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Today’s modern world is well aware of the negative impacts that pollution – noise, air, and light – have in our everyday lives.
Indeed, going green is plausible and could go a long way in saving mother nature but what if you lack enough time and the necessary resources to make your home more environmentally friendly.
Other than the commonly advertised expensive and complicated ways to green your house, there are more cost-effective ways to go about it.
Before getting right into it, here are a few things you should know about following the green path.
Why should you go green?
At the forefront of house construction and modern architecture are the issues of sustainability and eco-friendliness.
Back then, houses were not so keen on caring for the environment as much as today. In the spirit of a cleaner tomorrow, many homes have switched to cleaner and money-saving lifestyles.
It’s way easier to make a few budget-friendly tweaks to your home than moving into an expensive eco-friendly home.
On top of that, living in a greenhouse can have a significant impact on your health and finances. When you decide to green your home, you stand to:
The less energy you consume in your home, the less money you set aside for your utility bills. Once you decide to be mindful of how you use the power in your home, you can really save a lot.
Increase the value of your property
Considering most homes nowadays, are complying with environmental standards, doing the same to your home can drastically increase its value.
The moment you decide to put it up for sale, any interested party won’t mind parting with a massive amount for an eco-friendly home.
Improve your home’s health conditions
If you spend most of your time at home, you may want to keep it clean at all costs. Be it using zero-chemical materials or optimizing natural lighting, eco-friendly environments have lots of positive benefits to your health.
More so, if you’re caring for an elderly family member or raising a family, going green can keep your loved ones’ health in check.
Budget-Friendly Ways to Green Your Home
Who said you need to spend a fortune to make your house eco-friendly? Most of the most significant ways to become environmentally conscious don’t require you to part with massive amounts of money.
Rather than spending, you’ll be saving it instead. Although it’s free to do, cutting down your home’s negative impact on the environment will require your time and effort in equal measure.
Without further ado, here are some of the best (and fun) ways to live green without breaking your budget:
1. Insulate Your Home with Eco-Friendly Materials
Among the most significant areas to focus on when going green is your method of heating and insulation.
Every year, households consume massive amounts of energy on electric appliances tasked with the responsibility of keeping the temperature bearable.
These appliances come in handy especially if you live in a home that doesn’t retain heat for long.
While a considerable number of people can’t stand living in imbalanced environments, the detrimental effects of the appliances they use can’t be ignored.
Respiratory issues usually happen because of using toxin-producing materials. Poorly performing devices are known to worsen allergies caused by dust irritation.
Therefore, before combating the cold, ensure that your home is well insulated. Doing this will reduce the need to warm up your home.
The best way to insulate every room in your house in an environmentally friendly manner is by using sheep’s wool, wood fiber, and other less harmful materials.
Cavity wall insulation is your best bet when you want to retain heat in your home efficiently. If you can’t afford any of these, try out draft excluders and thick curtains to maintain heat during the chilly weather.
2. Use Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs
If you’ve heard about energy-efficient light bulbs before and aren’t using them, make the switch from ordinary bulbs today. Enjoying energy-efficient lighting in your home isn’t as money-consuming as you think.
First off, start by doing something you should have already done years ago: unscrew your energy-consuming incandescent light bulbs and replace them with energy efficient ones. You’ll be surprised at the rate at which your energy costs will drastically decrease.
In today’s market, there are two types of energy-efficient bulbs; light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and compact fluorescent lights (CFLs).
The former provides similar brightness to incandescent bulbs, while the latter makes use of electron movement, thereby producing dull lighting.
Between the two, LEDs offer the best in terms of eco-friendly lighting. What’s more, they last longer considering they don’t have the regular bulb’s filament that burns out fast.
Generally, both CFL and LED light bulbs are versatile, durable and cost-efficient. Additionally, both utilize amazingly less energy to light up your home. That translates to higher electricity savings and lower greenhouses emissions.
3. Check on Your Water Consumption
When talking about eco-friendly home solutions, water is an inevitable topic. Often, when the word ‘sustainability’ pops up, most people relate it to energy consumption.
If you want to green your home, you’ll need to take on a more holistic approach and check on how you use your water.
The current generation is oblivious of how much water it uses daily. That’s why basic water conservation tips such as collecting rainwater and using it for domestic purposes isn’t usually practiced.
There are so many quick, simple and eco-friendly ways to reduce your water consumption and benefit greatly from the numerous positive outcomes.
The following are some great practices you can adopt to enhance your green lifestyle and reduce your carbon footprint:
Don’t ignore your water bill
Households all over the world are reported to consume approximately 100 gallons of water every single day.
Follow up how your water use compares by regularly checking your water statement. If there’s a rise or constant reading in your bill, that’s a clear sign that you’re not as water-conservative as you need to be.
