Leading an eco-friendly, healthy and sustainable lifestyle might seem to many people difficult, expensive and too much of a fuss, but, in reality, it is not so. This dream that was really far-fetched forty years ago, has become a mission that is quite possible and achievable with small but consistent changes involving your choices of food, home design and energy consumption.
A green lifestyle demands a conscious shift in perception and understanding of the meaning of harmonious life with our planet. This lifestyle doesn’t leave a negative impact on the environment, but it also doesn’t happen overnight. When done correctly, living a sustainable lifestyle is a stress-free chore that is truly rewarding and fulfilling. Take a look at some changes you can make that will lead to more significant shifts long-term.
Eco-conscious consumer choices
The first change you can make starting today is to rethink your consumer choices. Implement a zero-waste policy by planning your daily and weekly family meals and prepare home-made meals as often as you can. Stick to your shopping list and only buy what you need short-term. Also, shop at your local farmers’ market as this will reduce harmful effects of food transportation.
In addition, try replacing your household items with eco-friendly products, such as biodegradable bags, plates and cups, recycled paper products, reusable water bottles and rechargeable batteries. Instead of going through hundreds of paper towels every week, opt for cloth napkins. Finally, give up on those hard-core chemical cleaning products and use natural, homemade cleaning solutions.
Serious green home upgrades
Depending on your budget, you might give some thought to investing in bigger and more serious upgrades that will be more rewarding in the long run. Insulating your home, especially the most vulnerable areas such as the attic and basement, replacing outdated windows and doors with energy-efficient, air-tight models and installing solar panels will significantly contribute to the overall energy efficiency of your home.
Initially, this might seem as an expensive project, but if you combine several green home improvement ideas like these, you can become eligible for affordable energy improvement financing options and find the one that best suits your needs. This is a smarter alternative to traditional credit-based options as there are no upfront payments and none in the next 12 months, plus your payments are calculated through your property tax bill.
Smaller improvements will also make a big difference
Becoming energy-savvy means realizing that many features in your home consume a lot of energy and knowing how to minimize their effect. By transforming your home into an energy-efficient hub will minimize your carbon footprint, lower your costs and greatly contribute to the preservation of our environment.
The heating/cooling system is the primary energy-consuming factor in most homes. To make it more efficient, install a programmable thermostat and set it slightly lower or higher (depending on the current season) and in the long run, you’ll save large amounts of energy and money in your bank account.
Furthermore, be aware that 13-15% of total energy consumption in your home is electricity. By replacing your traditional, incandescent lights with more energy-efficient and durable LED lights, you’ll shrink your power bill significantly. In addition, make it a daily habit to unplug your home appliances when they’re not used and turn off the lights when you leave the room, or install timers and motion sensors.
Water conservation is another household aspect that requires your attention, as large amounts of it are wasted due to faults in the plumbing system, such as cracks and leaks. Make sure you keep on top of those repairs and also consider installing low-flow showerheads and faucets, as they can significantly cut water usage without compromising the quality of your showers.
Another option lies in renewable water resources and recycling. Harvesting rainwater can provide an independent solution to water shortages. Collected rainwater is directed into a tank and a pump system where it’s filtered and distributed around the house. Hot water can be produced by a water heater run by solar energy, natural gas or bio-diesel fuel.
The biggest ecological benefit comes from recycling all potable water, which means that “grey water” is filtered out and used for irrigation, and even the “black water” from flushing toilets is treated in a solar septic tank and used afterward for watering the backyard.
Going green means taking responsibility for your own health and the health of our planet. It only takes small steps in the right direction and a shift in lifestyle to make an enormous impact. By incorporating the tips outlined here, each person can make positive changes towards a green and sustainable lifestyle that will make a powerful effect on the global level.
Guest post by Lillian Connors
About the Author
Lillian Connors can’t resist the urge to embark on a myriad of green living/home improvement projects and spread the word about them. She cherishes the notion that sustainable housing and gardening will not only make us far less dependent on others regarding the dwellings we inhabit, but also contribute to our planet being a better place to live on. You can check her out on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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