There are many little things you can do to make a big difference, but sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. The idea of greening your home may seem overwhelming, but practical steps can help. Here are some easy steps for making your home – and the world – a little greener.
Saving water is a major component of going green. Here are some ways you can do that.
* Hand-wash dishes in a sink of soapy water instead of in the dishwasher. Use your dishwasher for a drying rack!
* Turn off the water when you are scrubbing dishes. Put the clean, soapy dishes in a dishpan or the other side of the sink, and then rinse them all at once in one session. Pour boiling water over them to sterilize and speed drying.
* If you do use an automatic dishwasher, run it only when it’s full.
* If your dishwasher requires that you pre-rinse dishes, soak them in a sink full of water and rub them with a sponge before loading the dishwasher. That way, you aren’t standing there with the sink water running while you pre-rinse and load every dish.
* Run your washing machine only when it’s full as well.
The average home uses a lot of electricity, particularly with appliances like the refrigerator, heating and cooling system (more on that later), washer and dryer, oven, and so forth. Here’s how you can green your home in these areas.
* Close the refrigerator door when you’re pouring a drink or considering what to get out of the fridge.
* Replace conventional light bulbs with CFL bulbs, and put lamps on timers.
* Consider LED for lighting as well, particularly holiday lights.
* Solar lights do well for outdoors.
Heating and Cooling
Heating and cooling systems are energy users for sure. Try some of these steps to make your heating and cooling greener.
* Use fans when the weather warms up and save the AC for really hot days only.
* Place draught stoppers along the bottom of doors to keep cold air from sneaking in.
* Keep your furnace filter clean; change it frequently.
* Consider installing a timer on your thermostat. If you don’t install a timer, make sure to turn the thermostat down when you leave the house and when you go to bed.
* Dress appropriately. You’re going to use a lot more energy to be comfortable if you’re wearing a t-shirt in winter or a sweatshirt in summer!
* Open blinds and curtains in the winter to let the sunshine in. Conversely, use blinds, curtains or window tinting in the summer to keep things from heating up too much.
Keeping the air in your home clean is a great start to going green.
* Use an air purifier, or better yet, use houseplants (they don’t use electricity!). Ficus, palm, schefflera, spider plant, and other plants make good air purifiers.
* Don’t use harsh, chemical cleaners or plastics that “out gas” dangerous chemicals.