Although striving for a greener life is a worthy goal, what exactly does it mean? We live in a world heavily impacted by pollution. The U.S. is one of the biggest consumers of fossil fuels, but an onset of climate anxiety has prompted many conversations about our current power infrastructure. As a country, we’re all moving toward a more sustainable way to generate and consume energy, so it’s understandable why you’ve got green living tips on the brain. So, what can you do as a household?
Green living is all about sustainability. It involves simple steps, like munching on leftovers for a change, recycling, and considering alternative sources of energy. Homeowners everywhere are making the switch to solar energy because they know it means reducing the environmental impact of their home. It means less pollution and making better use of sustainable resources.
Let’s look at what it means to actually go green and learn how you can live more sustainably.
What is Green Living?
A green living lifestyle means you have made a commitment to the environment and future generations. You’ve decided to make decisions that will reduce your carbon footprint and show the planet some love.
Believe it or not, the small choices you make in your day-to-day life really add up when it comes to pollution. You can even involve your family, friends, and children to make a larger impact. Here are a few green living tips that will help you embrace a greener lifestyle!
10 Green Living Tips for a Sustainable Home
Have you heard about your overwhelmed power grid that exhausts fossil fuels to keep going? Are you looking for a clean, budget-friendly solution to your environmental woes? Regardless of what brought you to the path to sustainability, the effects are all the same. Going green is good for the environment and good for your pocket.
Here are 10 green living tips that will change the way you consume energy and make your home more sustainable.
#1 – So Fresh and So Clean
Turns out, a home garden is more than a quarantine hobby. Gardening has significant health benefits, but also greatly impacts the environment and your energy consumption. When you can turn your backyard hobby into a food source for your family, you’re really making a difference. Greener eating does wonders for your health, but you can significantly reduce your carbon footprint once you limit the resources needed to transport and process your food, as well as control food waste.
No green thumb, no problem. Check out your local farmers’ market, which is often cheaper than a regular grocery store, or shop locally-produced foods at your neighborhood supermarket. A good rule is that the closer you are to the source, the cleaner the food and the less energy consumed. Clean eating is a phenomenal way to get your nutrients without sacrificing the plentiful environment that grows them. These simple changes in the way we eat are a surefire way to a sustainable life.
#2 – It’s a Bird…It’s a Plane…It’s a Bike?
Traveling contributes to the greatest amount of air pollution, regardless of your method of transportation. That’s 29% of the U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to global warming and chronic health illnesses. Take a look at these stats for a few commonly used modes of transportation:
- Planes – Planes use a lot of fuel, and flying contributes to aviation greenhouse gas emissions. U.S. aircrafts have even been found to dump traces of lead and other chemicals into the atmosphere. Aircrafts emit about 10% of air pollution.
- Cars – The Environmental Protection Agency reports that “typical passenger vehicle[s[ emit about 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year.” There’s a reason they call cars “gas guzzlers.” Your car is probably one of the biggest pollutants you own.
- Trains and Boats — Collectively, rail and maritime travel accounts for a simmering 4% of the total pollution in the transportation sector. While not a large number, these emissions can still be harmful to the environment and your system.
Green living means being conscious about how many trips you take in a year. Unless you’re riding around in an electric vehicle, or EV, consider limiting the amount of road trips you take or choosing public transportation. It might be a good idea to carpool with the other families in your neighborhood, or round up coworkers who live near you to commute to work. Try to complete all of your errands in one trip out of the house. If possible, breakout the old bike or a cool set of skates to hit the pavement. Walking is also one of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint. When you lessen your use of fossil fuels, you’re also creating a more sustainable lifestyle.
#3 – Smart Appliances For Green Homes
It’s time to chuck those old appliances that are probably running up your utility bill and generating tons of pollution. According to PNAS, you can thank your outdated household appliances for about 20% of air pollution in the U.S. There are more ways to conserve energy and save money when you upgrade the smart way.
