5 No-brainer updates for an eco-conscious home
Is your home an energy-sucking, water-slurping, garbage-dumping pig? Don't feel bad. Do something about it! You don't have to have a roof full of solar panels or a Prius in the driveway to reduce your home's impact on the environment. Here are five no-brainer updates you can make today.
Install a shower timer
You may love to luxuriate in a long, hot shower, but you're not doing the environment any favors. Help your family save precious water and money by installing a five-minute shower timer. Go for a digital timer, or pick a low-tech hourglass timer. If you can't trust the kids (or yourself) to abide by the timer, consider installing a device like the Shower Manager that actually turns your shower off after a designated time limit.
Switch off and switch out your lights
Lighting accounts for about 11 percent of a typical home's energy bill. Get in the habit of switching off the lights when you leave a room, and you'll save precious energy and money. To reduce your home's energy consumption (and your energy bill) even more, switch out your lightbulbs and replace them with CFLs (compact fluorescent lightbulbs). CFLs last longer, and use about 75 percent less energy than standard bulbs. If you haven't looked into CFLs lately, you'll be happy to know they now come a range of non-swirly designs, including standard bulb shape, globe, flame-tip -- even bright yellow anti-bug color that scares away creepy crawlies while you're entertaining outside.
Replace regular batteries with rechargeables
Start by replacing the batteries in your TV remote controls with rechargeable batteries. It's a simple change that has a huge impact. When rechargeable batteries such as Duracell Stay Charged Rechargeable Batteries are used in high-drain devices, their ability to be recharged hundreds of times can save you hundreds of dollars (as compared to alkaline batteries).
Washing clothes in cool water instead of hot is one of the easiest eco-conscious updates to make at home. According to Adam Gottleib of the California Energy Commission, "Up to 90 percent of the cost of washing clothes comes from heating the water."
Create less waste
If you bring less into your home, you create less waste. Adopt this mantra of the eco-conscious Johnson family of the Zero Waste Home blog: Refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle. Bring your own reusable bags to the grocery store, stop buying things you don't need, and just say no to anything that is just going to end up in your recycling bin or garbage can. A good way to get started is to go through your home and donate or recycle all that extra stuff cluttering your desk, filling your closets or collecting dust on shelves. By purging all the extras and paring down to the essentials, you'll soon see that it can be quite satisfying to live with less.