There’s been an increasing amount of concern over the past few years regarding the state of the environment and the direction things are headed. In short, the overall general consensus among those who have studied such things seems to be that it’s not good. Even if there weren’t concerns about the effects of things like global warming, taking measures to reduce the impact you have on the environment is the responsible thing to do. So what are some things you can do to make your home a more environmentally friendly place?
Whether we like it or not, we’re eventually going to get to the point where using fossil fuels is no longer a practical option. It’s estimated that various forms of fossil fuels will run out sometime in the next 50–400 years if current usage rates continue. That may seem like a long time, and maybe it’s further away than you’ll be around for, but then again, maybe not. Usage has only grown over time, so we may be closer than that. We’ll still need a source of energy though, and renewable energy sources are likely to prove to be far more environmentally friendly than fossil fuels. Solar power is one such source of energy. Once you have solar panels installed, you start creating your own energy from the sun which is then used to power your home. On some days, you may find that you generate more energy than you use. If your state has net metering laws, you’ll be able to bank that energy and use it for times when you won’t be generating as much, if any, solar power. Solar power is more environmentally friendly because it doesn’t have much of any negative impact on the environment. It’s completely renewable as well. After all, all you need is the sun.
Have you ever stopped to think about how much waste you produce? People generate an average of four pounds of waste on a daily basis. That adds up to a whopping 1,460 pounds a year. While recycling has become a lot more common in recent years, there’s still a lot of improvement that can be made. Recycling helps reduce the amount of resources we take from the environment, saves energy, reduces the amount of waste in landfills, prevents pollution, saves money, and allows various items to be used to a greater extent than they otherwise would be. If you’ve never really given thought to recycling before, it can be tough to know how to start, especially if your city doesn’t have a designated recycling pickup program.
Start in your home by having separate garbage cans. Have one for non recyclable items and one for things that can be recycled. Consider having a third one that you can use for things that can be composted. It may be helpful to have a list handy that you can use to identify which items go in which bin until you get the hang of it. If your city doesn’t have a recycling program, look to see if there are independent recycling centers in your area. You could even look into what it would take to get a program started and talk to your city representatives about it.
Plant a Garden
Planting a garden can be a great way to give back to the environment a bit. It helps reduce the amount of waste you’ll generate, since any produce you grow won’t be packaged for you to take home, only for that packaging to end up in the garbage can. It also gives you a way to dispose of some of the waste you create, since you’re sure to be able to use at least some of it for composting. Your garden will need water, nutrients, sunlight, and warmth if it is to thrive, and will do better if it’s not competing with weeds for resources. Mulch will help your plants grow better, while also keeping weeds out.
Cut Back on Water Use
Water is one of life’s essentials. You can’t live without it for long at all. You probably use more than you think, too. People use an average of 82 gallons of water every day. Surprised? The good news is that there are things you can do to cut back on your water use so you waste less of this precious resource. Install low-flow shower heads, faucets, and toilets. Turn off the water when you aren’t using it while doing things like brushing your teeth or washing your hands. Cut back on the time you spend in the shower. Choose to run the dishwasher and wash your laundry when you have full loads. Make sure you aren’t overwatering your lawn. Keep an eye out for leaky faucets, toilets, and plumbing too.
Rethink Your Energy Habits
Have you ever looked at your energy bill and thought it was higher than it should be? Rethinking your energy habits can not only lower your bill, but can also help reduce your home’s environmental footprint. It sounds simple, but turn the lights off when you leave the room. You might be surprised at how often people tend to leave them on. Save energy and money by using energy efficient light bulbs. LED bulbs are generally the most energy efficient bulbs you can buy. They may be more expensive than other types, but their longevity and lower energy usage make them a better long term investment. Unplug electronics, including chargers, when you aren’t using them. If they’re plugged in, they’re pulling energy unless you’ve got an outlet that prevents that from happening.
Taking steps to reduce the impact your home has on the environment is the only responsible thing to do if you care about it. As it turns out, there are plenty of things that can be done. Look for ways you can reduce how much you use in terms of resources and ways you can give back. If you’re at a bit of a loss for ideas, you can always have an energy audit of your home done. That can be a great way to identify areas where improvements can be made so that you can make your home as environmentally friendly as is reasonably possible.
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H&H Home Builders have constructed Energy Star Compliant homes since we burst onto the building landscape in 1995 as ‘North Liberty’s Premier Builder’. Since then, Energy Star Guidelines have evolved into what we consider today as the pinnacle of efficiency and we, as builders of ‘green’ homes, have kept pace with those guidelines and have adapted them into each home that we build. H&H Home Builders will build you what is known today as a ‘green’ home, but what has always been lesser known as a ‘sustainable’ home. Sustainable homes are quality built so that they last not just decades, but are built to maintain value, encouraging pride of ownership for generations to come. An H&H ‘green’ Home uses raw materials in a responsible way, using fewer resources, resulting in the use of less energy.