Earth Day is right around the corner on April 22, and our favorite place to celebrate is right at home (especially since we’re here anyway!).
The holiday honors so many things, from the beautiful environment we’re gifted with on Earth, to the trees and plants blooming in our yards with the coming of spring, and the parks we visit for fun and relaxation. But it also serves as a reminder to take care to protect this environment that provides so much for us.
One way is by reducing the carbon footprint that comes from our houses. Saving energy, opting for all-natural cleaners and composting are all ways to make our domains more sustainable. Another plus? They help lower our utility bills at the same time.
Here are some tips to make your home more eco-friendly:
1. Unplug your devices
Ahh, unplugging is so relaxing. No work emails, texts, Facebook chats, Gchats, Zoom meetings … Marco Polos … woah, we really need to unplug. But it’s not just good for your mental health, it can also lower your energy bills and help reduce the energy humans consume altogether. Even when they’re powered down, many electronics still use some energy if they’re plugged in. In fact, computers in sleep mode and other idle devices account for 23% of the average household’s electricity bill, according to the National Resources Defense Council. The only way to truly cut off the supply is by unplugging.
2. Dry on the line
Dryers use five times more electricity than washers, according to the World Wildlife Fund. Wow. And line-drying a T-shirt can reduce 1/3rd of its carbon footprint (we didn’t know T-shirts have carbon footprints, but here we are). Since turning on the average clothes dryer is pretty much the same as turning on a blinding 223 lightbulbs, they’re among the top energy-consuming appliances. And though they’re a standard household item in the United States, line-drying is the norm over in Europe, with estimates showing that 95% of Italian households don’t own one. Way to go, Italy! But if you don’t have outdoor space to hang up a clothesline, or you live in a part of the country that’s only warm and sunny enough to go outside for a few months of the year, try investing in a clothing rack to hang garments on with hangers. You can help save the world, one T-shirt at a time.
3. Care to compost?
Composting is a great way to help both the environment and your household. You can compost any organic matter, from biodegradable food scraps to yard waste, reducing the amount of trash you produce and helping you create your own, nutrient-rich soil. Or, at the very least, you’ll buy fewer trash bags. Composting is surprisingly easy, especially if you aren’t adding in food scraps. If you are, there’s a bit of a science to it, but it’s still not terribly complicated (just make sure it has holes for oxygen to enter and moisture to drain, and keep meat and dairy out, and it’s pretty hard to mess up). Don’t have outdoor space? Composting indoors is totally doable! Also neat? The organisms that break the compost down create heat that can reach 120-170 degrees Fahrenheit, keeping it from freezing even in the harshest winters. Cool! Interested in building your own compost? The Environmental Protection Agency offers great tips on how to get started.
4. Clean naturally
Even if you aren’t nervous about the chemicals in cleaning substances (like bleach and ammonia), when you rinse things out or wash off your rags, they go right into your municipal water supply or the ground. An easy way to protect the environment (and your health) is to switch to all-natural cleaners. You can even make your own with ingredients stocked around the house. Not sure how? Here’s a favorite that we recently shared on our Facebook (Facebook.com/KeepByFramework):
5. Get thermostat smart
Smart thermostats harness technology to adjust your heating and cooling system to your needs, your routine, and even the local weather. For example, they can cool your place down while you’re at work, and warm it back up before you get home – or vice versa, depending on the season. Like a little more control? They connect to your smartphone and other devices so you can adjust them without even getting off the couch. The result? Lower utility bills and less energy consumption.
Feel like getting outside? Check out our post “6 Simple Yard Hacks for Spring Cleaning.”
Need more homeownership advice? The Keep Home™ app has all the resources you need for buying and owning a home like a pro.