There are many ways you can live a more sustainable lifestyle, from recycling your plastic bags to limiting your time in the shower each morning. However, one of the most effective things you can do is to give your home an eco-friendly makeover. But why would someone want to implement these upgrades? Well, the United State’s energy use is doubling every 20 years, which can result in higher levels of carbon in the air, increasing temperatures, and other undesirable effects. But fear not. Homeowners can take a few simple steps to curb energy waste. To learn more about some of the swaps you can make, and how their effectiveness can reduce your carbon footprint, read on.
Energy Efficient Windows
Most of our heating and air conditioning energy escapes through the windows — a whopping 30%, in fact. However, replacing your older windows with more energy-efficient options can be an excellent way to offset energy waste. You’ll want to do what you can to keep your home comfortable and your energy bills low, so opting for energy efficient windows can be a great way to go.
Energy efficient windows work well since they are double-paned and trimmed with vinyl. Some even utilize Low-E glass, which can keep your home cooler in the summertime and warmer in the wintertime. They work by reducing the amount of infrared and ultraviolet light entering your home. However, they do not obstruct the amount of light permeating from outdoors, so you won’t have to worry about wandering around in the dark. The thin coating on top of the glass also reflects heat, making these windows especially ideal if you live in a hot and humid climate.
These energy efficient windows will also benefit you in a handful of other ways. For example, your furniture will resist fading, while your skin will be safe from the sun’s harmful and damaging UV rays. Therefore, making the switch is a win for the earth, your wallet, and your well-being.
This is a simple switch. Adding LED lights is another way you can turn your home into a more eco-friendly space because, unlike traditional bulbs, an LED (short for light-emitting diode) bulb is composed of recyclable materials. LED lights are also non-toxic. When you need to throw them out, they won’t pollute the soil, water, or air surrounding the discarded bulb.
But how exactly is switching to LED lighting better for the planet in the long-term? LED bulbs last longer and produce less unnecessary heat. They waste less energy and won’t need to be replaced as frequently. Even though they don’t waste as much energy as conventional bulbs, they actually provide better light quality. In other words, your home will be brighter and you’ll be making more sustainable decisions, all while saving money!
Improved Home Insulation
Though your windows are largely responsible for heat escaping your home, your house’s insulation also plays a big part too. Ensure that your insulation is working properly. If you notice your home gets beyond chilly during the winter, take the time to improve or replace your home’s insulation. Some other signs that the current state of insulation is poor may include:
- a pest problem
- excess moisture in the basement or attic
- hot and cold rooms or spots scattered around the house
Cellulose insulation is regarded as one of the most earth-friendly materials to protect your home from the elements. It’s a recycled material comprised of 85% newsprint. Cotton is another sustainable alternative.
Much like switching to energy efficient windows, ensuring that your house is properly insulated can cut down on energy wasted, and help reduce your monthly bill and carbon footprint.
Energy Efficient Appliances
Upgrading to energy efficient appliances is another easy way to transform your home to a more eco-friendly space. These appliances can include washers and dryers, dishwashers, and water heaters. They work by utilizing a minimum amount of energy required to complete the household task. When shopping, look for Energy Star designations or WaterSense labels to find options that won’t waste energy or water. If your home has older appliances, you’ll want to think about making the switch to save money and energy.
Although nearly 50% of a home’s total energy is used for heating and cooling, you can ensure your HVAC system operates as efficiently as possible by installing a programmable thermostat. You can set it to your schedule and cut the risk of heat leakage while you’re out of the house at work or while running errands. This heat leakage can happen when the temperature in your home stays consistent for the entire day. There are even some advanced thermostats available on today’s market that let you control your home’s temperature through your smartphone, so you can adjust it while you’re anywhere in the world.
Did you just move into your dream house? If so, consider purchasing second-hand items when furnishing your new space. While you may think this upgrade only applies to new homeowners, you can also implement it whenever you need a new couch or loveseat down the line. Buying secondhand, whether you’re purchasing plates or dressers, dramatically cuts down on waste produced in landfills. Getting into the knack of thrifting can shrink your carbon footprint down since landfills are responsible for 14% of CO2 emissions.
There are so many ins-and-outs of living sustainably. It’s a lifelong journey that requires constant growth on your part. However, with some of these tips and substitutes, you can shrink your carbon footprint significantly.
Your home is one of the most significant places in the world. It’s where you eat your favorite meals, and rest your head at night after a long day. So, why wouldn’t you want to create a more earth-conscious home this year? By upgrading to energy-efficient appliances, improving your home’s insulation, and a myriad of these other tips listed, you can feel better about doing your part for this great planet of ours.