In today's day and age, taking care of the earth is more important than ever before. There are simple and cost-effective ways to make your home greener and eco-friendlier. There are also larger projects that cost a bit more but may be worth it in the long run. Making your home greener and more eco-friendly can also help increase your home value.
Recycle and Compost
People have been recycling for a long time. Even if you have been recycling your glass, cardboard and plastic, go one step further. Composting is a wonderful recycling idea. According to an article on epa.gov, Composting At Home, "Composting is a controlled, aerobic (oxygen-required) process that converts organic materials into a nutrient-rich soil amendment or mulch through natural decomposition." You can compost at home using scraps of food and materials from your yard such as sticks, grass and leaves.
Use a Programmable Thermostat
Many homes now have programmable thermostats. If you do not, consider purchasing one. If you have one, be sure program it to help save energy. Program the thermostat so it does not use as much energy when you are not at home and at night when you are sleeping. This will also save you money by having less costly energy bills.
Switch Out Your Lightbulbs
Change all the lightbulbs in your home to more energy-efficient LED lightbulbs. One of the great attributes to LED lightbulbs is that that last so much longer than regular lightbulbs and use less energy.
Purchase Energy-Efficient Appliances
If you need new appliances, consider energy-efficient ones. They will save you money in the long run. Energy Star appliances are recommended by the Department of Energy.
Embrace Cooler Water
Consider turning down the temperature of your hot water heater. When you bathe or shower, try to get acclimated to using cooler water. Actually, cooler water can help make your skin less dry. Use more efficient laundry methods by washing your clothing in cold or warm water instead of hot water.
Use Green Cleaning Products
Most cleaning products contain chemicals and toxins and are horrible for the earth. They can also be dangerous to your health. Look for greener cleaning products or make your own. Green cleaning products are made using safe, biodegradable and non-toxic ingredients. You can make your own green cleaning products as well. Many recipes include water, rubbing alcohol, baking soda, vinegar and essential oils. Using greener cleaning products will help reduce water and air pollution.
Plant a Garden
Plant a vegetable garden and grow some of your own food. You might find this to be a very satisfying project to do alone or with family members and friends.
Reevaluate Your Home's Insulation
Another way to help make your home greener and more eco-friendly is to reevaluate the insulation in your home. The article on energy.gov, Types of Insulation: Energy Saver, can help you determine if and where you need to install more insulation and the recommended R-values for the areas you need to insulate. Your home may have outdated, or not enough insulation and you may be heating and cooling your home more than necessary.
Consider Solar Energy
Another way to make your home greener and more eco-friendly is to install solar panels. This is a more expensive option. However, it may be beneficial and actually save you money in the long run. An article from the Department of Energy on energy.gov, Homeowner's Guide to Going Solar states, "The cost of going solar goes down every year." You may also be eligible for funding programs to help you with the affordability of going solar.
After implementing some ways to make your home greener and eco-friendlier, encourage your family to use the mantra "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" on a daily basis. Not only will making your home greener and more eco-friendly for the earth, but you will save money and improve your home value. At the end of the day, you will be helping fight ozone depletion and climate change.