Going green is a whole lot easier than you might expect. With a bevy of environmental issues affecting our air and water quality, it’s more important than ever to find ways to make a difference in the world through your daily habits. Preserving our precious resources and helping the environment in every way possible is a responsibility we should all take seriously. There are plenty of ways we can protect this planet we call Earth, and understanding your environmental footprint—and working to reduce it—can mean great things for our present and future.
- Shop Locally
You’ve likely heard before that shopping locally can help the environment, but how exactly does shopping at a corner mom and pop shop benefit the world around you? First, consider that local foods are produced close to home, meaning purchases of these produce items can cultivate a sustainable food system. It’s easy to understand why many Americans purchase produce from distance places; buying distantly produced goods is significantly cheaper, but consider the repercussions those savings can have on the environment. Just how does your food from across the country find its way to your table? Generally by plane and boat. Aircraft transport uses more fuel and produces more greenhouse gas emissions per mile than any other type of transportation, while transportation by ship produces 1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. It’s also important to consider the state of your food once it arrives; on average most food in the U.S. is picked a week prior to ending up in a store. This lack of freshness is prevalent in all types of produce that makes its way across multiple state lines; buying locally ensures your produce is as fresh as possible.
- Switch Out Your Light Bulbs
One of the easiest switches you can make in your home to improve energy efficiency is changing out your lightbulbs. Compact fluorescent light bulbs are designed to use two-thirds less energy and last up to 10 times longer than a standard bulb. Energy Star products meet both EPA and U.S. Department of Energy guidelines for energy efficiency, and can help your home save energy and money when it comes to utility bills. Consider this: an Energy Star light bulb replaces around six incandescent light bulbs, meaning homeowners can reduce the amount of light bulbs thrown out annually.
- Embrace Clotheslines
Eschew that drying machine and invest in a cheap drying rack or clothes line. This can help you save a great deal of both money and energy. In many American households, the clothes dryer is the third top energy user, following closely behind the refrigerator and washing machine. According to GreenAmerica.org, air drying your clothes can actually reduce your home’s carbon footprint by a whopping 2,400 pounds a year.
The typical household dries over 400 loads of laundry each year, and 80 percent of these households utilize electric drying machines. The average dryer uses 3.3 kilowatt hours of energy and estimates an average of 11 cents per kilowatt hour. With hundreds of loads each year, costs can add up easily to over a hundred dollars each year, as can energy usage.
- Home Renovations
If you want to make a larger impact, consider the upgrades you can make in the comfort of your own home. Browse a variety that could mean awesome savings for your wallet and reduce your family’s energy consumption. From energy efficient roofing to new energy-saving appliances, there’s no limit to the ways you can make your home better suited for function and efficiency. Out of our list, a home renovation is most definitely a costly endeavor, but there are financing options available that offer great returns. Companies like Renovate America offer a bevy of home improvement projects through PACE programs that allow homeowners to finance important energy and water-saving upgrades. More so, the upfront cost for energy efficient modern home improvement projects more than recoup their costs through energy savings and resale value down the road. If you’re looking for a way to significantly reduce your energy use, a home improvement project could be the answer.
Little acts and moves towards energy efficiency can add up to mean wonderful things for our world. Consider the ways you can incorporate some of these energy-saving tips into your everyday habits and make a difference bit by bit.