Having a greener home makes perfect sense – as well saving money on your bills and reducing your dependence on the grid, you’re also doing your bit to slow down global warming. But though most of us are aware of the benefits, we’re also hesitant to make changes: we don’t have time, we’re concerned about the investment or we’re simply not sure what to do. If you fall into of any of these three categories, this article is for you. It provides a quick overview of some of the best ways to enhance your home’s green credentials – and explains how to get started.
Reducing Your Energy Consumption
Start with your bathroom and kitchen: one of the simplest yet most effective changes you can make is to start washing your clothes on a thirty-degree cycle. Incredibly, this can save anything from 150 to 500 pounds of CO2 per year depending on whether you use gas or electricity to heat your water. (If you’re worried about your clothes coming out dirty, there are now a range of special detergents available for washing at low temperatures – and they’re often priced the same as the regular varieties!) If you have a dishwasher in your kitchen, make sure always to run it on a completely full load – and turn off the drying cycle, which can account for up to 20% of your dishwasher’s energy supply. In other rooms of the house, make sure never to leave your TV on standby and to always unplug chargers when you’re not using them.
Installing Solar Panels
This might seem like a scary, inexpensive and impractical step, especially if you live in a not-so-sunny climate. But as demand grows and research into solar energy increases, solar panels are growing increasingly more efficient and more affordable. What’s more, most experts reckon that if you live in a reasonably sunny location, you’ll be able to offset as much as 50% of your electricity bill with an average-sized solar installation. These savings add up quickly – not to mention that you’ll be reducing your dependence on your current energy supplier. If you want to think about making the switch, the first thing you’ll want to do is brush up on the science – Alinta Energy has a great, easy-to-understand overview. Next, you can start considering the costs and the experiences of other real-life energy users who’ve taken the plunge. Although the initial investment might seem daunting (as well as purchasing the panels, you’ll need to think about installing extra wiring and enlisting a specialist to help you plan your installation), many converts have found that it pays off very quickly.
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
How we choose to deal with our waste can have a huge impact on our environment – and taking care of these three R’s is a simple and often completely free way to lessen our burden on the world around us. Start by being more conscious of what you’re buying (most of us buy far more than we really need), selecting products that take a non-wasteful approach to packaging and avoiding single-serve containers and bottled water (most tap water is actually perfectly safe for drinking). Once you’ve finished with something, sell it, give it to charity or recycle it – your local council will be able to tell you what can be recycled in your area.