Lowering our overall impact on the environment is a team effort, and like a ripple effect, a little from each of us can go a long way when it comes to helping out. The place where we can start making change is the one we know best—our homes.
- Install programmable thermostats – You can turn off the AC/heat when no one’s home, or lower the temperature whenever people are sleeping.
- Replace your light bulbs – with compact fluorescent lamps and lig(CFLs) light-emitting diodes (LEDs) help save energy and have a much longer life span than traditional bulbs.
- Prevent air leaks – by using weather stripping around your doors and caulk around windows. This will help keep your HVAC system from having to constantly work to maintain a desirable indoor temperature.
- Pick energy-efficient appliances – by Energy Star, which denotes products that meet a high level of energy efficiency.
- Reduce water use – Install aerators on your faucets and change to low-flow shower heads. Outside your home, choose native vegetation for your landscaping, since they generally require less water, fertilizer and pesticides. Additionally, consider washing your clothes in cold water and then air-drying them to help save energy and money.
- Use no- to low-VOC products – Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, can cause headaches; nausea; and irritation to the respiratory system, skin and eyes, among other ailments. Aim to use no- to low-VOC paints and cleaning products in your home—more and more of these options are becoming available at your local store.
- Choose composting – Food waste in landfills generates methane, a greenhouse gas. Cut your carbon footprint by composting food scraps in a backyard composting bin or even a worm bin.