The energy bill. By far, it tends to be the biggest bill that we pay in our home life. In fact, behind mortgaging/rent and our car, it’s our biggest regular bill. It’s no wonder that it’s the most commonly touted reason to start living a green lifestyle. Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s the only one. We all know that the way we consume and pollute our world these days just isn’t all that sustainable. Disturbing trends in culture and business will continue. But by making a stand and making your own life more sustainable, you’re a valuable part of the change we’re seeing slowly but surely. That change starts in your home and your family. So keep reading if you want to know how to be it.
Learn more about your energy costs
To know where you are most likely to make savings and cut energy use, you need to know your costs. Of course, looking at your bill, you already get an idea of how much you’re spending on energy. But how well do you understand where exactly you’re using all that energy? Getting educated on how much energy your electrical goods tend to use is a good way of preparing yourself for change. If can help you judge products by energy usage in the future. But you can also use things like Curb and other similar devices. These actually measure the individual use of energy through real-time energy consumption reading. The more you understand, the easier it is to decide what you should spend less time with. You can also check out this informative article where Douglas Healy shares his thoughts on how America should make the change to sustainable energy.
Updating your appliances
Indeed, it’s the bigger appliances in your home that are going to have the bigger impact on your energy bills. In particular, you need to look at your refrigerator, washing/drying machines and HVAC systems. Making some changes here can have a huge impact on your energy consumption. For one, if they’re in need of maintenance or a fix, they could be wasting hundreds on energy that’s not being used right. Older machines tend to be a lot more inefficient, too. Obviously because of the fact that our focus on saving energy is a recent development more than anything. Look at updating or fixing your HVAC systems with the help of services like Save Home Heat.
The power of the sun
It’s not just how you spend that all important energy, of course. It’s also where you get that energy from. The search for renewable energy sources is a big part of the push for a greener future. A lot of people look towards the proven ability of solar energy. If you do make the initial investment to install solar panels, it can indeed turn out to be cheaper than conventional fuels. It can also be a working way of getting all your energy needs fulfilled. Of course, it might be more difficult for someone to get their energy needs fulfilled if they don’t live in an area with enough sunlight. However, there are also solar powered water heaters that help build a supply of warm water. It works in tandem with conventional heating so, even if your solar energy runs out, you’re not left in the lurch.
As we’ve said, the big appliances tend to have a bigger share on the kinds of energy consumption your house is having. But they’re not the only influence. We all use a lot of lighting, particularly at night. One way to combat the cost this has is by relying more on natural light when we have enough daylight to make that choice. But the kind of lights we use at night also plays a role. Choosing carefully your next bulbs can cut down your energy costs. Of course, LED lights cost more than conventional ones. In the long term, however, you do see a lot of savings as well as bulbs that generally last a lot longer.
Energy use in our house isn’t the only way we should think about making greener changes, however. Another resource we ought to take more care in conserving is water. It still doesn’t seem real to a lot of people but the fact is that we are running out of usable water. We’re seeing the effects in some part of the world already and in the next couple decades it may be hitting close to home, too. That’s why we should work to conserve more water. Using special shower heads and faucets can help you do that, for one. So can conserving by neglecting to wash single dishes and smaller piles. Let the dirty dishes pile for a while until you can wash them all in one go.
A lot of our energy costs goes towards controlling the temperature of our home. We can be more mindful about just when we decide to turn on the heating or air conditioning. Realistically, however, we still need to rely on them to live a comfortable life. One way of relying less on them is by making sure our home is well and truly insulated. If you have no insulation on your home at all, your local government may be able to do something about it. Otherwise, installing it in your roof and basement isn’t too difficult.
The home isn’t the only place we tend to consume way too much fuel, either. In fact, most of our fuel consumption comes from those hungry automobiles we’re all driving. There’s a certain freedom and sense of control in driving your own car. However, it you don’t necessarily have to rely on it, try refraining from driving your car so often. If you’re heading somewhere in your city or town, try using public transport a little more often. Even better, if it’s a shorter distance, you can ride a bike there. Sure, you might be a little sweaty at the end. However, not only are you doing your part towards the environment but you’re getting some excellent cardio as well. Every time you turn to pick up the car keys, wonder if it’s worth taking the trip by car.
Less isn’t always the answer, however. Besides, even if you are driving less, you can still push further to make it even more environmentally friendly. Hybrid engine cars or entirely electric cars are rising in a big way. What was once a fringe idea has grown from two commonly selected models to dozens of them nowadays. It seems like every car manufacturer now has a hybrid or electric option. They may not be quite as performance heavy as their conventional cousins. However, these sustainable autos are cheaper and a lot better for our environment. If you want to take a bit of the guilt out of your love of driving, do it with one of these.
Living a more sustainable life isn’t just about reducing what we use. It’s also about making sure what we use goes on to have further use. Despite the huge strides we’re making towards the cultural support behind recycling, there’s a long way to go. A lot of people still don’t realize the extent of what they can recycle. Or they might not quite feel up to the effort of making the trip to depositing some of their recyclables. Use recycling charts and find information from your local government. Get to know the ins-and-outs of where used goods can go. Make a checklist to look at every time you’re about to throw something out. That way you minimize your waste and keep plenty of resources going back into the system.
Add some life to the house
Of course, one of the ways to add a greener life is to literally add a bit of greenery into the home. The benefits of keeping a houseplant inside the home aren’t necessarily in saving energy or conserving. But they do have tremendous benefits for introducing positivity as well as cleaning the air. Air quality in homes and workplaces is a huge factor on getting sick. Having good air flow in the home should be a priority. However, with plants, you can make it all the easier. It might also make you less reliant on using the AC when summer brings that famous mugginess with it.
There are plenty of changes you can make outside the home as well. A green approach to gardening consists of loads of techniques to make your life more sustainable in general. Firstly, there’s saving on water. Using ‘grey’ water reduces the amount of fresh water you’re using on keeping everything hydrated. Building your garden on a slope or descending levels also encourages water traveling, meaning water usage is more spread out. You can also use your garden to grow your own food. Not only does this mean spending less on buying more to feed your family. It also means that you can use all your organic waste to grow compost. This means a lot less of it ends up in a landfill somewhere and actually keeps some use instead.