By now, we all know a few ways to go green in our efforts to save the environment; drive your car less, carry reusable grocery bags more, and never throw plastic or glass jars into your regular trash. So, this year for Earth Day on April 22, we’d like to celebrate all the little ways you can make daily steps toward choosing the Earth at home.
Wondering if one person can really make a difference? We could keep recycling the same pro-planet arguments (pun intended) but maybe it’s better to look at the big picture – literally. Check out NASA’s Earth Observatory where satellite images capture changes on the planet’s surface and in the atmosphere.
Ready to help save the planet? Here are 10 easy ways to reduce your indoor carbon footprint:
- Turn stuff off when not in use. Flip the light switch when you leave a room, and power off your computer at night. Can’t bear to shut down your computer? Alternately, you can enable Sleep Mode but beware of Screensavers as some of them use additional power to run. And for appliances that aren’t in heavy rotation, consider using power strips so you can turn off multiple things with one power button. An electricity usage monitor, such as a Kill A Watt®, can help you determine how much energy your gadget is using when turned off. (And remember some appliances, like refrigerators, can’t be turned .)
- Turn the thermostat down in the winter and up in the summer. Better yet, get a smart thermostat that can be adjusted from your smartphone. How to maintain the temperature inside your home? Start by keeping the outside air where it belongs – outside. Use draft stoppers inside your front door and invest in wood blinds or weather proofing treatments on your windows. Ceiling fans can also help cool your home during warm months, and if your fan has a reverse switch it will push warm air back down during winter.
- Replace old appliances with new ENERGY STAR® certified models. Old appliances can be energy hogs that drive up consumption and cost. That handy Kill A Watt can also help you out here by letting you know how much energy your old appliance is using.
- Recycling isn’t just for plastic and glass jars. Before you replace old furniture, consider giving it a new life; you can reupholster or slipcover a couch or armchair and you can repaint or refinish a wooden dresser or bookcase.
- Reuse grocery store bags. Did you forget your reusable bag and had to pick up a paper or plastic option? No worries since either is a good fit for most small wastebaskets in your home office or bath.
- Two ways to reduce paper waste: 1) Sign up for paperless statements from anyone who sends you a monthly bill or account summary. 2) Switch to digital magazine subscriptions. Reading a screen isn’t your thing? Donate your magazines to a local library once you’re finished with them.
- Reduce water consumption by fixing leaky faucets and only running the dishwasher and washing machine when you have full loads. Cleaning clothes in cold water rather than hot will also help dial down your energy consumption, and you can turn down the temperature on your water heater to save even more. And while we’re on the subject of water, using a water filter will reduce the need to buy bottled water in plastic containers.
- Reduce your product consumption. Keep your closets organized so you know exactly what you have on hand and what needs to be added to the shopping list. (Haven’t we all ended up with five boxes of pasta, three bottles of shampoo, and a year’s supply of toothpaste because they were hiding on untidy shelves?) The same thing goes for your clothes; access what you have now so you don’t end up with five identical black shirts.
- Reduce plastic around the home by purchasing pet toys made from sustainable materials. Also look for pet bedding and leashes that are eco-friendly and earn bonus points for healthy products that don’t incorporate dyes or chemicals. Your pet will thank you too!
- Increase your home’s sustainability by growing an indoor garden. Window boxes, planter boxes, terrariums, and hanging planters are easy ways to add a mini-garden to any room. Try an herb garden for your kitchen, with chives, mint, parsley, thyme, and oregano as the best choices for growing indoors.
Inspired to make a really big difference? Consider a new energy-efficient home with a solar power system and ENERGY STAR® certified appliances. Buying new means you’ll be getting the most advanced, energy-saving technology available.