Across the country people are tightening their belts by making cuts wherever they can. With these nips to the budget, many may forgo going green around the house because of the supposed high costs. The truth is that these small changes, from using environmentally friendly pesticides to turning your thermostat up or down a few degrees, can actually help save money – as well as the environment.
If you love to have a clean house but hate using harmful chemicals to get it squeaky clean, try switching to more natural products.
- Baking soda: While this can be a great product, it tends to leave a bit of a residue behind if not used properly. Make sure to use the baking soda as a scrub then wash it off with water and rags.
- Vinegar: Don’t use straight vinegar unless you love the pungent smell. Instead, create a mixture using six parts water and one part vinegar. One note: If you like to use straight vinegar, skip using it on hardwood floors. It can be very harmful to the finish.
- Method Smarty Dish Dishwasher Detergent Tabs: According to the product label, this product is biodegradable and free of chlorine, petroleum distillates, ammonia and phosphates. The packaging also uses 87 percent less plastic than typical detergent containers.
Although the insects in your yard may seem to be harmful to your lawn, only 3 percent of insects are actually considered pests – the other 97 percent are there to help control the bad ones. Don’t kill off your helpful friends by using harmful chemicals; instead use some of the Earth-friendly options below.
- Ladybugs: Buy ladybugs online or at your local nursery and release them in your yard. These will help you handle pesky insects that are doing damage to your yard such as aphids and plant mites.
- Beneficial Nematode: Produced by Firebelly Organics, this product helps you control White Grubs through the use of microscopic organisms that dissolve in water and are then sprayed on the yard.
- Green Pesticides: Rely on organic pest control options to rid your yard and home of unwanted guests…the environment and your wallet will thank you..
High Tech Lighting
According to the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), by switching your current bulbs to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), you will use around 75 percent less energy. The average house has 30 light fixtures, so a typical household can save around $400 a year on electricity by switching to CFLs. Also, since CFLs typically last 10 years, there will be less landfill because of this switch.
Install Power Strips
Most people aren’t aware that their electronics are always drawing electricity even if they’re turned off. While most gadgets will only draw one to two watts of electricity while turned off, some devices like cable boxes can draw up to 50 watts of power while on standby. Fix this problem by installing power strips and turning it off when not in use. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), even when the home theater equipment is powered off, the “standby consumption can be equivalent to that of a 75 or 100 watt light bulb running continuously.”
Adjust the Temperature
For being one of the most adaptable species on the planet, humans are typically only comfortable when the temperature is just right. But for a family wanting to go green, it is best practice to alter the thermostat to save energy. Purchase a programmable thermostat, and during the winter set the temperature to 68 degrees when you are home, 65 degrees when you are away for a few hours and at 58 if you are out of the house for more than five hours. Not only will this help you not waste energy when you are away, it will also help pad your wallet. During the summer it is best practice to set the thermostat at a consistent 78 degrees, according to the GRU. For every degree lower than this recommended temperature, your bill could be 4 percent higher. It’s also a good idea to have a certified HVAC technician evaluate the condition of your heating and air conditioning fixtures at least yearly, so you can be sure you’re operating as efficiently as possible.
When you decide to go green around your house, remember the above tips and see how clean, energy efficient and environmentally friendly your home can be.
About our guest..
Philip J Reed writes about the programs centered around renewable energy that are offered at Redstone College including the Wind Energy Technology Degree.