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Being eco-sensitive, using cleaner, greener energy sources, and reducing our carbon footprint on the planet has gone from being a trend to being a definite necessity. So if you’ve just bought a new home or are in the market for one, use the opportunity to choose energy-efficient and eco-friendly solutions across your home. This new homeowner’s guide to eco-friendly ideas for homes is just the toolkit you need to point you in the right direction.
Eco-friendly ideas for homes
Swap out all incandescent light bulbs for LED ones. Not only are LED bulbs more energy efficient, but they also last you a lot longer than conventional light bulbs do. An added advantage is that LED bulbs work great with automated lighting solutions like the Philips Hue.
Hot water vs coldwater
A large part of our energy bills come from heating water, and it is not always an essential cost.
For example, 90% of the energy used by a washing machine is for heating water to wash clothes. Save on those bills by choosing to use cold water to do your laundry instead.
Switching off our water heaters when there is no need for hot water, and using tankless water heaters are other smart ways to save money on energy bills.
Line dry laundry
A great tip on how to conserve energy is to line dry laundry during the summer months instead of using the dryer.
Allowing the sun and fresh air to dry your laundry will make your clothing and bedding last longer. And you do not need a large backyard to do this. A laundry rack in your balcony will do the job just as well.
Read more: Basement laundry room ideas
Save with smart thermostats
Nearly 50% of the energy bills of the average American household are made up of heating and cooling costs. Investing in a smart thermostat such as the Nest Learning Thermostat will help reduce those costs considerably.
These programmable thermostats can adjust themselves based on your schedule, automatically control indoor temperatures based on outdoor weather conditions, respond to voice commands and even switch off when not needed. This will reduce a considerable amount of power used to heat and cool your home.
Read more: Smart thermostat replacement
Invest in efficient appliances
A new home often means investing in brand new appliances. Use the opportunity to invest in Energy Star appliances, guaranteed to reduce your energy consumption by up to 30%.
If your home has a garden in the front or in the backyard that needs irrigation, invest in a WaterSense certified irrigation system such as the Rachio Smart Sprinkler controller that takes into account sun exposure and other yard characteristics while being connected to weather stations to control when and how much your yard needs to be watered. This is sure to save you water.
Avoid vampire power drain
Vampire power drain, or idle current, is when appliances continue to drain power even when they’re not in use.
By hooking up your electronic appliances to intelligent power adapters and smart power strips such as the Pinio Smart Power Strip, you can reduce the amount of power being unnecessarily drained. These power strips recognize when appliances aren’t being used and cut off power to them automatically.
Essential window treatments
Getting the right kind of curtains and blinds for your window can help you conserve energy while keeping those pesky neighbors at bay. They can help keep your home cooler on hot summer days while keeping essential heat in during the colder months. This will put less stress on your HVAC system, once again saving you money on your energy bills.
If you’re still buying bottled water to drink on a daily basis, stop immediately. Instead, invest in a water filter for your kitchen. This will supply you with perfectly potable water while saving you money, considering you will no longer need to buy water bottles.
It would also be prudent to get non-plastic water bottles to store water in for your home. The less single-use plastic you use, the more eco-friendly your home is.
Go low flow
There are multiple ways you can save on your monthly water bills. A good place to start is to turn off taps while not in use, for example, while shaving.
Another great habit is to reuse water whenever possible. For example, reusing the water used to wash vegetables in your kitchen to irrigate your herb garden is a great way to save water.
The kind of bathroom fittings we use makes a difference as well. WaterSense certified toilets use less water to flush than conventional toilets do. Similarly, low-flow showerheads and aerators on faucets will also go a long way in helping reduce your water bills.
DIY cleaning products
While store-bought cleaning products may seem more efficient, using homemade cleaning products made of ingredients like vinegar and baking soda, among others, will not only save you money, it is also a lot more environmentally friendly.
Bring in the outdoors
Indoor plants have multiple benefits. For starters, they add color and life to any room they are a part of. They also greatly reduce CO2 emissions in your home, while increasing the amount of oxygen. This will greatly improve the air quality of your home.
Recycling and composting
Make sure you reuse whatever can be reused in your homes, such as mason jars, glass bottles, and even plastic bottles. If something cannot be reused, put it in the recycling bin.
Another must-have for every eco-conscious home is a compost bin. A compost bin will turn all your food waste into compost that can be used as fertilizer in your garden, in a manner that is free of chemicals and devoid of unpleasant odors. Not only will this green initiative help you vastly reduce the amount of waste your household generates, but you can also use the compost to set up a thriving herb garden for your kitchen.
The need is real
There is a reason why green living is garnering so much attention. The effects of pollution and climate change on our planet are here for us to see. California’s rainfall is at a historic low. The drought the state has been enduring has been well documented. Our seas are rising at an alarming pace, as polar ice caps melt, threatening to submerge entire cities in the not-so-distant future. Sure, not everyone can afford solar panels, even with the tax credits and subsidies the government has to offer. However, small changes like the ones we’ve mentioned above, if put into practice by us sooner rather than later, can still ensure we leave behind a healthy planet for future generations.