collect runoff water from your gutters in containers and use it to water your garden, wash your car, etc.
- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Start by reducing waste. Say no to single-use plastics and opt for reusable items like cloth bags instead of plastic ones. Also, get into the habit of recycling. Separating your paper, plastic, glass, and metal for recycling can make a huge difference.
- Switch to Eco-Friendly Cleaning
Did you know that common household cleaners can be harmful to the environment? But here’s the thing: You can easily make eco-friendly cleaners at home. Simple ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and lemon can clean just as well without any harmful chemicals. It’s safer for your family and the planet.
There are plenty of recipes online to choose from, but here are some of the best eco-friendly cleaning recipes that actually work as well as the chemical-based options that most people use.
- Create a Sustainable Garden
Gardening is one of the most eco-friendly activities you can do at home. Use compost made from kitchen scraps to enrich your soil. Then, plant native species that don’t need much water or pesticides. It’s like creating your own mini-ecosystem right in your backyard – which is healthy and educational for the entire family.
Adding it All Up
Making your home more eco-friendly doesn’t have to be complicated. With these simple tips, you can start taking small steps toward a greener lifestyle. Remember, every little action counts and together, we can make a big difference for our planet.