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How to Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly

Are you ready to get started in creating a more eco-friendly home? Use this helpful guide to help you make the necessary changes to have a more sustainable home.
How to Make Your Home More Eco Friendly

Going Green at Home

If you're feeling inspired to make your home eco-friendly, you're taking a step to help not only yourself, but the planet. The bad news: The average household has significant room for improvement when it comes to being environmentally savvy. The good news: There are many steps you can take–both big and small–that will make your home greener.
An added bonus to an eco-friendly home is that it often will save you money in the long run as you make your home more energy-efficient. Talk about a win-win!

Consider Your Water Usage

Water may be everywhere, but it's a valuable resource and one we should always be looking to conserve. Did you know that of all the water on earth, only 2.5 percent is freshwater? And of that, nearly 70 percent of freshwater is frozen solid in Antarctica and Greenland, according to Curiosity.com. Many countries lack freshwater and droughts are responsible for food shortages around the world. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 780 million people worldwide don't have access to an improved water source (safe drinking water). Keep these quick facts in mind as you look for ways to save water at home.

Turn off the faucets.

Turn off the faucets as soon as they've served their purpose and don't turn them on until you're ready to use them. Whether it's while you're brushing your teeth, washing the dishes or before you get in the shower, look to avoid running water when you don't need it. These are easy habits to get into as long as you set your mind to it.
Consider Your Water Usage Graphic

Repurpose your water.

Wash fruit in the sink over a bowl and use that to water your garden or water your house plants. You can capture rainwater in buckets to use for your garden, too. If you need to turn on the hot water in your sink or shower and let it run for a few seconds to heat up, collect that water in jars, buckets or pitchers and plan to reuse it for something else later on. You can even try to repurpose water while doing the dishes by collecting soapy water in a bowl in your sink and reusing the suds with a bit of added water to rinse off your dishes.

Make Your House a Smart Home with Home Automation

Lighting

Not only do automated lights help save energy, but they often come in fun and different colors, too. Many automated lights have the capability to be turned on and off away from home, have controls for automatically turning off, feature dimmers and brighteners (which help to save energy as well) and can be personalized to your liking. If you forget to turn the lights off before leaving your home, a smart light app will allow you to get that light turned off no matter where you are. Easy energy savings! Also, consider the types of lightbulbs you use. LED lights use 25 percent to 30 percent of the energy needed for halogen incandescent lights and last eight to 25 times longer than incandescents, according to energy.gov. Energy-saving lightbulbs that pair with a home automation system will double up on your efficiency and add to your eco-friendly home.

Thermostat

Are you controlling your home's temperature effectively? Smart thermostats can help you control the climate of your home in a "smart" way. Implementing home automation throughout your house isn't as hard as it may seem. If you have a wireless internet router and a strong wireless signal, you have everything you need to get started.
Smart thermostats learn your habits and create a habitat that suits your needs while also saving as much energy as possible. You can adjust the temperature from anywhere using the thermostat's app and can also create an automatic schedule that suits your daily needs. Many smart thermostats will also help you track your energy usage to give you insights into saving additional money and energy.

Kitchen appliances

Bright Modern Kitchen with Smart Appliances
Did you know you could get a smart dishwasher, toaster oven, refrigerator and even a smart oven? Smart kitchen appliances can save you energy due to their efficiency. Doing a solid for the environment and for your energy bill is a great victory.

Other smart appliances

If you find you like having a smart home, you can also consider a smart home security system, virtual assistants and more smart products. Installing these appliances is easy and you may even find yourself to be a smart appliance junkie once you get started.

Invest in Solar Panels

Since 2008, U.S. solar energy installations have grown 35-fold and the associated installation costs have dropped by nearly 50 percent since 2014, according to energy.gov. While installing solar panels can still get expensive, the energy savings from using solar power can be greater than $100 per month for the average household, helping to make back that investment. Plus, solar power can increase the value of your home, making it a worthy investment in that regard as well. Not to mention, there are incentives available in the United States for those who install solar power in their homes and businesses.
The average annual energy expenditure per person in the U.S. is $3,052, including transportation and residential energy, according to the U.S. Green Building Council. But by using solar power, these costs are decreased upon installation as there's no cost to utilizing the sun's power.
Home with Solar Panels
Maybe the best reason to install solar power in your home is the environmental impact. Energy in your home is typically created by fossil fuels that are burned to produce electricity. Those fossil fuels emit harmful gases associated with air pollution and global climate change.
Solar power does not pollute water resources with fossil fuels and it also doesn't put a strain on water supplies, adding to its eco-friendly nature. If you're looking to make your home eco-friendly, making the switch to solar power will go a long way. Depending on where you live, you can save anywhere from $11,709 over 20 years by switching to solar power in Washington to $31,307 in 20 years in California. And if you want to know how much energy you'll save by making the switch, the Environmental Protection Agency supplies a calculator that lets you figure out the exact amount of energy you'll save based on your emission data, location and gasoline consumption.

