4 Ways to Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly

There is more than one reason these days to make your home more environmentally conscious. Maybe you’re concerned about climate change and want to reduce your carbon footprint. Maybe you just want to save money on those upward-spiraling utility bills.

Whatever your motivation, the steps you take are good for you and for the planet. Unless you have a lot of money stashed away, you’ll probably need to invest in some modifications incrementally. That’s OK, but you need to know where to begin.

There are multiple changes you can carry out that will build a healthier home, regardless of your motivation. Here are four ways you can make your space more eco-friendly.

1. Install a More Efficient Heating and Cooling System

Other than your car, the energy required to power your HVAC system is one of your largest sources of carbon emission. The process of heating and cooling your home consumes the biggest chunk out of your utility budget. If you’re looking for a significant way to make your home more eco-friendly or budget-friendly, start there.

That heat-breathing monster in your basement, attic, or closet isn’t the only way to keep your home warm. And that noisy outdoor compressor isn’t the only way to keep it cool. You have options for air conditioning and heating that may make more dollars and sense.

ductless AC system is more energy-efficient and less expensive to run. It also supplies the right amount of cool or warm air into every space in your home as necessary. Your ducted centralized system is simply blasting the same amount of air wherever it travels.

Ductless systems are easy to install and maintain, with no filters ending up in the landfill every season. The amount of energy you’re using to keep your home comfortable will plummet. Your carbon emissions and utility bills will follow suit.

2. Go Solar

Solar power has been around for a long time, but it is finding its footing these days. More and more energy companies are providing rebates to homeowners who invest in solar panels. And solar installation has never been more feasible and less costly.

Huge, heavy, and expensive solar panels are a thing of the past. Today’s panels are lighter, and recouping the cost of the investment can happen in far less time. What’s more, utility companies will buy back the overage your system produces.

Optional battery systems that store solar power on-site are also increasingly popular. They serve as a backup for those times when a lack of sun may not provide enough power for your home. That makes solar a more reliable energy source for homeowners in temperate climates.

Solar power is clean, efficient, and more affordable than it ever has been. Finding out how it will work for you requires an energy audit of your home’s sun exposure and power needs. Luckily, those audits are almost always free for the asking.

3. Compost

Where food scraps like banana peels, coffee grounds, pea pods, and eggshells end up isn’t always top of mind. You might assume that since they’re all biodegradable, they’ll just break down in the landfill where they toss your garbage. That means they don’t pose an environmental concern, right? Wrong. When that organic matter meets oxygen, it produces massive amounts of methane gas, which is released into the atmosphere.

Composting your scraps is the answer to reducing it. Additional benefits include providing organic fertilizer for your flowerpots and in your garden and even farming operations. Plus, compost can be used to remediate toxic soils in an organic and cost-effective way.

Don’t use the size of your tiny apartment or lack of garden as an excuse to not take this eco-friendly step. There are numerous countertop electric composters on the market and many municipalities that pick up compost. You can also give yours away to green-thumbed friends and family who might appreciate the donation.

If you do have outdoor space, you don’t need to spend hundreds on a compost system. A galvanized metal garbage can with a few holes drilled in it to allow air and moisture to enter will do the trick. Add a little sunshine, and you’re improving the earth and the Earth.

4. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

You have no doubt heard the alliterative mantra “Reduce, reuse, recycle,” but is your household practicing it? In a time when so much has become disposable, employing this strategy in your home can make a huge difference. You can have a positive impact on the planet and your wallet.

It’s easier than you may think to reduce the amount of waste you produce, but you’ll need to be intentional. Forgo plastic shopping bags by asking for paper or, better yet, by taking your own reusable bags with you. Buy a water filtering pitcher and fill your reusable cups and bottles instead of buying cases of bottled water.

Avoid single-use plastics by pulling out your own silicone or stainless-steel straw at restaurants. Try shopping at thrift stores, flea markets, and antique shops for furniture, household items, and clothing. You may be surprised at the treasures you find — and pay a lot less for them to boot.

Many communities offer recycling in addition to regular garbage haul-away services. Others have locations where you can drop off your recyclable items free of charge. Sure, adhering to this mantra takes some extra effort, but you can’t be an eco-friendly household without living it.

Go Green. Save Green.

Whether you’re motivated by saving the planet or by saving a dollar, creating an eco-friendly home will scratch that itch. Taking steps like these four ends up being a win for everyone. So whether your goal is to go green or save green, go big at home.

Elise Wu

Elise Wu, an alumna of Yale University with a degree in Environmental Policy, has spent more than two decades advocating for environmental protection and sustainable resource management. Before joining our website in 2019, she worked with various NGOs and governmental bodies, playing a key role in developing eco-friendly policies. Besides her professional pursuits, Elise is also a passionate hiker and loves nature photographer, often exploring the untamed wilderness to reconnect with the environment she tirelessly works to preserve.

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