Consider renewable energy sources
At the mention green living, the first thing that often comes to mind is a traditional rooftop solar panel system. Solar power is at the forefront of renewable energy use in the home and can drastically reduce your carbon footprint and energy bills, so it is definitely something to consider if you’re serious about your green status at home and have the financial capabilities to fund it. While there are several other renewable energy sources that can also decrease your home’s use of greenhouse gas emissions (water and wind power specifically), solar is still by far the most accessible for most residential areas.
If solar power is not currently within your household budget, there are still plenty of ways you can decrease your everyday energy use. Simple changes such as switching off lights and electronic devices when you leave the room and turning down your HVAC settings when you leave the house will make immediate changes to your energy bills. If you like the idea of monitoring your energy use throughout the house, consider investing in a smart energy meter to help you keep track of your usage via a linked smartphone or tablet app—most large energy companies now offer these meters for free, or you can purchase a more sophisticated linkable thermostat system from brands such as Nest or ecobee.
Once you’ve got your energy use under control, you can turn your focus to other everyday changes that will help encourage your green lifestyle. Recycling, composting, and otherwise decreasing your food and household waste are practices that help not only you and your home, but countless others who benefit from the byproducts of renewable resources. Making green food a priority is just as important as recycling, since most local and organic food products are grown responsibly and sustainably without a negative impact on the environment (plus, they’re free from pesticides and other potentially damaging toxins that can harm you and your family when consumed).
Taking the time to consider the ingredients and production methods of the things you use to clean yourself and your home is just as important as choosing healthy, organic foods. Most store-bought household cleaning and beauty products are full of chemicals, preservatives, and stabilizers that can be harmful to you and the immediate environment in your home. Thankfully, many stores now stock environmentally conscious brands (such as ecover, method, and the Honest Company) that boast no colorants, artificial ingredients, or other potential toxins. If you want to ensure you’re getting a product that has only natural ingredients, you can also make your own cleaning and beauty products with safe and common household ingredients such as vinegar, lemon, baking soda, castile soap, and essential oils.
If you’re starting to think that green living is only about energy awareness and all-natural products, you’re wrong. One of the most exciting things you can do to ensure your home is embracing an environmentally friendly lifestyle is choosing furniture and decorative accessories that have been used before. While most of us simply run to the store or search online for new furniture or decor, it is far more eco-friendly (and trendy) to breathe new life into old items and create your own bespoke pieces. The next time you feel the urge to shop, skip the big department stores and instead head to your nearest thrift shop, flea market, or yard sale—we think you’ll be surprised at the treasures you can find