Check pipes for any unnoticeable leaks
Every year, leakages account for the loss of thousands of gallons of water. At a time in your home when no water is used minimally, keep a record of the readings on your meter on an hourly basis.
If there’s a noticeable change, there’s a leak in your home. Find it and fix it or hire a plumber if you doubt your hands-on skills.
Reduce water usage in the bathroom
A third of your home’s water use occurs in your bathroom. Focus most of your conservation efforts on your toilet, showerheads, and faucets. Replace the older models with more low-flow and highly efficient up-to-date models.
If you can’t afford newer models, see how best to save water with what you have. Did you know that you can save up to 10 gallons by placing a few bricks in the water tank?
Don’t leave the water running
Even the little things you do can send your billing cycle on an upward spiral. Letting the water run while you brush your teeth, shave or wash your hands are common household practices. To see how much water you’re wasting, place a stopper on the drainage.
You’ll be surprised at how fast it fills up. When you’re not using the water, turn it off. This simple act can save you gallons per minute.
4. Harness the Power of Solar Energy
‘Save the planet’ is a phrase that’s prevalent in today’s media. There are areas in the world that aren’t aware of the existence of power in the first place. Those who are privileged to enjoy its benefits are wasting it rather than conserving it.
The sun, being the chief source of solar energy, provides us with a clean and cost-effective way to light up our electronics at home. Harnessing solar power can only be achieved by installing solar panels.
For any eco-home, solar panels should be an essential feature. How so? Solar panels are used for a vast variety of applications around the home. They promote clean electricity that even saves enough energy in times of blackouts.
Traditional electricity has a heavy dependence on fossil fuels like natural gas and coal. Not only are they limited in resources, but they also harm the environment in many ways.
Investing in solar systems enables you to enjoy affordable electricity in times of power outages. Also, you don’t have to worry about the unpredictable utility price increments every month.
Before you consider installing solar panels on your roof, here are a few significant questions to ask yourself first:
How suitable is your rooftop to accommodate solar panels?
Solar panels won’t be of any benefit to you if they’re covered in shade for the better part of the day. If you live in a rental home and the roof can benefit you in this way, it may be hard convincing the landowner to install solar panels on their roof.
On the other hand, if you live in your own home, perform a spot check and ascertain whether it needs renovation or not. Prune your foliage right now and make the solar panels beneficial to you for years to come.
What kind of solar panels do you need?
The two predominant solar panels in the market right now are thermal and photovoltaic. Thermal solar panels use the sun’s energy to heat air or water for indoor use whereas photovoltaic solar panels convert sunlight energy into electricity using an inbuilt array of cells.
Whether you prefer a solar-powered eco-home or one heated using solar energy, settle for one that caters for your specific needs. For the installation, ensure you hire a trusted installer.
Should you buy or lease?
Purchasing your own system costs a lot more but pays higher dividends. On the other hand, leasing gives you access to more affordable electricity at little or no cost, but with limited benefits.
Make a comprehensive comparison of the average lifecycle price of the lease. Weigh the benefits against the savings you would enjoy from owning a solar panel. It all boils down to how far you’re willing to go to green your home.
5. Embrace New Eco-Friendly Methods to Clean Your Home
Using environmentally friendly cleaning merchandise goes a long way in leaving your home with clean, fresh air.
There’s something about clean air that just rejuvenates and renews. Also, living in a neurotoxic chemical-free home gives you and your family a sense of well-being, improved concentration, better sleep, and keeps chronic illnesses at bay.
Deciding to try out the following methods to clean your home will significantly reduce your home’s toxic impact on the environment.
Settle for biodegradable, non-toxic substitutes
Most products have ‘signal words’ on their labels. Tags such as ‘caution,’ ‘danger,’ or ‘warning’ on the labels of cleaning products and pesticides signify potential harm the product can have on the environment. Be careful when using products with these tags.
If you’re a DIY kind of person, you can go ahead and make your own eco-friendly cleaning products from simple household ingredients.
On the other hand, if you’d rather buy something, be sure to buy cleaning supplies with minimal effects on the environment.
Use plants to purify your indoor air
Sure, the air in our homes isn’t always fresh and clean. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that the air inside the average home is more polluted than the outside air.
Rather than using chemical aerosol sprays, settle for air-purifying plants instead. Be sure to place plants such as the Money Plant, Mother-in-Law’s tongue, Peace Lily, or Bamboo Palm strategically beside your windows or next to your doors.
Use natural and reusable cleaning accessories
Clear out all your non-renewable accessories such as mops, rags, and sponges. Steer clear from products with potentially dangerous ingredients including sponges with antibacterial agents.
Purchase accessories with minimal environmental and health impacts. Eco-friendly accessories such as HEPA vacuums, reusable mops, and safe sponges work towards providing your environment and home with clean, fresh air.
