Making your house "green" is one of the easiest and most beneficial ways for the average person to contribute to the national effort to reduce consumption of raw materials and energy use.
The following is a list of simple, affordable ways to make your house eco- friendly:
Click on the links in white to learn more.
1. Replace regular light bulbs in your home with the more energy efficient ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent light bulbs. By replacing even your five most frequently used light bulbs, you can save $100 per year!
2. Save Water! Install low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators to save resources without sacrificing water pressure. An efficient shower head can save a family of four up to $285 per year. They can cost less than $15, and installing them couldn't be easier: they just screw on.
3. RECYCLE! The paper, metal, glass, and plastic products in your home can usually be recycled, meaning less garbage in landfills. Also, recycling reduces the demand for raw materials. By recovering materials from old products we are removing or reducing the need to extract yet more raw materials from the earth.
Find out what to recycle by interpreting the numbers on your recyclables by checking out the Guide to recycling common materials.
4. Clean green. Stop buying household cleaners that are potentially toxic to both you and the environment. At your local supermarket you will find many eco-friendly alternatives to the usual cleaning products. Everything from window cleaner to laundry detergent, companies have made cleaning solvents which are safe for the environment and are just as effective. Also, you just buy one plastic bottle and buy refills which come in smaller bottles (using less plastic) and just add water.
Check out the Ecover brand website to find products and more information on cleaning green.
5. Reduce use of plastic bags! When you shop for groceries, instead of choosing paper or plastic, choose to bring your own cloth bag to reuse each time you shop, cutting down millions of plastic grocery bags used by consumers each year which end up in landfills and contribute to global warming. Stores like Marsh Supermarket actually credit shoppers five cents for each reusable bag they use instead of plastic bags.
Check out http://Reusablebags.com to find out more about the problems associated with plastics bags.
6. Make greener home improvements such as replacing your windows with more energy efficient windows, solar panel roofs, better insulating your house, or replacing appliances with more eco-friendly ones. These changes can be a little costly, but with what you will save in energy costs, they will pay for themselves in just a few years. Also, the 2005 Federal Energy Bill offers tax credits for exemplary residential efficiency purchases (making your home green!). For existing houses, the available credits are ten percent of the improvement cost.
Find out exactly how much you save with these changes.
Learn where and how you can recycle your old appliances by checking out recyclingcenters.org
7.Use programmable thermostats. Save 10% on your heating and cooling costs just by setting your thermostat back when you're not home and while you're sleeping. Program your thermostat to 78 degrees F or higher in the summer and 62 degrees F or lower in the winter. If you tell it to return to your preferred temperature before you return home, you won't ever know the temperature changed, until you look at the reduction in your energy bills. Find out more about programmable thermostats.
8. Plant a tree! Not only is this a good way to replenish earth's precious resources, it's also a good way to significantly lower energy costs. In the summer, trees provide shade allowing less heat to come in, limiting use of central air. In the winter, bare trees allow the heat to come in, helping to heat your house naturally.
9. Use an electric lawn mower. A two-stroke, gasoline-powered lawn mower releases as many hydrocarbons into the atmosphere in 30 minutes as a car does in 90 minutes. Hydrocarbons are major contributors to global warming and are emitted by machines that require fuel to operate, such as a car or lawn mower. Electric mowers do not use gasoline, which saves your family money, saves the environment resources, and does not contribute to global warming. Electric lawn mowers are relatively inexpensive, and with the money you save in oil and fuel costs, the mower will pay for itself in under a year. Here are some environmentally friendly tips on choosing a mower.