Global warming and climate change are rapidly altering the earth and life on it — and not in a good way too. Sea levels are rising, islands are disappearing, and many animals are losing their habitats.
These phenomena have left — and continue to leave — a painful mark on human lives. Rising temperatures are drying water supplies, killing crops, and causing many skin-related problems and diseases.
No one person or nation can stop global warming and climate change. But if every person on earth does what they can, humans can mitigate the problem and give the earth time to heal.
You can start in your own backyard. Consider these simple ways to make your home an eco-friendly space.
Use Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs
Good lighting is important at home, both for practical and aesthetic reasons. But lighting is one of the chief energy consumers in your home. You can lessen your energy consumption by switching your standard incandescent bulbs for compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) and light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs. Sure, standard incandescent bulbs are cheaper than CFL and LED lamps are, but they consume significantly more energy and don’t last as long.
A CFL bulb can produce the same brightness as a 60-watt incandescent light can while only 14 watts. An LED bulb uses even less, just 10 watts. While an incandescent bulb’s life span is 1,000 hours of use, a CFL bulb can last for 9,000 hours, and an LED bulb for 10,000 hours.
Not only do you help save the environment, but you also save money on your electric and utility bills. You can use this energy calculator to see how much energy your light bulbs consume in a number of hours.
Install Aerators on Faucets
A faucet aerator is device that mixes air into the flow. It lessens splashing and controls the direction of the waterflow. Standard aerators release water at a rate of 2.2 gallons per minute (GPM) while a low-flow aerator only expends water at 0.5 GPM. By using a low-flow aerator on your kitchen, bathroom, and other faucets at home, you can save up to 77 percent more water every year or about 18,000 gallons.
Use a Low-Flow Showerhead
In every home, the bathroom is where 47 percent of the water supply inside your home is consumed. And that’s mostly because of your shower. A standard showerhead uses 2.5 gallons of water per minute.
Every day you take a luxurious 30-minute shower, you’re using up to 75 gallons. Multiply that to 365, and you use a whopping 27,375 gallons of water a year. That’s just one person. There are hundreds of millions more of people in the United States alone.
A low-flow shower is the eco-friendly choice. It cuts down the water use to half a gallon per minute. However, the low-flow showerhead won’t do much unless you change your showering habits. Taking shorter showers, using a low-flow showerhead, guarantees less water wastage and more savings.
Replace Old Toilets
Old toilets use 3.5 to 7.0 gallons of water every time you flush. Modern toilets, on the other hand, only use a maximum of 1.6 gallons per flush.
But you can go even lower with a low-flush toilet. These water-efficient toilets only use about 1.0 to 1.28 gallons of water. It’s even better when they have a dual-flush system, which determines how much water is used depending on whether you’re flushing down liquid or solid waste.
Toilets aren’t exactly the easiest fixture to change. That’s why many homeowners make do with their old toilets despite the inefficiency. You can avoid the hassle of breaking ground and creating another underground drainage system by using an upflush Saniflo toilet. You can follow this easy guide to installing a Saniflo toilet and get your new water-efficient toilet situated in no time.
Use Nontoxic, Eco-Friendly Products
Many cleaning products contain harmful chemicals that don’t just damage people’s health but also destroy the environment. The US Environmental Protection Agency named ammonia, phosphorus, and nitrogen as some of the most environmentally hazardous compounds in household cleaning products.
These compounds enter waterways when they’re flushed down the toilet and drained down the sink when you clean. Since they can’t be removed by most waste treatment facilities, ammonia, nitrogen, and phosphorus contaminate water sources (e.g., rivers, lakes, seas, and waterways) and affect plant growth.
Avoid cleaners and cleansers that use chemicals that are harmful to the body and environment. The Environment Working Group has assessed over thousands of cleaning products and lists down eco-friendly cleaning products for you.
Use Cold Water for Washing and Cleaning
Another culprit to your high energy use is your heater. The average cost of water heating is $41.10 a month with three hours of use per day. Using it more often will increase your heating costs. Lessen the use of your heater by using cold water when you wash dishes, clean your house, and do your laundry.
People insist on using hot water for washing and cleaning because they believe it removes dirt, grease, and grime better, as well as disinfect the clothes. And that’s true, but hot water also ruins your clothes, causes the color to fade, and shrinks the fabric.
There are cheaper and eco-friendly laundry hacks, so you don’t need to use hot water. Adding vinegar can help remove stains faster and disinfects and softens your clothes.
Use Energy- and Water-Efficient Appliances
It’s not just light bulbs, toilets, faucets, and fixtures that use large amounts of water or energy in your house. Washing machines and dishwashers also use a lot of water. Older washers use about 40 gallons of water per load.
Switching to a water-efficient water cuts down the water use to about 26 gallons per load. You can double the saving by opting for a model with the Energy Star on it, which indicates energy-efficient products.
When it’s time to replace old appliances, always look for energy-efficient models. They give you more savings in the long run and are the most eco-friendly choice. In the meantime, lessen the use of your water- and energy-consuming appliances. Wait for a full load before you run your washer, and don’t leave your TV on for background noise.
Open Your Windows
There’s another much simpler way to reduce your energy consumption. Open your windows or part your curtains during the day to let in natural light. Sunshine is good for you. It boosts your mood and provides vitamin D, which helps increase the absorption of essential minerals in the body, like calcium, magnesium, and phosphate.
Instead of turning on your ventilation fan, you can open your windows to release odors and “bad air” and improve air quality inside your house. Good air quality inside the house is vital, especially if you have children, elderly people, and ill patients in your home. Your bathroom, any other room that experiences a lot of moisture, needs to be aired regularly to prevent the development of mold and mildew.
Recycle Old Materials
Don’t throw out cereal boxes, old clothes, and food containers after use. You can recycle these “junk” materials so they can have use in your home again. For example, cereal boxes can be made into DIY organizers and accessories. Peanut butter and jam containers can be cleaned and used to keep herbs, spices, office supplies, and accessories.
Old clothes, if they’re still wearable, can be modified to create new pieces. Or you can make them into pet toys, cloth rags, quilts, and bags. As long as you think creatively, you’ll find a lot of use to old materials.
Change Your Bad Habits
Leaving the TV on as background noise, letting the faucet run while you brush your teeth, taking long showers every day, running the washer even when it’s not full, and not unplugging appliances when they’re not in use — all these contribute to the waste of water and energy in your home.
Your wasteful habits are the primary cause of the problem. Simply changing your old appliances or fixtures won’t have any impact on creating an eco-friendly home. The change should begin with you.
What are your favorite tips for making your home more eco-friendly?
Share your thoughts and comments with us.