Incorporating more Energy Star or other smart appliances into your home doesn’t mean you have to drastically change the way you use energy. It means a dose of green living that will save you money on your energy bill, but reduce the amount of water and energy that your home uses. Great places to seek upgrades for sustainable living are in the kitchen and laundry rooms. These areas of the house tend to use the most energy and are least likely to be upgraded.
When you choose energy efficient appliances, you might start in your kitchen, but make sure you’re upgrading all over. A Google Nest Thermostat will learn how you consume energy and adjust the temperatures of your house to suit your needs. This programmable thermostat monitors when you leave your home, anticipates times of higher energy use, and provides ease of access from your cell. There’s also smart lighting with the popular, cost-effective swap of your old light bulbs for LED ones. In the long run, LED lights will last much longer and are 80%–90% more energy efficient than conventional bulbs. Cutting edge, smart technology like the upgrades mentioned, will take the guesswork out of green living.
#4 Water Conservation
The next green living tip has to do with water. Water usage is possibly the easiest transition to manage in a sustainable lifestyle. This means the water you use and the water you drink. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that the average American household utilizes about 40 gallons of water a day.
There are simple adjustments that can be made to conserve the water in your home. Here are a few:
- Install a high-efficiency shower head. These “low-flow” shower heads will drastically decrease your water usage by a gallon per minute. When looking into appliances that use water, like your washing machine or dishwasher, the higher the efficiency, the better.
- Limit running water. Be mindful of leaving the faucet on when you’re washing dishes or brushing your teeth to reduce water consumption. Similarly, try shorter showers. Try cutting down your shower time to about 10-15 minutes. It’s also important not to let your toilets run longer than they have to.
- Stay on top of your home repairs. Leaks should be fixed as soon as possible to avoid wasting water. Also, insulate exposed pipes and your water heater to ensure that water can heat up quickly when you need it.
- Adjust the temperature of your water heater to reduce the energy needed to heat up the water you use. Also, choosing cold water over heated water whenever possible tends to be a green living staple. It can save you money as well as save water.
There are so many ways to adapt to a more eco-friendly lifestyle, but paying attention to how you consume water is one of them.
#5 – Less Waste All Around
Most of the harm done to the environment comes from the kinds of products we use in our everyday life. Did you know that about 12 million barrels of oil a year are needed to make plastic bags? Additionally, another 17 million barrels of oil is needed a year to make plastic bottles. That’s a lot of crude oil for items that are typically not recycled and discarded often. It’s time to go green!
A more sustainable lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to do a complete overhaul of your daily activities. It just means there are less waste-creating judgment calls that need to be made. Invest in a nice, durable water bottle and carry it with you throughout the day. That way, you won’t have to purchase water when you’re thirsty. A water filter is another good buy to have in your home. Clean, filtered water means less plastic production for bottled waters and less waste.
When cloth is available, always choose cloth. Instead of purchasing paper towels or paper napkins, consider repurposing old T-shirts and fabric to make reusable rags. These will last longer and reduce the amount of waste from your home. For the grocery store, bring your own cloth bags to complete your shopping, instead of the plastic and paper bags.
Another change could be in the way you pay bills. When possible, try paying your bills online, and opting in for paperless options. This will reduce the amount of paper waste created. In one swoop, you’ve become tech-savvy and saved a tree.
#6 – A Major Turn Off
Smart upgrades definitely reduce the amount of energy your home consumes, but there are even more ways to save energy in a green living household. You want to make sure you aren’t putting those energy efficiency changes to waste. Unused energy could be everywhere.
Often, it’s easy to forget these “energy vampires”. A good rule of thumb is to focus on the room you’re in and extinguish energy usage in other rooms of your home. Look around for appliances or electronics that aren’t in use, but still sucking in energy. Completely shut off TVs and computers. Unplug chargers and other electronics that aren’t needed, or invest in smart plugs — these will automatically shut off once the device is fully charged. Also, always turn off the lights in empty rooms.
Since the weather impacts your energy consumption, it’s good to keep an eye on the temperature of your home. Curtains are a great investment to regulate temperature and remix your home decor. In cooler months, it’s a good idea to wear a sweater; grab a throw blanket; or use a space heater to warm up. When it’s warmer, try slipping into a T-shirt and shorts around the house and open your windows. These suggestions reduce how often you’ll need to kick on your central AC unit to blast cool or warm air.
