Updated April 19, 2018
I try to be a conscientious homeowner, but I admit it’s not always easy. Sometimes being green at home isn’t the most convenient option and it can even seem cost prohibitive (new windows are just not in my budget right now). However, I’ve come to realize that being eco-friendly can start small and that small changes can help save money in energy conservation in the long run. Perhaps those savings can then fund larger projects down the road.
Here are a few easy ways to be more green at home.
Change your light bulbs
Trade in your old incandescent and compact fluorescents (CFLs) for Light Emitting Diode (better known as LED) lightbulbs. They cost a bit more to purchase, but LEDs last longer (so need to be replaced less often) and they use less electricity. In fact, LEDs are approximately 80% more efficient than CFL bulbs. Remember to dispose of all lightbulbs safely. Be sure to locate a recycling centre in your area and a hazardous waste depot. Also, turn 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 hot water goes into heating the water. Cold water can clean your clothes just as effectively. I’ve seen varying reports on how much money you can save annually by switching to cold wash (from $25-$150) as it likely depends on how much washing you do.
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
Sticking with the laundry theme, be sure to clean your dryer’s lint filter before every load, and clean the dryer ducts at least once year. Lint build-up can result in a dryer having 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.
Wrangle the sun
You can help lower your cooling and heating bills by regulating how much sun you allow to enter your home. On cool days, open up 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.
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. Canadian Living offers some great cleaning “recipes” to get you started.
What else do you do to be more green around your house? Tell us below in the comments!