It’s only 5 days till Earth Day, and to celebrate we’re going to post an Earth-centric blog every day from now until April 22nd!
Today’s topic: How to prep your castle for Earth Day by putting into practice a few simple makeover tips. These spruce-ups will not only make the planet healthier, they’ll also save you money, and make your home more comfortable for the upcoming summer.
Save Electricity Daily
Take advantage of natural sunlight. Open blinds and shades during the day, and use fans to circulate air. Man older homes are built specifically to circulate air. To eliminate “phantom” electricity, unplug all electronics that are not being used, which will noticeably decrease your monthly electric bill if you make it a habit. Consider the transition to more energy-efficient household products such as compact fluorescent light bulbs.
Green Your Lawn
In spring, we all take pride in our gorgeous lawns. Although fertilizers make a lawn look healthy, they’re actually progressively poisoning our planet. There are chemicals in fertilizers which contaminate local drinking water and can actually be harmful to your health. Fertilizers also affect the water cycle and will inevitably lead to acid rain. Look for organic lawn care products near you to keep your garden gorgeous without the nasty side effects.
Buy Reusable Bags
The plastic bags we receive at the grocery store, and that seem to turn into mountains in the kitchen when we get home, are not biodegradable. Now, calculate how many plastic bags you have used over the past five years. If this equation seems impossible, then consider purchasing reusable bags. Yes, recycling is great, but reducing production altogether is even better. If you have the option of paper or plastic, always ask for paper. You can recycle these bags more easily, or reuse them over and over. Paper bags can even turn into eco-chic wrapping paper!
Reduce Your Water Flow
The average faucet flows at a rate of 2 gallons per minute, and a five-minute shower uses 10 to 25 gallons of water. If you’re looking for a way to cut back on this usage (and the cost that goes with it), looking into installing a low-flow showerhead or toilet. You can also install an aerator on your sink. These measures can reduce your water consumption by as much as 50%, which will definitely save you money.
New Appliance Time?
Look for Energy Star Ratings. Energy Star products are designed to reduce energy use in your household, and the Energy Star website is very helpful to consumers searching for the right product to meet their lifestyle needs.
Repainting? Go Light.
If it’s time to give your home a big once-over and repaint the exterior, look for eco-friendly paints instead of traditional, toxic ones. Also, choose light colors for the exterior. Light colors reflect heat better than dark ones, and this can reduce your air conditioning bill.
Restore Your Original Porches, Awnings, and Windows
Porches, awnings, overhead, and eaves were invented to create shade and insulation. If yours are in disrepair, sprucing them up can save energy and make your home much more comfortable. Original windows can insulate just as well as new ones, if they are properly weatherstripped so they seal tightly. For maximum energy conservation, draw shades on winter nights and summer days.
Insulate your attic, basement, and crawl space as well as you can. About 20% of your energy costs come from heat loss in these open areas.
Have an Energy Audit Done
Your local utility company will give your home a once-over that can pinpoint problem areas. You can also visit Home Energy Saver (click here) to audit yourself online. Once you find areas for improvement, you can increase your home’s efficiency and save both money and energy.