Going Green – 7 Tips To Create An Eco-Friendlier Apartment Or Home
Going green does not have to be complicated, and it doesn’t necessarily mean than you need to buy the newest and trendiest gadgets in order to reduce your carbon footprint. The following are seven basic things you can do to start going green today and you’ll find that it’s amazingly easy to get started.
7 Ways To Create An Eco-Friendlier Apartment Or Home
1) Get Rid of That Old Fridge
The above graph from greenblizzrd.com shows us that, “In 1972, the average refrigerator used about 1,800 kilowatt hours (kwh)/year. Today, the average is under 500 kwh/year, even after factoring in energy inefficient features such as ice makers, side-by-side design and much larger average sizes.”
This means that your old fridge is almost four times less efficient than a new one. While many consumers do buy new energy efficient units, many decide to just keep that old electricity-guzzling model and put it in the garage, for example. If you really need two refrigerators, ditch the old the one and buy a new and much more eco-friendly new model. Replacing your old water heater to tankless type will also help decrease its usage and cost.
LED lighting is simply more efficient than conventional incandescent bulbs. Cnet.com tells us “if you use an LED bulb four hours a day and pay a higher rate of 16 cents per kilowatt hour, you'd save $11 per year per bulb over an incandescent.”
Therefore, if you have 20 bulbs and switch them to LEDs, you can save over $200 per year. Not only will you save money with LEDs, but even more importantly, you’ll use less energy. And as an added benefit, LEDs work great with the new smart lighting apps.
Greywater Action tells us that “Greywater is gently used water from your bathroom sinks, showers, tubs, and washing machines.” While there are complex and expensive systems available that you can install to capture greywater in your home, you can begin to make the effort by merely trapping shower water in the tub, taking it outside in five-gallon buckets, and using to water your plants.
In water-challenged states like Texas, using greywater can save you lots of money. In states like Wisconsin where water is plentiful, you won’t save as much money, but you can be assured that your recycling efforts are aiding the planet.
We know that most municipalities use those blue recycling bins, but they don’t do any good unless you carefully substitute your recyclables from your regular trash. If you live in a city or town that doesn’t supply you with individual recycling containers, make sure you seek out the recycling facilities so that you can take your items directly there.
5) Plant Native
Let’s say you move from an expensive and frigid city like Minneapolis to a warmer one like California, don’t automatically think that you can plant the foliage that grew so well in your former home. Our friends moved to Texas from a contract for deed home in Minnesota and immediately went to the Home Depot to buy all of their summertime favorite plants.
These plants grew nicely until July when they demanded lots of water and fertilizer just to stay alive in the hot southern sun. Save water and use less fertilizer by planting native species that are better suited to your home’s climate.
6) Go Solar
Please don’t misunderstand—we’re not necessarily advocating a $20,000 expense to put solar panels on your roof. You can start small—one room at a time—by going online and purchasing a windowsill solar unit that can light a room and power a laptop.
These handy devices are relatively cheap and will allow you to produce your own power—one room at a time.
7) Turn Down the Thermostat
How much money can you save by turning up your thermostat in the summer or turning it down in the winter? Direct Energy says, “The Department of Energy estimates savings of about 1 percent for each degree of thermostat adjustment per 8 hours and recommends turning thermostats back 7 to 10 degrees from their normal settings for 8 hours per day to achieve annual savings of up to 10 percent.”
Saving 10 percent on energy bills can be huge, and if it means wearing a sweater in the winter or lighter clothes during the summer., we’re all for this eco-friendly method.
We read daily reports about global warming and our corresponding individual carbon footprints and are always looking for economical ways to add layers of eco-friendliness to our homes and apartments. By taking advantage of at least some of the going green handy tips above, you will be making a sincere effort to help the planet survive.