Going green at home can have long-lasting benefits on your health, finances, and your local environment. You can begin experiencing these benefits almost immediately even if you don’t have money to make major home renovations. Here are just a few eco-friendly changes you can make on a shoestring budget.
Use Less Water
Most people don’t realize how much water they’re wasting, which is why this is a good place to start your new eco-friendly lifestyle. If you have an older faucet, you’re wasting five gallons of water per minute each time you turn on the water. Newer faucets release less water, averaging 2.2 gallons per minute, but even that waste can be reduced by turning the water off while shaving or brushing your teeth. When you run your shower, place a bucket in the tub to catch the water as you wait for it to heat up. The filled bucket can be used to water plants or fill your toilet, so you won’t be wasting all of that water.
Keep a Closer Eye on Your Thermostat
Until you’re ready to invest in a new smart thermostat, there are some practices that you can employ to better regulate your HVAC system’s energy usage. If you know no one will be home during long periods of the day, you should turn your system off for those periods. You can restart the system when you get home, and it will only take a few minutes for your home’s temperature to reach a comfortable level. You can also put a plexiglass case with a lock over the thermostat to limit who can adjust the temperature when you’re not around. Normally, you should keep your thermostat set to a comfortable level and leave it at that setting consistently.
Switch to LED Light Bulbs
While LED light bulbs do cost a little more than incandescent bulbs, they will pay for themselves in the long run. They use less energy to provide the same level of lighting, so you’ll see a reduction in your utility costs over time. Additionally, LED bulbs don’t burn as hot as incandescent bulbs, so you won’t have to deal with that ambient heat that incandescent bulbs emit. While it might not seem like much, that heat can increase the temperature inside your home enough to cause the cooling system to kick on more frequently. Additionally, LED bulbs last three to five years, so you also won’t have to buy replacement bulbs as frequently.
Invest in Solar Panels
Getting financing for solar panels is much easier than it was in the past, offering rates that aren’t as costly. The federal government also offers tax breaks for homeowners who install solar panels on their homes, so this type of investment can save you a bundle at the end of the year. Many states also offer financial incentives, so it may be worthwhile to look into your state’s energy-saving programs. Once installed, you can use your solar energy to limit the electricity you use from the power company. This reduces the amount of energy they have to generate and provide, while also helping you save on your monthly budget.
Switch to Natural Cleaning Products
While we once relied solely on chemical-based cleaners, that’s no longer the case. The rags and paper towels that soak up those chemicals as you clean eventually wind up in landfills, where they contaminate the surrounding soil and water. Even the wildlife and pets living around your neighborhood may be harmed by those chemicals and their fumes. Fortunately, natural cleaning solutions have advanced far enough that they’re now just as effective as chemical cleaners. You can use these cleaning solutions in confidence, knowing they won’t cause harm to the ground, water, animals, or plants in the area.
Look for Recycled Products
There isn’t much that can’t be recycled in the modern world, so try to look for the recycling logo on every product you buy. Look for foods that are packaged in recycled materials and try to buy cell phones made from recycled parts. You can reduce waste by saving tote bags and using them instead of relying on grocery stores to provide you with plastic bags. Anytime you can reuse single-use packages and containers, you’ll be saving on the waste we dump into our landfills.
While this list can give you a good start, there are many more ways you can make your home eco-friendly without spending much money. You’ll be surprised how much you can benefit your home and your environment on a limited budget. As your neighbors see you making these changes, you may also inspire them to go eco-friendly.