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Sustainability made simple: Ways to start at home

Laura Williams, M.S.Ed. is a personal trainer, freelance writer and entrepreneur who works with a wide variety of fitness clients. She's the founder of the popular website, - Girls Gone Sporty, and she's the host of the High Impact Blogg...

Home, sweet, sustainable home

So you want to start living sustainably, but you're not ready to give up your car or your weekend shopping habit? No problem! Start by taking these simple, nearly effortless steps to enhance sustainability at home.

compost pile

Switch out those bulbs

If you haven't already overhauled your home's incandescent lighting, do it now. Replacing old bulbs with Energy Star-rated compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) or light-emitting diodes (LEDs) can save as much as $40.00 per bulb over the course of its lifetime (up to 10 years!).

How sustainable is your lifestyle? >>

Replace your batteries

Consider replacing your old batteries with rechargeable ones. You can find rechargeables in your favorite brand, such as Duracell Stay Charged Rechargeable Batteries, so you won't have to worry about whether you can trust a new brand to work. Because you can charge them hundreds of times, you could save hundreds of dollars when you use them in high-drain devices in place of alkaline batteries.

Eat less meat

Meat is one of the most expensive things on your grocery list, and livestock production contributes significantly to greenhouse gas production. Start a Meatless Monday in your house to save money and help encourage sustainability.

Consider composting

If the idea of composting brings to mind images of your dad standing knee-deep in a pile of muck with a pitchfork, it's time to revise your composting mentality. While old-fashioned compost piles are still popular, you can opt for a more modern solution with an indoor compost bin. These bins do the work for you; all you have to do is throw your produce cuttings, coffee grounds and even meat trimmings into the bin. It's super-easy and creates fertilizer you can use on your own plants.

Keeping your cleaning routine clean >>

Let the light in

One simple way to conserve energy and enhance your sustainability is to use less electricity. Because approximately 25 percent of the average American household's electricity use comes from indoor lighting, it makes sense to simply turn the lights off. To avoid living in a dreary, dark cave, though, open those blinds to let the natural light in. If you're still dissatisfied with the amount of light in your home, invest in a few wall mirrors and place them where they reflect the sun's light. This will boost the natural lighting in your home.

Overhaul your laundry practices

You'd be surprised at how much energy you waste when washing your clothes in hot water. By switching to coldwater washing and using Tide Coldwater you could save up to 80% of energy in every load and get a brilliant clean. **Based on conversion from warm/cold to cold/cold cycles for all loads in a traditional top-loading washing machine with an electric water heater.

Plan a complete home energy makeover >>

Read more

Conservation keys: What really matters
Ways to conserve in the laundry room
Keep your cleaning routine clean

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