Going green does not necessarily mean giving up modern conveniences or spending extra money on organic products or emerging green technologies. There are a number of very simple steps that can be taken that can help the environment while also reducing the amount of money that you spend each month.
Start With Your Electricity Usage
Electricity usage in an average home is often a sizable part of the monthly budget. By monitoring how you use electricity and finding ways to change your usage, it’s a relatively easy way to save money and to reduce harmful emissions that can damage the environment.
There are some simple steps that can be taken such as shutting off lights when they are not in use and switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs. Homes that have electrical heating and air conditioning can see significant savings by changing the thermostat by just two to three degrees. Spend a week paying close attention to how you use energy in the home and make adjustments that will help you save.
Make Your Own Cleaners
High-end cleaning products sometimes contain harsh chemicals that can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air. VOCs can cause repertory problems in humans and animals. Some of the chemicals can also affect local waterways and can cause algae to bloom. Simple cleaning products can be made in the home from ingredients like salt, lemon juice, baking soda and vinegar. Homemade cleaning supplies are much less expensive than some of the cleaning products that are sold in stores. If you are looking for information on how to make your own natural cleaners, check out the DIY Natural book on clears.
Your Transportation Habits
Buses, trains, and car pools can be used for travel instead of flying with a major airline. Airplanes and the fuel that they burn contribute to particulate matter and other pollutants in the atmosphere. Using alternate forms of transportation means that fewer planes will be needed in the skies. Trains and buses are very cost-effective and can actually be very relaxing on long trips. Airline fees and baggage fees can be avoided by taking alternate transportation since most trains and buses do not charge for luggage. Granted, you can’t compare with the time it saves to fly, but if you plan your trip in advance and aren’t in a rush, taking other transportation could save a ton.
Reduce Water Consumption
Excessive water use in a home can contribute to water shortages. Water purification plants also use large amounts of power in order to meet the growing needs of surrounding communities. Reducing the amount of water that is used can help to mitigate these problems. The ways to reduce water usage can include taking a shorter shower and washing dishes in a sink filled with water instead of under a faucet. Homes that have a garden or lawn can benefit from using barrels or other containers to collect rainwater during a storm. This rainwater can be used to feed plants instead of using fresh water from a hose.
When it comes to reducing our energy and resource consumption, every little bit counts. Don’t get sidetracked by only looking at major green changes such as solar paneling or the installation of a geothermal system. While the big projects will certainly help, just a few simple lifestyle changes can lower your energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint without much effort on your behalf.
Author: Jeremy Vohwinkle
My name is Jeremy Vohwinkle, and I’ve spent a number of years working in the finance industry providing financial advice to regular investors and those participating in employer-sponsored retirement plans.