Live Green and Save
Living green and saving money don't always seem to go together, but living green doesn't mean you have to spend thousands of dollars on expensive solar systems. Here are few free, and low-cost, things you can do around the home to minimize your environmental impact.
You can easily and simply reduce energy expenditures by choosing Energy Star when it is time to buy or replace an appliance. Energy Star appliances – such as refrigerators, dishwashers, and washing machines – consume 10-50 percent less energy. Energy Star brand users will see the difference in their electrical bills each month.
Replace regular incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent bulbs. Fluorescent bulbs now come in different shapes, wattages, and colors for a softer look. Finally, consider which appliances are necessary. In warm weather, dry clothes outside on a clothing rack rather than in the dryer. Using a drying rack saves money and energy, and your clothes come inside smelling fresh.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
This motto of the environmental movement is as important as ever. The facts are in on recycling: with the amount of aluminum cans discarded, every three months a commercial air fleet could be built! And with the electricity saved by recycling a stack of newspapers one-foot high, your home could be heated for 17 hours!
Most municipalities offers extensive recycling services that make recycling one of the easiest steps you can take toward a green home. Just fill your blue box with magazines, newspapers, plastic #1 and #2 bottles, aluminum cans, glass bottles, and beverage containers, and let the waste department do the rest.
You can also extend the lifetime of most products by reusing them. Reuse aluminum foil and plastic bags for food storage. Empty plastic containers and glass bottles can be used to store bulk food or leftovers. Many waste products make good art projects, too.
Carbon-Neutralize Your Home
A growing trend in green living is carbon neutrality. Carbon dioxide is emitted every day through heating, cooling, electricity usage, driving, and more. Your daily expenditure of carbon dioxide – a major contributor to global warming – can be offset by contributing small donations to companies that work toward environmental clean-up, reforestation, or alternative energy. Although it doesn't generate savings, calculating daily household carbon use through online calculators, and purchasing offsets to make your home carbon neutral is a growing trend in green living.
Harvest the Rain
Rain barrels are a feature of green homes, especially in warm, low-rain climates. A rain barrel can be a regular or homemade barrel or one bought for this purpose. It is best placed under a rain spout, and the collected rainwater can then be used to hydrate parched gardens and lawns, or even to wash the car. Rain collection barrels are an effective way to preserve a natural resource and lower the water bill.
Compost and “Grasscycle”
Households throw out 20 million tons of grass clippings and dead leaves each year, yet they will spend millions on lawn and garden care. Green your own grass by spreading glass clippings over the lawn after mowing. This will reduce the need for watering, and the decomposing clippings will fertilize the new grass.
Composting food waste is another way to reuse, recycle, and save. Proper composting will result in waste reduction and healthy, vibrant gardens and yards. If you’re planting vegetables, composting is a way to close the loop for a sustainable table.
Going green is easier than every before. Take control of your impact on the environment, your home, and best of all, your wallet, with these simple adjustments to daily living.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Calum MacKenzie is Broker Owner of Tampa Homes 24-7 LLC a leading Wesley Chapel real estate company serving communities like Seven Oaks in Wesley Chapel and specializing in Wesley Chapel Homes.