The environment has always been a concern for me and I work hard to create an eco-friendly home.
It’s important that we all do our part to reduce our carbon footprint to help slow down global warming.
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Let’s start with Using Less Energy
- Replacing our light bulbs (incandescent bulbs) with led bulbs
- Using a smart thermostat – We love our Nest which is a programmable thermostat that we can control with our phones.
- We replaced all of our old appliances with better energy efficiency new appliances. Our latest purchase was a new dry and washing machine that uses not only less energy but also less water.
- The biggest change we saw in our energy bill was when we got rid of an old freezer and refrigerator that was in our outdoor shed and replaced it with a new energy-efficient refrigerator/freezer.
- I use power strips where I can so that I can quickly switch off things that use energy even when off (Unless at the source) like TVs, computers, etc.
- We also use smart plugs for all of our light fixtures
- Replacing our old furnace and air conditioning unit with energy-efficient appliances was another good way to reduce our energy usage and lower our energy bills.
Using Less Water
- We have water-efficient toilets which use less amount of water.
- Our large hot water tank was heating gallons of water hot 24/7, we replaced it with a tankless water heater. This new system is only heating water when we need it. It uses so much less electricity.
- I turn off the water when I’m brushing my teeth to use less water. Even small changes make a difference in the long run.
- We have a reverse osmosis water filter in our house so our well water is clean and we don’t have to rely on bringing water into our house in plastic bottles
Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions
- Our 8-cylinder SUV was traded in for a hybrid vehicle with fewer carbon emissions. I get 3 times that miles to the gallon.
- With meal planning, I have less food waste and I make fewer trips to the grocery store which saves me fuel.
Exterior Home Energy Efficiency
- Recently we did a huge exterior renovation to our older home. You can read all about it HERE. We replaced our siding, new windows with double glazing, and roof.
- While we were doing this, we sprayed insulation into all the areas of our home to help reduce heat loss in the winter and make lighter work for our air conditioner for the summer.
- All of our choices for the renovation were eco-friendly options.
Other Household Steps to Create an Eco-Friendly Home
- Replacing cleaning products that contain harmful chemicals with natural cleaning products is something that I have taken to heart. You can read my post about my homemade cleaning products HERE. These are the products I use when making my own cleaning products:
- Lemon Juice
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Essential Oils
- Baking Soda
- Castile Soup
- I don’t make my own laundry detergent because “Handy’s” clothes get really dirty at work and when working in the garden, we both get really dirty clothes. However, I use detergent sheets from Earth Breeze. There are several ways that they are such a better option. There are no plastic containers involved. They also donate washes and meals. They do so much to be carbon neutral that I can’t even list it all.
- I keep green plants in our living space which convert carbon dioxide into oxygen.
- Recycling our plastic bottles, glass bottles, paper, and cardboard in our recycling bin is something we’ve been doing for a very long time.
- I haven’t completely given up paper towels but I use them much less. I use reusable cloth towels as often as I possibly can.
- I rarely use paper plates, paper napkins, or plastic utensils.
- Not only do we have a compost bin for our kitchen food scraps. We also have chickens who are also the recipients of leftover food. The good news they in turn produce fresh eggs for us.
- Our backyard chickens produce a fraction of the manure, in a much smaller footprint. We then use it to fertilize our vegetable gardens. Our chickens are a much better alternative to the excessive environmental impact of factory farming. We have our own little ecosystem going on in our own yard and we are making a positive impact on our little corner of this world.
- We use a lot of native plants in our gardens. This is just one of the environmentally friendly ways to have a healthy ecosystem both inside and outside.
- We grow our own produce in the spring/summer/fall. I also preserve our vegetables so we can use them year-round and enjoy that fresh-from-the-garden flavor.
Other Energy-Saving Alternatives
- We have discussed installing solar panels to produce solar energy. The position of our house and roof is not really conducive to being a good fit for us. There are also big upfront costs and takes a long time before you see a benefit. At our age, it just isn’t a realistic option.
- Another easy change that we’ve not done but should is collecting water in rain barrels.
Using Clean Products on My Skin
After watching the show “Not So Pretty” on HBO, I started getting really serious about the products that I put on my skin.
Everything from shampoo and conditioner to skin creams.
I wrote a whole blog post about the crazy chemicals that are in things I was using every day. That has changed dramatically for me. You can find that post HERE
If “Handy” wasn’t a meat and potato guy, we could try a plant-based diet. While I know that will never happen, I try to do a meatless meal once a week.
We also do our best to buy organic food and meat where we trust the source so we know what the animal is fed and how it’s treated.
I also mostly cook from scratch and we rarely eat processed foods.
Eco-Friendly vs. Sustainability
The term “eco-friendly” is a very cut-and-dry term that means the product doesn’t harm the planet. Sustainability, however, represents a broad aspect of activities and issues that, when their needs are met, doesn’t impact future generations.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are 3 things you can do to start living a more sustainable life?
When I think about 3 things that you can do right now to start living a more sustainable life if you aren’t doing them already is:
- Always bring reusable bags to the grocery store
- Stop buying plastic water bottles
- Recycle * Reuse * Reduce
What age group is the most eco-friendly?
This one surprised me!
It is my generation, the baby boomers who are the most likely to be concerned about sustainability.
What Country is the most eco-friendly?
Coming in first is Sweden, then Denmark, and number 3 is the United Kingdom.
The United States isn’t even in the top 10. Quite frankly, we should be ashamed of ourselves.
Living in A Small House
Choosing to live in a small house is also a great way to reduce our carbon footprint.
We use less energy with the benefit of lower energy bills than those with larger homes. I would be lying if I said that I don’t sometimes dream of a large new home.
While I’m a master of creating space by being organized and using every square inch in our home, I would sometimes kill for a garage or full basement.
I have to remind myself that now that the kids are gone, we really don’t need more space.
I also dream of the day when my kids come home with their kids and I would love to have bedrooms for everyone. However, those would be rare occasions so it isn’t a great option in the big scheme of things.
I remember sleeping on the floor at my grandparents’ house with my cousins and it’s some of my fondest memories.
Peace and Love,
If you’re looking for more great information on creating an eco-friendly home, visit my friends over at Porch.com.
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This week’s guest is a fellow blogger and organizer from An Organized Season.
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