Going green doesn’t mean living without electricity, taking cold showers, or biking to the grocery store and sustainable living doesn’t have to follow a trend. April 22 is Earth Day, kids will plant trees at school, Kansas City will host recycling events (among many other things), and our house will pick up scattered trash around our neighborhood. I am not going to give an Oscar’s speech about Global Climate Change, but I want to share 7 easy ways to go green at home.
#7. Double check to see if your home is heated and cooled by an Energy Star rated furnace and air conditioner (and no, this is not a plug for our company). Having a furnace or air conditioning unit that is not energy efficient is a double whammy for the Earth and your pocket book. If replacing an old unit is not in your budget this year, open the windows to cool down and put on a sweatshirt to warm up.
#6. Decrease Electricity/Power Usage: When you are sleeping so should your devices. Power them off vs sleep mode because even the sleep mode uses energy. Also, make attempts to use more natural lighting if possible and of course turn off lights when you leave a room. Installing LED light bulbs or other energy efficient light bulbs in the most used lights in your home may be expensive initially but over the course of their usage it will save both money and energy output.
#5. Cool Your Home Naturally: Shade trees that are strategically planted can help keep your home stay cool by blocking the mid afternoon sun from heating what the air conditioner is working so hard to cool down. If planting trees is not what you had in mind to go green, then try keeping your blinds shut during the day to prevent the mid day warm up.
#4. Be WaterWise: Those three minute song toothbrushes for kids are fantastic for cleaner teeth but not so much for water conservation. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, an average of two gallons of water/minute flow out of bathroom faucets when left on to brush teeth and a five minute shower uses 10-25 gallons per minute. Being WaterWise is a very easy way to go green at home.
#3. Don’t Heat or Cool an Empty House: A programmable thermostat is genius for going green and saving green. This little piece of modern technology can be set to a desired temperature when your family is home and an alternative temperature when you are not. This will decrease energy output as well as energy costs. Another good rule of thumb to follow is if the air conditioner is on, shut the windows and doors.
#2. Recycle, Reduce, and Reuse: Curbside recycling is an easy and convenient way to go green at home. Plastics (#1-#7), cardboard, junk mail, and old magazines to name a few can be recycled curbside. You can view a complete list at kcmo.gov/kcrecycles. You cannot curbside recycle glass bottles or plastic bags but recycling drop off centers are conveniently located at most major grocery stores. Reduce the amount of trash you put out, you would be surprised how much you can actually recycle if you put your mind to it. Reuse anything from plastic grocery bags, sandwich baggies (if not soiled), and buy refillable containers. Donate clothes and toys vs throwing them away because one person’s junk may be another’s treasure. While I am at it, cut apart six pack soda holders, those things really do cause harm to animals who go near them.
#1. Make it a family “thing.” Education and change go together. If your kids understand what their “carbon footprint” is, the importance of recycling, and becoming WaterWise, then maybe they will be more motivated to participate in going green.
The Blue Heating and Cooling family is dedicated to going green every day in our homes and in our business. Celebrate Earth Day this year by incorporating these 7 easy ways to go green at home and make it a family “thing.”