Everybody wants to save the planet. You’ve been working hard to reduce your energy consumption. You’ve probably even switched all of your lamps over to LED light bulbs. But you can’t shake that nagging feeling that you could do more. What else can you do?
Instead of a large house on a small plot, go after a small house on a large plot. Smaller homes use less energy overall. There is less space to light, heat and cool. The days of “the bigger the house the bigger the wealth” are long over. Today it’s all about minimalism.
Don’t worry about how well you will (or won’t) fit your belongings into a new home. While downsizing does require some massive paring down, you can also save money with storage. Simply store the things you do not absolutely need every day (but still want to keep, like holiday decorations, things of tremendous sentimental value, off season clothing) and viola! Look at how easily you fit into your new home!
Do you remember that “large plot” we talked to you about? Forego the lawn (who wants to mow all that anyway) and, instead, plant a few gardens! Grow your own herbs, spices, fruits and veggies. This helps you use your land more efficiently and saves you money at the store. It also saves you from having to make multiple trips to the store, which cuts down on the amount of carbon you’re spewing into the atmosphere.
Note: Build your own greenhouse (you can make small but still highly efficient greenhouses yourself without a lot of hassle) so that you can grow the veggies and fruits that you might not be able to grow well in local soil (or in local weather conditions).
Vitamin D is Everybody’s Friend
While you don’t want to let a lot of it soak into your skin, you can use it to help power your home and your stuff. Solar panels cost far less now than they used to and are easier to install than they’ve ever been. You can also buy solar chargers for keeping your smaller devices and appliances charged (cell phones, mp3 players, tablets and even, sometimes, laptops) without having to resort to A/C power.
Don’t forget the practical applications of sunlight! Arrange your home to take as much advantage of natural light as possible. Put chairs and sofas near windows so that you can use natural light for reading and to see to play games and clean.
Compost and Collect
Composting reduces the amount of trash you might otherwise throw in a landfill and is better for your garden than fertilizer. Setting up a compost pile or bin is really simple. Learn what you can and can’t compost to keep the pile (or bin) healthy.
Collecting rainwater is also almost ridiculously simple. Set up your collection apparatus to “feed” off of your home’s gutter system to collect as much rainwater as possible. This is water that you can use to water your plants and wash your cars, thereby reducing your dependency upon the municipal water supply.
What are some of the other ways of going green that you’ve found to be especially helpful (both for the environment and your wallet)?
Photo via Aine