We all know how important the environment is — the majority of us would like to do more to help save the planet, but it can be hard to change habits or find the time. What if we told you there are plenty of ways you can be more eco-friendly without expending much effort?
Make a few simple changes and you'll lessen your environmental impact and save yourself some money on your energy bills. Here are our top five easy ways to make your home more eco-friendly.
1. Switch to LED bulbs
The majority of people already use some type of energy-efficient bulb rather than old-style incandescent bulbs, but compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs are the most common choice since they're cheap and widely available. LED bulbs, however, use the least energy of all energy-efficient bulbs.
2. Use eco-friendly cleaning products
We often think about the ecological impact of our energy use, but few people consider the chemicals they use in their home. Bleach, dish soap, bathroom cleaners, and toilet-cleaning products all wash down the drain and ultimately end up in our rivers and oceans, where they're doing immeasurable damage to water-dwelling critters. Eco-friendly cleaning products aren't perfect, but they do less damage to the environment than the alternatives. Next time you go to the store, pick up cleaning products from an eco-friendly brand. There's also the option to use household products such as baking soda and white vinegar to clean your home, which are still effective but far less toxic to you and the planet.
3. Embrace the microwave
Your microwave might not seem like an obvious eco-friendly accessory, but you can use as much as 50% less energy by cooking in a microwave instead of a conventional oven. Of course, you can't cook everything in a microwave, but they're excellent for cooking foods that would take far longer in the oven, such as rice pudding (from scratch) or baked potatoes.
Helping the environment starts at home — little changes can and do make a difference.
4. Monitor your energy usage
Use a smart meter or energy monitor to track how much energy you're using. This can help you identify when and how you use the bulk of your energy and devise solutions for cutting back. For instance, if you notice you're using a large amount of energy on washing and drying clothes, be sure to only wash full loads (rather than doing more small loads) and try to to line-dry when you can.
5. Pick up some water-saving devices
Saving water is easier than you might think. You can find a range of water-saving devices including showerheads and faucet attachments that aerate water to use less while maintaining water pressure.
6. Your eco-friendly shopping list
Now that you have some tips to make your home more eco-friendly, here's what you need to buy to get started.
Low-flow showerhead: A low-flow showerhead will help you save water. The standard flow rate for showerheads in the U.S. is 2.5 gallons per minute (GPM), so even opting for a 2 GPM showerhead will save money. We'd recommend the Speakman Icon Brass Shower Head, a high-quality model that's available in a 1.75 GPM low-flow option.
Faucet attachments: The MAONAME Faucet Filter Aerator Sprayer creates an adjustable spray of water from your faucets and limits the flow to 2 GPM.
Cistern insert: Around 30% of all home water usage is flushing your toilet. A cistern insert sits inside the cistern so it has less room to fill, meaning your toilet uses less water with each flush. The Toilet Tank Bank from AM Conservation group is a decent, low-cost option.
LED bulbs: As outlined above, LED bulbs are the best choice in energy-saving light bulbs. The Philips LED Non-Dimmable A19 Frosted Light Bulb is a popular choice, although some people find the hue a little too cool. Try Bioluz LED 40 Watt LED Light Bulbs for a warm white choice.
Eco cleaning products: You can find all kinds of eco-friendly cleaning products — dish soap, laundry detergent, all-purpose cleaner, shower spray, and more. You can even find biodegradable, compostable cleaning wipes if you want your cleaning routine to be as easy as possible. If you're looking for an all-purpose cleaner, Trinova's Green Standard Natural All Purpose Cleaner performs well across a range of tasks.
Energy monitor: Choose a home energy monitor such as the Sense Energy Monitor to keep an eye on how much electricity you're using day to day. Although they cost a bit to buy and have installed, you could save the same amount in a year or two as you figure out how to reduce your energy usage.