Reducing your carbon footprint at home might seem like a confusing hassle, but it can actually be quite simple. Many homeowners think that they have to rebuild their home and upend their lifestyle to help the environment, but there are many smaller steps that can still make a big difference to the planet.
As a bonus, cutting back on your energy use and material waste can not only help save the natural environment, but it can also help you save money in the long run.
Take the following steps to reduce your waste for a greener planet and a greener wallet.
- Remember Your Three “R”s
Reduce, reuse, and recycle as many items as you can. Try to only buy food that comes in packages that can be recycled, or buy produce at farmers markets to reduce food package waste. Buying used clothes, furniture, and even vehicles is also a good way to cut back on energy waste from manufacturing, and will help you save money on needlessly new products.
- Get an Energy-Efficiency Audit
Every home uses energy to stay well-lit and warm– in fact, 45% of the average energy bill is spent on heating, according to the Department of Energy. Scheduling an energy efficiency audit with an energy professional can help you figure out where your home is wasting electricity and heat. The experts will give you recommendations for reducing waste and saving cash on your utility bills.
- Invest in Energy-Efficient Features
After your energy audit, you may realize just how much energy your refrigerator, washing machine, television, and other large appliances expend. Purchasing Energy Star rated products is an investment that will save you money in the long run in terms of quality and reduced energy bills. Even replacing windows with energy-rated panes can reduce consumption — the single-pane windows common in many homes built before the mid-1990s are notorious for releasing heat in the winter, releasing cool air in the summer, and letting in noise year-round. Upgrading household items, from windows and doors to light bulbs and microwaves, is a great and green choice.
- Get Chilly
Though insulating your home will help you stay warm and help reduce heating waste, staying cool can also reduce your carbon footprint. Specifically, use your water heater as little as possible for a cooler planet. Wash clothes in cold water, and even consider taking cooler, shorter showers. Setting a programmable thermostat a few degrees lower will also have a small impact on your day-to-day comfort, but a big influence on your energy waste.
Though reducing your carbon footprint may seem like a waste of time, taking the time to reduce energy waste can actually save you money. Use these steps to live a little more conscientiously to protect your paycheck and the planet from unnecessary consumption.