While there are plenty of reasons to go green in your home, it largely comes down to a matter of supply and demand. While we have a limited amount of resources, we have more people living on the planet today than ever before, and most of them are consuming these precious resources. In order to make sure we have a healthy environment for generations to come, we need to step up to the plate and do something to make this a possibility.
According to the US Green Building Council, buildings consume 40% of raw materials, 39% of energy, and 14% of drinkable water in the United States. Considering that equates to 15 trillion gallons of water and 3 billion tons of raw materials each year, there’s good money to be saved by going green. If you’re ready to do your share for the environment, here are three ways you can save money and go green around the house.
Low Flow, More Dough
If you are able to reduce your overall water consumption, you’ll not only be doing your part to conserve water, but you’ll save money in the process. There are a few ways you can do this around your home, and it starts with the shower.
While setting yourself a time limit to complete your shower will significantly lower your consumption, as well as your water heating costs, it’s in your best interest to install low-flow shower heads. While they’re priced on par with standard showerheads, the water and energy savings you can accrue can more than pay back your initial investment in a relatively short amount of time.
Other ways to save on your water around the house include planting native plants that are drought-resistant, as these plants will require less watering than others. Lastly, go to your local home improvement center and purchases a faucet aerator for each of your faucets, as these will conserve heat and water without sacrificing water pressure.
Green Energetic Savings
With the costs of both electricity and natural gas on the rise, you should consider going green, even if only to save you money each month. Start by setting your thermostat to 78-degrees in the spring and summer months, and at 65-degrees in the fall and winter. Your central air conditioner uses more electricity than any other appliance in your home, and on average, equates to roughly 15% of your electricity usage. For every degree you have your thermostat below 78 in the summer, you’re adding about 3% more to your energy use totals.
Rather than continue to purchase incandescent light bulbs any time one of your bulbs burns out, think about choosing a more energy-efficient option. The compact fluorescent bulb, halogen and LED light bulbs are all eco-friendly options that outperform the incandescent bulb – which loses 90% of the energy created to light the bulb through the transfer of heat energy. While CFL bulbs will be the cheapest of the three options, LEDs are known to use roughly half of their energy output. You really can’t go wrong with any of the three choices.
Another way you can go green is by installing energy efficient windows throughout your home. These windows will create an air-tight fortress, ensuring you aren’t heating or air conditioning the outdoors. A well-built vinyl or fiberglass window frame will eliminate any hot or cold drafts from outside, thus allowing your HVAC system to operate only when truly needed. When shopping for energy efficient windows, make sure to look for those with the Energy Star logo, as these tend to have higher efficiency ratings, and will most likely provide additional insulation to ensure your home stays comfortable year round.
Homemade cleaning products are not only extremely inexpensive to make, but are more eco-friendly than just about every product you could purchase in the store. For an all-purpose cleaner, you can dissolve white vinegar or baking soda into a spray bottle with warm water to tackle your average spills and messes.
If your bathroom or shower could use some tender love and care, you’re in luck. If you’re experiencing that unsightly ring in your toilet bowl, lightly apply baking soda to the bowl, add white vinegar and all you’ll need is a scrub brush to make it sparkle like new. You can also clean your shower and tub – along with all your countertops – by dipping one half of a lemon in baking soda and using it to scrub away stains, dirt and grime. All you need to do is rinse the countertop afterward, dry it off, and it’ll look good as new.
If you’re looking for ways to polish your wooden furniture, a mixture of white vinegar and olive oil will make a great polish. Mixing these two together, you’ll need a small rag to apply the polish, but don’t go overboard! A little will go a very long way. If you have scuffs on your wall that your traditional cleaners just can’t tackle, grab a damp cloth and your toothpaste and scrub those marks off with ease.
Rachael Jones is a blogger for DIYMother.