Take Your Green Home: Tips for a Sustainable Lifestyle
There are everyday ways I've discovered (ok, someone else discovered many of them, I'm just implementing) to make daily life more sustainable. Funny thing is, greening your life can have many money saving benefits as well. While no one person can do it all, we can each do our part. As an ode to Earth Day, here are a few quick and easy places to get started or reenergize your existing sustainable lifestyle efforts.
Let's start with water saving ideas. Using indigenous plants, xeriscaping, and efficient irrigation are all ways to minimize your outdoor water usage. Sounds complicated? It's really not. The plants that are native to your area are adept to the local water patterns. Xeriscaping is simply planting slower growing plants that are drought tolerant. And how often do you see pools of water outside a house because someone's sprinkler is spraying all willy nilly? I know I do every day. Adjust your sprinkler heads so they get your plants, not the sidewalk. Time them so they don't over water. And please, turn them off when it rains.
Models vary, of course, but depending on the washer and dryer you buy, you can save more than 70 percent on water usage. Also, enjoy the added bonus of 80 percent more energy efficiency. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also recommends turning off the faucet during your morning and evening tooth brushing, to save up to 240 gallons of water a month. Check out the EPA's Water Sense site for a few other ideas about how to tweak your daily routine to save water and in the long run, save you money.
And those single pane windows have got to go, or at least mine do. Dual pane will help retain heat in the winter and cool air in the summer. I've weather-stripped my doors and I can tell you from experience, it really helps.
EVERYDAY WAYS TO SAVE
- Use reusable containers or wash re-sealable bags, which generate less waste.
- Take your own bags to the grocery store and they'll usually give you a few cents off per bag.
- Hang your clothes to dry and save on your utility bill.
- Shower with your mate and use less water.
- Visit your local farmer's market, help your local economy and find some great unique foods.
- Grow your own vegetables, just because it's fun.
- Use a re-usable cup for water instead of bottled.
- When you forget your re-usable bags at the grocery store, get plastic and use the bag to pick up what the pooch leaves behind when you go for a walk. Ok, there's no real added benefit for this one, but you are leaving the trail nice for others. And make sure there are no holes in the bag.
For additional sustainable lifestyle topics, e-mail requests to hroseler[at]painc[dot]com.