It's something we should think about doing all year round, but with Earth Day just a few days away, now is as good of a time as ever to start making some changes to your home that are a little more earth friendly. Here are our top 10 tips to make your home more environmentally friendly:
1. Change to LED Lights
LED bulbs have been gaining popularity over the years, and it's easy to understand why: they use less energy, and they last longer than your average light bulb. A few more years and the traditional incandescent bulb will go the way of the cassette tape and the floppy disk: get a jump on this eco-friendly trend now and change the bulbs in your favorite light fixtures.
2. Buy second hand and donate
Hey, we all love updating our decor, but before you jump in the car to head to Ikea, think about buying second hand furniture. Thrifting is always a fun weekend adventure, or if you are more into the digital life, Craigslist has been a pretty solid option in addition to plenty of local Facebook groups where users can let one another know when a chair or other piece of decor is no longer sparking joy.
3. Consider Composting
Less trash in the can means less in the landfill, so give composting a try. If you are unsure how to get started, the EPA has a page on the basics of composting that you can check out. One of the main benefits to composting is the fertilizer it provides for your lawn: but if you lack a yard and/or a green thumb, don't worry! There are services in the city that will pick up your composting scraps, like Bennett Compost!
4. Low VOC paints
We all know the familiar smell of a fresh coat of paint- turns out that familiar scent is from volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. These VOCs are actually detrimental to the environment, but also to humans, as exposure to VOCs can lead to symptoms such as "skin irritation, nose and throat discomfort, headaches, allergic skin reaction, difficulty in breathing, labored breathing, nausea, and fatigue."
Do yourself and the environment a favor: if you are thinking your house needs a fresh coat of paint, look for a Low to No VOC paint. Large hardware stores such as Lowe's or Home Depot have these paints in multiple colors, so check them out!
5. Fix gaps around windows and doors
Do the environment-and your wallet!- a favor by fixing gaps in your windows and doors. Through the reduction of energy consumption by your heating or AC, you can help the environment and lower your utility bills: sounds like a win-win to us!
6. Fix leaky faucets and toilets
According to the EPA, a leaky faucet dripping at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons a year- so this is a small fix that has a big impact in the long run!
7. Install low flow showerheads and toilets
Speaking of small changes having a big impact, did you know that installing a low flow showerhead can save an average family up to 2,900 gallons of water a year, which is enough energy to power a home for 13 days? Amazing!
8. Ditch Paper Towels
While paper towels may be convenient in the moment, their overall impact on the environment is less than appealing. Consider using dishtowels instead- bonus if you use some old t shirts and other clothing items as rags for cleaning and other household chores!
9. Purchase Air Purifying Plants
It's not pretty to think about, but the places that you live and work can be making you sick. Stagnant indoor environments allow pollutants to build up and stick around in greater amounts than we should be breathing in, and can even can cause "sick building syndrome," which shows up as headaches, dizziness, nausea, and eye, ear, and nose irritation.
Purchasing a couple of air purifying plants will not only add a lovely pop of foliage in your space, but will also help purify the air that you are breathing in day after day. For a full list of plants that can help "clear the air" (literally!), check out this article from HGTV! Our favorite plant is the Peace Lily, in case you were wondering.
10. Unplug Appliances When Not in Use
You might not know it, but an appliance that is "off" but plugged in will still use energy when in standby mode. While you don't have to get too crazy with unplugging ALL your appliances (like the fridge- keep that plugged in!) other smaller appliances can be unplugged, helping the planet and your energy bill.
With just a few changes in your shopping habits and daily routine you can live a more eco-friendly life at home!