You can do a huge part to reduce your personal carbon footprint and help the environment simply by being aware of the sustainable options that surround you. Start in your own home, as there are dozens of eco-friendly alternatives for your household fixtures.
As you go through your home and make replacements, just remember that filling the landfill with your old home fixtures will not help Mother Earth. If possible, wait until it’s time to replace something because it’s worn out. You can also donate your extras and or recycle them (find places near you here) to make the most of every item.
When the time is right, consider these eco-friendly home goods replacements:
1. Change Your Sheets
The manufacturing of cotton linens, the most common type of bedding, significantly increases the use of insecticides. Therefore, switching to organic cotton is a huge plus.
Bamboo sheets are also an excellent option. Did you know that bamboo is the fastest-growing plant on the earth? This makes it one of the most sustainable resources for your home. Bamboo sheets are not only soft and comfortable, but they’re also a great way to help preserve the planet’s natural resources.
2. Shed New Light
Incandescent light bulbs are becoming rarer, but many households still use them. Most of the energy in these bulbs goes to heat instead of light. With compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs), you can cut your energy use per bulb by 90 percent.
The technology behind light bulbs continues to advance, and today’s CFLs and LEDs are often referred to as “zero-energy” bulbs. Of course, energy is required for these bulbs to operate, but it’s so slight that you won’t notice the cost.
3. Get Cooler Thermostats
Smart thermostats can be programmed to heat or cool your house only when you’re home. They can also learn your habits and make your house comfortable no matter where you are and what you’re doing. In doing so, they conserve a significant amount of energy and shave down your utility bills.
4. Buy Power Strips
Power strips are designed to prevent electrical surges in the home, making them an imperative safety feature. But they’re also a great way to save energy that’s used by TVs, phone chargers, computers, coffee makers, microwaves and other high-voltage modern devices. Plugging the majority of your devices into a power strip can reduce your energy use by about 10 percent.
5. Nix Plastic Shopping Bags
It’s not uncommon to collect plastic shopping bags and store them under the sink for future use. Although this is better than simply throwing your bags away, supporting the use of plastic shopping bags is a detriment to the environment.
It’s better to replace them with reusable shopping bags. After you’ve bought a few highly affordable reusable bags, you won’t need the flimsy plastic versions anymore. Recycle your plastic bags instead of sending them to the landfill.
6. Get Efficient Window Treatments
Flimsy blinds, sheer curtains and kitchen window valances may fit in with your décor, but they do nothing for your energy use. Poor-quality window treatments allow hot/cold air to seep into the room; treatments that don’t properly block the sun can raise your interior temperature by 10 degrees. The right window treatments can make all the difference in your energy conservation efforts.
They also don’t always need to stay closed. During the winter, the heat generated by the sun can raise the temperature in the room, reducing your heat energy use by 10 percent.
7. Install Bamboo Flooring
As mentioned earlier, bamboo is quickly renewable and much more eco-friendly than hardwood. Bamboo is also a very trendy home flooring and furnishing material, so you’ll be up to date on the latest and greatest fashions with this option.
8. Use Energy-Efficient Windows, Doors and Siding
Windows, doors and siding all have a shelf life. After a certain amount of time, their seals begin to deteriorate, and outside air can sneak inside. Replacing these items regularly with energy-efficient models is the best way to ensure efficiency.
9. Make a Splash with Low-Flow Fixtures
Every day, the average American household uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water. Unfortunately, a large portion of that water is wasted. You can make a huge difference in reducing water consumption by installing low-flow toilets, showerheads and faucets.
You can also do your due diligence by repairing leaks. About 48 gallons of water is lost daily through leaky taps and about 200 is lost from leaky toilets. If you see a leak, get it repaired as soon as possible to conserve your home’s water use.
10. Shine Brighter with Energy Star
When beyond repair, all appliances should be replaced with Energy Star rated models. The Energy Star signifies that they use the least amount of energy possible to get the job done. Your utility bills and Mother Nature will thank you for making this fastidious choice in home appliances.
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