Many people feel it’s important to lower their carbon footprint, or the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions – including carbon dioxide and methane – that are generated by our actions. If that includes you, but you don’t know where to start, some of the simplest ways to lower our carbon footprint starts at home.
The Good Hands Advice Team has some tips to help create a sustainable home and lifestyle – some of them may also save you money in the long run!
What Are the Ways to Make My Home Eco-Friendly?
Change Your Light Bulbs
Trade in your old, incandescent and compact fluorescents (CFLs) for eco-friendly products like Light Emitting Diode (better known as LED) lightbulbs. They cost a bit more to purchase, but LEDs are more energy efficient (so need to be replaced less often) and they use less electricity. In fact, Energy Star rated products use approximately 70 to 90 per cent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs, which can save you money on your electricity bill.
Remember to dispose of all lightbulbs safely at a recycling centre in your area or a hazardous waste depot, depending on the type of bulb. Also, turn the lights off when a room is not in use to save even more.
Wash Your Clothes in Cold Water
About 90 per cent of the energy used to do laundry in a hot cycle goes into heating the water. Cold water can clean your clothes just as effectively.
While you’re at it, turn the temperature on your water heater down to 49°C (120°F). Any higher may produce scalding water.
Clean Out Your Dryer Lint Trap
Sticking with the laundry theme, be sure to clean your dryer’s lint filter trap before every load, and clean the dryer ducts at least once year. Lint build-up can reduce air circulation in the dryer, meaning it has to work overtime to get the job done. Better yet, in warmer weather use a clothesline and let Mother Nature do the rest. Also to note, unruly lint is also a common cause of house fires – which is another great reason to keep those filters clean.
Utilize the Sun
You can help lower your cooling and heating bills by regulating how much natural light you allow into your home. On cool days, open your curtains and blinds to allow the sun to help warm up your home naturally. On hot days, draw curtains and blinds to keep the heat of the sun out – especially at peak periods in the day. Drawing curtains at dusk can reduce heat loss by 15-17 per cent.
Invest in Solar Panels and Energy Star Appliances
Speaking of utilizing the sun, consider purchasing a solar panel. Since the panels rely on sunlight, so long as the sun is shining, they produce clean energy all year long – even during the winter! Look into the Greener Homes Grant, which provides financial assistance for those who want to incorporate solar energy into their home design. You can also consider investing in energy star appliances to save on your electricity bills.
Switch to Natural Cleaning Products
Did you know that many of the products you already buy for your pantry (such as vinegar, salt and lemons) can also double as cleaning products? That means you can stop paying for fancy cleaners that contain ammonia and other toxic chemicals that end up in our soil and water.
Use a Special Insulation Blanket for Your Heater
When you wrap your electric water heater in a special insulation blanket, you may reduce standby heat losses by 25 to 45 per cent, which usually works out to be about four to nine per cent of your water heating costs.
Invest in a Zero Wastewater Filter
We’re all aware that plastic water bottles are not environmentally friendly, but you want convenient, chemical-free drinking water, right? Check in with your local municipality, they can give you information about your tap water. You can also opt for a refillable zero wastewater filter or a filter that fits right onto your kitchen tap. To take water with you, buy a refillable water bottle instead of using disposable plastic ones.
To cut down on air conditioning, try planting. Trees around your home’s east, west and south sides can help shield it from the strong summer sun. To let the winter sun in, keep the north side clear. Shrubs, gardens, trees and other plants can also serve to direct breezes, shield areas of the home you want to keep cool and generally improve the air quality of your home.
Opt for Riding a Bike
With the weather warming up and the days getting longer, why not get the most out of them? Opting to take a bike instead of a car for all your local travels can significantly reduce your carbon footprint. What’s more, when you ride your bike to work, you incorporate exercise into your day which means you can skip your cardio workout at the gym.
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