Clearly, some of these green living tips can drastically reduce energy usage in your home, but can still keep you comfortable.
#7 – Choose Green, Every Time
A more conscious lifestyle means a consideration for the products you purchase and the impact these have on the environment. Fortunately, more and more people are learning that green is the way to go. There are often greener alternatives for many of the products your household uses.
When a substitute can’t be found, the more DIY person could mix up a batch of their own. Keep a stock of common household cleaners, like baking soda and vinegar. These are natural cleaning products that can be used without the harmful side effects of stronger, more toxic cleaners.
#8 – Recycle More
It seems easy to say, but not so easy to implement. How are you disposing of your trash? Recycling is a great practice that reduces the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere and ultimately, your own carbon footprint. Hyper-consumption demands that items be available whenever we need them. Recycling stops the massive production of new materials, which contributes greatly to pollution, and reuses materials already in existence.
Here some of the benefits of recycling:
- Reduces the need for materials that require water and air pollution for their production.
- Assists in efforts to restore nature and reduce deforestation.
- Less greenhouse gas emissions used to dispose of unneeded materials.
- Reduces the size of landfills and the need for burning of materials.
- Reuse junk items to conserve natural materials.
Recycling more is one green living tip that keeps on giving. But it’s important to understand classifications of waste — what needs to be thrown away vs recycled or composted. If you want to be too cool for school, add a compost bin into the mix. Learn more about composting.
#9 – A Roof to House Eco-Friends
When adapting to a greener lifestyle, most people don’t think about roofs. Replacing your roof is one of those eco-friendly renovations that have a major pay off. Believe it or not, eco-friendly roofing is such a thing. It’s a term that refers to roofing materials that have been created sustainably. It means that little to none of the materials or processes used in the creation of a type of roofing material have a negative impact on the environment. Ultimately, you’d want to find materials that were created without the use of fossil fuels or any mined minerals.
The best roof for your sustainable lifestyle is one that not only suits your home’s aesthetic, but is also durable, low maintenance, and assists you in conserving energy. Once you’ve replaced your roof, remember to responsibly dispose of your old roofing materials as well.
#10 – A Green Energy Source in Solar
The ancient civilizations had it right, we should be looking at the world around us for power. Instead of relying on fossil fuels, go green with a sustainable, renewable energy source, like solar.
Solar energy has an extremely positive impact on the environment. For instance, solar panels reduce carbon emissions at the same rate as planting 498,000 trees. On a larger scale, the entire U.S. solar industry reduces carbon emissions at the same rate as 2 billion trees. By taking a real stab at lowering air pollution in this way, your home could be instrumental in lessening the effects of global warming.
There are cities all over the U.S. committing to 100% renewable energy goals. With local and federal governments backing renewable energy commitments, now is the best time to go solar. From the current federal solar tax credit of 30% to net metering opportunities offered by your utility company, homeowners are taking advantage of the many solar incentives available. While a set of sleek, durable solar panels will boost your budget and increase the value of your home, there are also so many environmental benefits.
Solar panels are your chance to impact climate change. Currently, most of our energy comes from the burning of fossil fuels, which release tons of toxins into the atmosphere. But solar has the potential to be an ending to greenhouse gas emissions. A conversion to solar energy to generate power means a cleaner, more sustainable way to power your home. And most importantly, reliable.
Solar panels offer power when you need it the most. Whether it’s rolling blackouts or a complete power outage, solar panels with a battery backup have got your back. When you have a solar panel battery backup, energy storage and use for when the lights go out is never a concern. A solar panel battery is safer and cleaner source of power protection when the dirty electric grid fails.
Green Living with Solar
When you’re ready to take your sustainable goals to the next level, the best green living tip is out there is to go solar. Solar panels could lower your utility bill and your carbon footprint. You’ll have access to an abundant source of clean energy right on your roof. Go green for real and make the switch! Contact ADT today!