6. Buy Your Greens from the Farmer’s Market
Since we’re talking about transforming your ordinary house into a green home, it’s only fair to discuss how to save money on grocery shopping. We’ve all experienced the oh-so-common ‘organic crisis’ at one point in the supermarket.
That moment when you have a regular apple on one hand. On the other hand, you have an organic apple but it costs slightly more.
Right there, you’re not sure whether or not to spend more on the organic or settle for the other. You end up confused and ultimately walk out with the first option.
That common plight can be avoided by simply making your way to your nearest farmer’s market. In most cases, the price at the farmer’s market can’t be compared to what the supermarkets and grocery stores have to offer.
Organic fruits and vegetables are good for your health and the environment as compared to their regular counterparts. Even if it’s not labeled on the produce, they are often farmed with safer and healthier organic practices. If you’re going green, it’s best if you start in your kitchen.
What you eat is a clear reflection of your overall lifestyle. With that said, there are many items you stand to spend more for if you opt to follow the organic route – meat, eggs, and milk being at the top of the list.
For these, specifically, don’t be afraid to spend more on health benefits, environmental quality, and one-of-a-kind taste.
7. Replace the Disposables with Reusables
Most household items nowadays can be bought recycled, including aluminum foil and sandwich bags. On the downside, you still have to spend more on items like these, but they ultimately end up in the landfill.
A cost-effective strategy of dealing with this common issue is to replace items you dispose of daily with reusable ones.
In the long run, you’ll find yourself having some extra cash to spare, while simultaneously ridding your home of every environmentally harmful disposable waste.
Among the common swaps you won’t mind making is using a set of Tupperware in place of disposable containers or plastic bags. Also, plastic bottled water is not really good for your health. Instead, try using a reusable glass instead.
Finally, try keeping biodegradable coffee cups close to you to avoid buying them each day. Also, most coffee shops including Seattle’s Best, Peet’s and Starbucks offer good deals to customers who buy coffee with their own cup.
8. Repurpose Your Old or Unused Furniture
One of the best ways to be environmentally friendly is to recycle. Generally, the benefits of recycling are endless. Recycling extends to more than just cans and bottles.
For most people, the idea of recycling their furniture has never been an option. In fact, in a recent article, Planet Save reported that the least recycled item in households all over the world is furniture. Contrary to most people’s beliefs, there’s nothing wrong with recycling your furniture.
If anything, you’re adding more value to yourself and the environment as a whole. The following are five of the best ways you can free your home of excess furniture clutter:
Donate it to charity
Nowadays, charity shops are not only for old jigsaw puzzles and chintzy chandeliers. The emergence of newer charity shops has made it possible to sell unused furniture with all the proceeds being donated to charity.
Put newer furniture up for sale
If you’re not one to give stuff up that easy, you can make something out of it. Sell it on second hand and top up some cash to buy a new one. Look up legitimate ways to advertise it for free. If all else fails, social media always works.
DIYers will find this option worth putting their time and effort into. It’s also the most engaging way to recycle new or unused furniture.
Sites like Pinterest are full of ideas on how to transform your unwanted furniture into gorgeous, eco-friendly pieces.
9. Perform a Comprehensive Home Energy Audit
Rather than hiring someone to do it for you, doing a thorough home energy audit yourself is not that complicated.
Energy audits are a sure way of determining where there’s a loss of energy in your home and where you can save.
When walking through every room in your home, maintain a checklist of all the areas you’ve inspected and all the problems you’ve noticed. This list will assist you in prioritizing all your eco-friendly upgrades.
Never assume that because your home was constructed recently, there are zero chances of saving energy. There has been a rapid evolution in energy-saving technology these past few years. Among the things you should be doing when performing a home energy assessment:
- Examine your electronics and appliances and have a clear estimation of their energy consumption.
- As recommended by a manufacturer, do a thorough inspection of your heating and cooling equipment.
- Check for insulation in your furnace ducts, hot water pipes, water heater and the level of insulation on your wall as well.
- Check for obvious indoor air leaks including junctures of ceiling and walls, the edge of the flooring and the baseboard gaps.
- Caulk and plug penetrations or holes for wiring, electric outlets, pipes, and faucets.
Though doing it yourself won’t be as effective as when a professional does it, it will be easier for you to pinpoint most of the most noticeable areas.
Are You Ready to Go Green on a Budget?
It’s a good thing that most people across the world are growing more conscious of their environment. Making your home an eco-friendly place on a budget is one of the most fun things you can ever do. Though it may involve you making a switch to a frugal lifestyle, it’s worth it.
All it takes is a whole lot of planning, research, and patience. Creating it is one thing, sticking to it is another.
If you’ve chosen to take a stand in favor of the environment, try to stick to your lifestyle changes. It may be a little difficult at times but it’s all worth it. If possible, spread the word to your friends. Remember, sharing is caring.