Both of these phrases, the ‘’three R’s’’ and ‘’energy conservation’’ are heard quite often, mostly as a promotion of certain lifestyle habits or as simple product marketing. Now, if you hear something often enough, it tends to become a part of colloquial speech, a commonplace in conversations where the true meaning of an idea behind the phrase gets lost in repetitions of an everyday life. It creates an impression that someone somewhere is taking care of it already, which exempts us from any responsibility. It is far from the truth, so let us remind again on what these are and why are they so important.
Conserving the energy is understanding that non-renewable natural resources of energy such as coal, natural gas, and oil are limited. Generating electricity by combusting the fossil fuels increases the industrial emission and causes depletion of natural resources. Energy conservation means simply reducing demand on these limited resources while allowing the supplies to rebuild itself and to replenish before being completely drained. Recovering and replenishing of nature’s resources may take hundreds of years, while active exploitation is creating destructive pollution that impacts all the life forms. The goal of the conservation is to reduce the demand, to protect the existing supplies and to develop and use alternative energy sources.
Reduce strategy promotes cutting back on consumption in general, whether in our homes, business or industry. Households are serious generators of waste so make sure to reduce the amount of garbage by simply not buying disposable items as well as buying minimally packaged items. Do not leave your appliances and other vampire electronics turned on when not in use, adjust the thermostats in your home to avoid overheating or overcooling and service air conditioners at least once a year. In the kitchen and bathroom try to be water efficient as much as possible and use warm water instead of hot, whether for showering or washing clothes. Keep refrigerator ice free and lower the temperature. Use as much natural light as possible for it is free.
Aside from being energy conserving, reusable products will save you money in a long run. Buy used things such as clothes, furniture or home appliances in consignment shops. Maintain your home electronics and have it repaired instead of just replacing it. If you wish to get rid of some old clothes, tools or anything from your home, consider donating since your garbage can be of great use for someone else. Not only you will reduce the waste, but you will put a smile on someone’s face. Also, try to find a new purpose for old items in your home and to redecorate old furniture, since it can turn out to be an interesting DIY project.
For all other items that are inevitably going to trash, prepare a recycling plan, keep the amount of the trash at the minimum and sort it by separating the paper, glass, plastics, rubber, and batteries. Take special care when disposing of the household hazardous waste such as cleaners, paints, pesticides and motor oils, because those are highly dangerous for people and environment both when dumped into trash cans or poured into the drains. Also, recycle old electronics, which is fairly easy because many companies offer great recycling solutions for broken or outdated items.
What else to do
So many things you can do:
- Start with walking more and using a bicycle or public transport.
- Use a broom instead of a water hose when cleaning patio or driveway.
- Paint your home in light colors if you live in a warm climate, or in darker colors if in cold climate
- Professionals in landscape architecture from Sydney and around the world recommend green scaping, planting trees around the house that will shade and make your home more energy efficient regarding the heating and cooling costs.
- Insulate your home properly and modernize the windows.
- Do not forget to buy local products, local food, local veggies and fruits in the right season.
As seen above, there are so many things we can do to reduce the carbon footprint of our homes and to make this world a cleaner place. The moment we realize that way we live our lives directly impacts the nature’s way is the moment to turn things around, for ourselves and for those who will come behind us. Responsibility is ours and though we didn’t wish for it, nor are we fully to blame, it is upon us to accept the obligation and by being environmentally aware, to try to heal this lovely planet.