Four Easy Ways to “Go Green”
Whether you want to reduce your carbon footprint or just save a few bucks, there are many benefits to “going green”.
Across the country, people are installing solar panels, buying electric cars and implementing water reclamation systems in their homes to make their property more environmentally friendly. However, these solutions are often both difficult and costly to install.
Thankfully, there are many simple solutions to help you go green. Since we just celebrated Earth Day, I wanted to share four easy ways I’ve started to “go green” in my own home.
Reusable water bottles
Plastic disposable water bottles fill up landfills and take eons to decompose. If you drink a ton of water throughout the day, all those cases of water can put a dent in your bank account as well. Head down to your local supermarket or department store and pick up a reusable stainless-steel water bottle for $15 or so.
The double-walled varieties can help keep your drinks cold longer, they are easy to wash and maintain, and they are available in flip-tops or screw-tops for ease of use.
These bottles are BPA free as well, so you don’t have to worry about toxic chemicals leaching into your water. You can also pick up a filtered water pitcher or tank if you don’t like drinking tap water. My family picked up a water bottle for each of us, which we can refill throughout the day.
A stainless-steel bottle is one of the most convenient ways to go green and save a ton of money!
An electric heating and air conditioning system can be one of the biggest factors in high electric bills. You can combat this by setting your thermostat two degrees warmer than usual in the summer, and two degrees cooler than usual in the winter. When we did this in our household, we saw our electric bill drop by $20! You may have to toss on a hoodie in the winter or break out that tank top a little sooner in the summer, but the energy savings is well worth it.
Another great option is investing in a smart thermostat. Products such as Nest and Ecobee are gaining popularity because they allow you to control when your HVAC system kicks on and what areas to heat or cool. Most basic systems will run you around $150, but we were able to reduce our energy bill by an additional $25-$30 when we installed our system. After six months, our system has already paid for itself! They come with detailed instructions and aren’t difficult to install as well.
Taking control of your home’s climate can save you money and make your home a little “greener”.
Energy-saving LED lightbulbs
Your average incandescent light bulb is like a tiny little energy vampire, sucking up energy and adding dollars to your electric bill. According to Energy Use Calculator, a 60-watt incandescent used for 5 hours per day will end up costing you nearly $11.00 per year. Multiply that by the number of light bulbs in your house, and you can see where a lot of your money is going. The solution? Start swapping those old incandescents with LED bulbs.
These bulbs will cost you around $2.00 apiece, but a year’s worth of use will only be around 20 cents. Switching your most-used fixtures to LED can end up saving you hundreds in the long run. Plus, LEDs have an incredibly long lifespan – they can last up to 10,000 hours! When we used incandescents it seemed like we were replacing them every six months. You will have fewer broken bulbs in landfills, you will reduce your energy consumption, and save some cash.
Can you think of an easier way to go green than screwing in a lightbulb?
Reusable shopping bags
Millions of plastic bags get tossed in the trash each year. All these bags can end up in landfills, where they sit for decades without decomposing. If they end up in a body of water, they can have a horrible impact on sea life. If environmental impact is your main motivation for going green, you can take action by picking up a few cheap reusable shopping bags.
Many supermarkets carry simple canvas or cloth bags for a dollar or two that can be used again and again without a ton of plastic ending up in your garbage can. You can even pick up insulated bags which help keep your perishable foods nice and cold on your trip home.
Some stores even offer incentives for using a reusable bag. Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods will give you a small discount on your grocery bill; Lucky’s gives you a “charity chip” that you can donate to a variety of charities in-store.
A reusable shopping bag is a fantastic way to go green every time you go to the grocery store.
From saving on energy costs to saving the planet, you can go green with just a few simple changes around your home. You will feel great about helping the environment, and your bank account will be a little happier as well.