The term “going green” may just be the trendiest buzz word in the United States right now. Although the term has been exploited by marketers and politicians, there is still merit and importance in actually going green. Not only does making better choices for your home aid in reducing your family’s carbon footprint and helping the environment, it also can have mental and physical health benefits as well. These six green changes can help make your home a healthier and happier place, while helping the environment as well.
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How many bags of trash do you accumulate each month? If you are like most Americans, it’s probably a lot. While many people do their part by recycling, a lot of people don’t realize how much compostable food they are throwing away. Consider creating a compost pile with your food scraps or food that has expired. Not only will you feel good helping the environment, you will have fertilizer for your garden. Since gardening has been shown to relieve stress and provide exercise, starting a compost pile is an environmentally friendly way to encourage exercise and mental health.
Have you ever felt a chill when walking by a closed door or window? That signifies energy you are wasting in the winter months. Before it starts to get cold and you start to lose energy, replace worn weather-stripping and seal any gaps you have throughout your home to make sure the heat stays in and the cold stays out.
Collect Rain Water
Instead of running the hose over your plants, consider collecting rain water outside of your home to use instead. If you enjoy Do It Yourself projects, it’s possible to create your own rainwater collection system. If DIY is not your style, you can head to a number of stores and buy a rainwater collection system. You can collect rainwater off of your roof fairly easily and store the rain in barrels for watering your garden or even irrigating your lawn. You will be saving both water and money while helping the environment.
It wouldn’t make much sense financially to go through and upgrade every appliance in your home for energy efficiency alone, but once it is time to upgrade, consider energy-efficient appliances. Many people don’t consider energy-efficient appliances because of the sticker shock. Although the initial investment is higher, you will save a lot of money over time in your energy bills. Some states even offer tax credits for those who buy EE appliances.
Install Solar Panels
Besides being sleek and attractive, solar panels are an especially good choice for the environmentally conscious. Although solar panels are a big investment, they will save you major bucks on your energy bills. They can save your home or business around 40 percent of your monthly energy costs. The federal government and many states offer incentives and tax credits for installing solar panels. You will feel good knowing you’re not wasting non-renewable energy because of the natural source you can tap into.
Ditch the Air Conditioning
Even those who live in places like Arizona or Florida can find ways to cut their use of air conditioning in the hot summer months. There are plenty of ways to help cool your home without running your air conditioner constantly. Ceiling fans can help by circulating the air. Consider replacing your light bulbs with CFL bulbs, which emit less heat than traditional bulbs. You can also install window treatments that cut the sunlight and heat. Another long-term solution is to plant trees along the side of the house where the sun hits in the summer. Once it gets a little cooler, consider just opening windows to enjoy the natural breeze instead of artificial air.
Going green isn’t only good for the planet, it can be good for your mental and physical health and your wallet as well. There is no reason not to implement the smaller, easier solutions now, while you plan on making the bigger upgrades in the future. You will cut your carbon footprint while also saving money in the long run.