In Portland, Oregon, city leaders are determined to make the city one of the most sustainable and eco-friendly regions in the country. From user-friendly and popular recycling programs and high rates of commuting by bike, to the use of renewable energy and more, The City of Roses is doing a fine job of keeping our planet as healthy as possible.
Portland is not the only city that is striving to be eco-friendly. San Francisco, California is also known for its green lifestyle and practices, as are other cities and towns around the country. Regardless of whether your city or community has hopped on the eco-friendly bandwagon or not, there are plenty of ways for homeowners to live more sustainable and green lifestyles.
The following four tips can help you “green up” your home.
1. Monitor the Thermostat
As MSN Real Estate notes, almost half of your annual energy use is due to your heating system or air conditioner. In order to save power—and money—try turning the thermostat down during the winter and up during the summer. In cold months, every degree below 68 degrees Fahrenheit will save an average of 3 to 5 percent on heating usage while lowering the thermostat just one degree in the summer can make a marked difference in energy use.
2. Consider Efficient Windows
In order to help keep rooms cooler during the dog days of summer, make sure the windows on the east and west sides of your home are covered during the hottest times of the day. Depending on how old your windows are, it might also be a good idea to replace them with windows that are energy-efficient. You can also keep the inside of your home cooler by using ceiling fans to move the air around and keep the heat manageable.
3. Maintain and Monitor Appliances
In order to keep your refrigerator working as efficiently as possible, be sure to regularly clean the coils. Vacuum the dust out once a month or so and wipe them gently with a damp cleaning cloth. This simple act will reduce the amount of energy your fridge is using every hour of every day. In addition, take a look at the many other appliances and electronics that are plugged in 24/7 year-round, and unplug the ones you are not regularly using. How often do you use your toaster? Just unplug it and when you want to use them just take a second to plug it in again. Another energy-saving example, computers will continue to use a small amount of energy even when they are not being used so turn them off at night or if you are going on vacation unplug them completely.
4. Make a Tree Happy
There are lots of ways that homeowners can reduce the amount of paper that they consume.
- An easy way to do this is to make some emails and calls and get yourself off of every junk mail list possible. For example, if you are sick and tired of receiving and tossing credit card offers, visit OptOutPrescreen and opt out of getting both credit card and insurance mailings. I have completed the easy and simple forms to stop all those bothersome junk mail and I make sure I don’t subscribe to mailings that I know I have no use for that just be thrown in the trash.
- Other ways to save trees include looking for items made from 100 percent recycled paper and by using cloth napkins and cleaning cloths instead of paper napkins and towels.
- Send e-cards to all your friends and family’s special days and holidays. No only are your saving paper but have you checked the price of cards lately? You will be saving loads of money while helping to save trees and conserve the environment. If you do prefer to send paper cards make sure you purchase cards made from recycled paper.
Green up your community starts in your own home. We all need to work together to live a green and healthy lifestyle. Wherever you live start making your community an eco-friendly neighborhood. It’s amazing how small changes that we make in our lives can spiral into major changes for our planet and environment. If we just start making one change a day we make a substantial difference in the future of our planet. This is our home and if we don’t take care of it – who will? Do your part and leave a positive Eco-footprint for our children’s future!
What changes are you making to help green your home and community?