At the start of a new year, it’s always good to reflect on what you do well already and what you can do better in the 12 months ahead. If you’ve realized your lifestyle isn’t quite so easy on the earth, that’s not particularly uncommon. A 2016 study revealed most Americans are unaware of the environmental impact their lives have. They routinely recycle and turn lights off when they leave the room, but beyond that? Not much of an earth-friendly effort.
But you can be part of the movement that’s actually making an impact by doing more inside of your own home. Not only will it be easier on the earth, but it’ll also be healthier for you and your family. And, as a spouse, parent, pet parent, roommate or solo dweller taking care of yourself, there’s nothing more important than that. So, without further ado, here are five tricks to make your home greener this year and beyond.
Buy New Bulbs
The hardware store seems to have two types of light bulbs — the cheaper ones that you’ve always bought that work just fine, or the fluorescent ones that are way more expensive. Maybe you always reach for the more cost-effective option in the short term. You’re on a budget, and you know your old-school bulbs work.
However, the new ones are a little pricier for a reason. They last much longer and use way less energy than their incandescent counterparts. That means you’ll spend less after your initial investment, since the bulb will stay lit for years to come and cost very little to run. If you need further incentive, know the incandescent bulbs can emanate toxins, too.
Replace a Drafty Garage Door
It may seem as though a cold, drafty garage door is just a part of life. With each storm, you feel the gusts of wind banging against your garage door and carrying a chill into your home. It doesn’t have to be this way, though, if you make 2018 the year that you invest in an eco-friendly garage door.
Eco-friendly garage doors have plenty of benefits beyond their ability to keep warmth inside of your home. They also require less electricity to function and are built using eco-friendly materials, too, making them all the more appealing in your new green lifestyle.
Invest in Green Furniture
Your home may be a mish-mash of budget-friendly furniture you’ve purchased from big-box stores, made from materials like plastic or pressed wood, which are full of formaldehyde and other toxins. That means you have the perfect excuse to redecorate with eco-friendly furniture made from durable, sturdy materials that’ll last you decades.
It may seem counterintuitive, but wood is a great material to consider when you want to outfit a space in an eco-friendly way. That’s because wood furniture lasts for years and years when well maintained. It won’t release any toxins into your home, either, so long as it comes without any manmade finishes, stains or paints.
Of course, you don’t want all of your furniture to be made of wood — no one has ever wanted to curl up and watch Netflix on a wooden sofa, after all. In these cases, seek out all-natural materials that, again, contain none of the toxins that come with manmade or coated materials. Look for wool and cotton options, and make sure the stuffing inside of your couch’s pillows or cushions are organic, too.
Cultivate an Indoor Garden
Your green thumb may have already come in handy in cultivating gorgeous flowerbeds and pots in the front and back of your home. But your affinity for tilling and sowing could be a big boon to your interior green efforts this year, too.
That’s because houseplants impart your home with a laundry list of benefits both expected and unexpected. As they do outdoors, houseplants filter the air in your home, removing toxins and replacing stale air with fresh, clean oxygen for you to breathe. On top of that, simply having houseplants can make you happier, and certain varieties have additional benefits, such as stress reduction.
Go Solar: Invest in Rooftop Solar Panels
It’s not in everyone’s budget, but harnessing the power of the sun to fire up your home’s electrical grid is obviously an eco-friendly and forward-looking update. Adding solar panels to your home’s roof is a choice that’ll last you for 20 years or more, meaning your investment will go a long way. On top of that, you can often get a tax credit for the addition.
And once your solar panels are up and functioning, you will be running your home on emission-free energy that’s as natural as the daily sunset and rise. Don’t worry about being powerless on cloudy days, either. In most cases, they’ll still produce energy from even the most minimal amounts of daylight, and that’s still a more eco-friendly result than energy derived from other sources.
Ready, Set, Green
There are seemingly endless ways to go green to save money and make your home better in the process. Oh, and the earth will be better for your efforts, too — in other words, there’s nothing that should steer you away from curating a greener, earth-friendlier existence. All you have to do is get started on one of the above five projects to become eco-friendlier today and for the rest of your life.
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9 Ways To Step Up Your Home’s Curb Appeal