These days, everyone is trying to find new ways to go green and reduce their environmental impact. From buying electric cars to adopting vegan diets, many Americans are trying their best to be more conscientious and environmentally-friendly in their lifestyles.
But if you’re interested in helping the earth, you don’t necessarily have to make any big, dramatic changes right away—there are all kinds of little adjustments you can make to go green at home. Here are just a few examples.
1 Plant a garden
There are several benefits that can come from planting a garden. First of all, you’ll have delicious fruits and vegetables right in your own backyard! Consuming food that you grew yourself can give you both a sense of pride as well as a sense of security, since you know exactly where the food originated from.
A second huge benefit of planting a garden is that you’ll be helping out the environment and supporting your local ecosystem. Plants naturally clean the air and replenish the nutrients in the soil they’re planted in. They also support local wildlife like birds and insects, who are an essential to maintaining a healthy ecosystem.
2 Get reusable bags
When heading to the grocery store, ditch the single-use plastic bags in favor of reusable ones. It can take around 20 years for plastic bags to fully decompose. In the meantime, wildlife can mistake the bags for food or the bags can break apart and pollute the environment by ending up in the ocean.
Bringing a reusable bag to the store with you is an easy change. Many grocery stores now sell reusable bags for next to nothing, but of course you could also purchase some online or even make your own.
3 Install solar panels
By installing solar panels on your home, you’ll be utilizing a source of clean, renewable energy and cutting down on your own environmental impact. It may sound expensive or complicated to install them but, in reality, it’s not.
Depending on where you live, solar panels can actually play a significant role in reducing your energy bill. In some cases, you can also receive tax credits and rebates on the federal, state, and local levels, making solar panels even more affordable.
But perhaps you don’t have enough money to pay for the initial costs. In this case, you should consider taking advantage of PACE financing.
What is PACE? PACE, or Property Assessed Clean Energy, is a type of financing that helps property owners pay for upgrades that promote renewable energy or increase energy efficiency. Projects that are eligible for this kind of financing vary on a state to state basis, but the installation of solar panels should qualify in the majority of cases.
4 Wash laundry using cold water
According to the EPA, hot water heating accounts for approximately 90% of the energy your machine uses to wash clothes. That means you can significantly reduce your energy usage by washing your clothes in cold water instead.
Making the switch to cold water can also save the average household around $40 per year— it’s not much, but what’s the downside? After you switch, the odds are that you won’t even notice the difference!
5 Limit the heat and AC
Heating and cooling your home can wind up using a lot of energy. In addition, there are negative side effects to using your AC. What are the downsides of air conditioners? Air conditioning units use a refrigerant that produces harmful gaseous emissions which impact the atmosphere.
In order to cut down on your energy usage, use the heat and AC sparingly. If you feel cold, put on some extra layers of clothing, wrap yourself up in a blanket, or warm yourself by the fireplace before heading to the thermostat. Also, make sure to always turn off the heat and AC when you’re out of the house.
6 Ditch the paper towels
Using sheet after sheet of paper towels can end up being wasteful and produce a negative impact on the environment. After all, paper towels generally aren’t recyclable.
Instead, try using washable cleaning cloths to clean up in the kitchen. Pick up a set of microfiber cleaning cloths from the store or make your own by cutting up old bath towels.
There are so many benefits to living an environmentally-conscious lifestyle. By making small changes in the home that reduce landfill waste and energy usage, you can play a role in cleaning the air, ocean, and natural landscape for years to come.