Hire a Sustainability Consultant

If you've continued reading this far, you're likely serious about your interest in making your home more eco-friendly. With that in mind, you may want to hire a sustainability consultant who can visit your home and assess the conditions. The consultant will take a look at your heating and cooling systems, the windows in your home, your kitchen appliances, your front door and more. In doing so, they'll supply an assessment of how you can lower your carbon footprint and commit to a more eco-friendly way of living.
Make Your Home Greener Graphic

Properly Insulate Your Windows and Doors

Speaking of taking a look at the windows and doors in your home, you'll want to make sure those windows and doors are properly insulated. The insulation for your roof is also paramount. You'll use less energy when the heat and air conditioning are staying inside and not seeping out through the walls, doors, floors and windows.
You may realize it more during the winter if the cold air is getting inside, but during the summer when you're running the air conditioning, you can quickly find yourself with a hefty electricity bill when the air conditioning isn't running efficiently and escaping due to faulty insulation. Trust us when we say you don't want to pay to use an HVAC system that's seeing air and heat seep outside of the house due to insulation issues. Double glazing windows can help to keep the outdoor conditions outdoors and the climate in your home in balance. Covering hardwood floors with rugs is another cost-effective way to maintain the temperature in your home as the floors can cause air to slip out through any cracks that you didn't even realize existed.

Try Out Natural Cleaning Products

Many household cleaning products contain harsh chemicals that may not only be bad for the environment, but can be bad for your health, too. A 2007 study found that using spray home cleaning products as little as once per week could increase an adult's risk of developing asthma symptoms, according to WebMD. The study also found using spray cleaners and air fresheners at least four days per week doubled the risk of physician-diagnosed asthma.
Try Natural Cleaning Products Graphic
Using chemical-free and organic cleaning products will alleviate that concern while also being eco-friendly and good for those with allergies. Using greener cleaning products helps reduce pollution and associated ozone depletion and also leads to better air quality. That includes the air quality in your home as green cleaning products are easy on the lungs and don't contain toxic ingredients that clog up the air.
It's even possible to make your own green cleaning supplies, and you can customize their scent, too. For example, vinegar can be used to clean wood floors, windows and even your trash cans. Just mix the vinegar with a little water and get to scrubbing! Additionally, baking soda can be used as a brightener and grease-fighting cleaner. Lemon juice and olive oil are both good options for DIY cleaners, too, and can add a nice scent to your cleaner. If you want to offer an aroma boost to window cleaner, simply mix together lemon juice with vinegar and water.

Start Composting

Composting enriches soil, reduces the need for chemical fertilizer, encourages the production of beneficial bacteria and fungi and reduces methane emissions from landfills, all while lowering your carbon footprint, according to the EPA. If that's not a convincing argument for using waste in your home to create compost, we're not sure what is. Simply put, compost is organic material that's added to soil to help plants grow. Instead of throwing away your food scraps and yard waste, you can compost them at home. It's possible to make a backyard compost or indoor composite if you don't have outdoor space. Don't worry about bugs! Once you learn the ins and outs of composting, you'll know that a compost should not attract bugs or rodents if maintained properly. Learn more about composting here.

Be Smart in the Kitchen

Open Oven Door in Kitchen
You may not realize it, but opening the oven door while you're cooking lets out a huge amount of heat and, in turn, is a waste of energy. The same is true of cool air escaping when you open the refrigerator. Little things like not running the dishwasher until it's full and using the right size burner on the stove can make a difference in the kitchen. If you're boiling water, opt for an electric kettle which is twice as efficient as boiling water using a pot on the stove. Avoid using paper goods and instead use kitchenware that's reusable.
Making your home eco-friendly shouldn't be an inconvenience. You can choose how significant of an investment you want to make to the cause and customize your “going green” plan to make sense for your budget and needs. Recycling and buying recycled goods are easy ways to be more eco-friendly. Buying a smart home automation system or making a composter are bigger-picture plans to put in place to lower your carbon footprint. You'll likely find that once you make the switch to a more eco-friendly lifestyle, you won't regret it–and your wallet won't either.

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