When it comes to sustainable living, many families feel that unless they go solar or install a water recycling system, there is little they can do to lower their carbon footprint.
While investing in solar energy and recycling brings big gains over a 10-year period, some families simply do not have the savings they need to invest in renewable energy.
Did you know, however, that by using LED lights, you can save 75% more energy than standard bulbs, or that LED lighting lasts 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs?
Switching to LED lighting is just one way your family can do its share to fight global warming. Read on to discover a few more easy, affordable, and practical strategies to adopt:
Use Cold Water to Wash Clothes
You don’t need hot water to effectively remove stains and dirt from clothing and delicate fabrics like silk actually fare better in cold rather than hot water.
The Center for Sustainable Systems reports that washing clothes just once a week with cold water can reduce your family’s emissions by over 70 pounds a year.
You can also switch to green detergent, since commercial detergents contain several chemical ingredients that react with phosphorus in the water, leading to an overgrowth of algae.
This plant absorbs oxygen in the water, thus destroying local ecosystems.
Switch to Cloth Diapers
The Environment Agency estimates that the average baby/toddler uses enough diapers during this stage of their lives to create 1,200 pounds of carbon emissions.
Cloth diapers can reduce carbon footprints, as they reduce the need to chop down trees and they use up to five times less energy and eight times less non-renewable resources than disposables.
Of course, cloth diapers need to be washed frequently and they, therefore, require more water than disposables.
However, they are still a greener choice, especially if you use an energy-saving washing machine, natural soaps, and green power sources.
Even if you are not able to install solar panels, for instance, you can purchase your electricity from a company specializing in renewable energies such as solar and wind energy.
Savor a Plant-Based Diet
Food accounts for between 10% and 30% of a household’s carbon emissions and meat products, in particular, have a very high CO2 footprint, with beef-producing a global average of 110lb of greenhouse gasses per 3.5 ounces.
You don’t need to go vegan or vegetarian to make a difference. Just cutting down on red meat and dairy can help.
Try to eat seasonal, local produce, to reduce the effect that the transportation of goods has on the Planet.
Use a Programmable Thermostat
In the future, houses will be automated, with integrated sensors that analyze and personalize a family’s energy use so as to reduce expenditure and costs.
Programmable thermostats can also help save you energy (around $180 in bills, according to ENERGY STAR).
Set up your predetermined programs wisely, because if you constantly override them, you could end up wasting more energy. When you will be away for a weekend or longer, switch the thermostat to the “vacation” or “hold” setting.
Over the next couple of decades, more homes will be fully smart, with systems that can analyze families’ energy needs and adapt aspects such as heating and lighting accordingly.
However, there is so much that can be done in traditional homes—including the use of energy-saving equipment, the adoption of a plant-based diet, and the avoidance of disposable diapers.
Using cold water to wash clothing is another excellent example of a change your family will hardly notice, yet which the Planet will be grateful for.