One of the biggest problems facing the United States today is energy efficiency. At home, we guzzle electricity. On the road, we guzzle away gas, and in public and private services, we guzzle away the same resources!
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That said, one of the best things we can do in our daily lives is become more efficient. So, how do you do it? I've gone through and changed light bulbs, fixed those leaks, put up blankets over windows for insulation, and even have managed to avoid driving everyday (as much as possible).
So what about you?
Here are 20 of the best tips to help you make your home even more sustainable.
1. Use non-toxic, natural cleaners like baking soda, vinegar, salt and lemon juice. They’re much kinder to the environment, and safer for you as well.
2. Add edible plants to your yard. Great examples include fruit and nut trees, tomato plants and decorative cabbage.
3. Make your own compost, or at least give organic waste to friends who want to maintain a compost heap.
4. Service your furnace and even consider upgrading—newer ones are more energy-efficient, and less expensive.
5. Build a new unit on top of your garage, as this will save the waste of open space that typically comes with new construction.
6. Use air-to-air heat exchangers for ventilation—they use “waste heat” from the air circulating out of the unit in order to heat fresh air.
7. Reduce work travel by looking at places to live that are closer to work, or working from home regularly. Commuting accounts for over a third of car travel.
8. Carpool with friends and colleagues whenever a car is necessary.
9. Install a solar water heater. Even in a fairly cloudy place, you may be surprised as how cost-effective these units can be.
10. Maintain your car with regular tune-ups. If you don’t do this, its fuel efficiency could be reduced by close to 10%.
11. Try to fix and maintain the things you own, instead of throwing them away. Some “how-to” guides and a good toolkit can not only reduce waste but also save you money.
12. Add faucet aerators, which will save water and money.
13. Buy items in bulk, and bring containers in order to reduce the amount of packaging waste.
14. Collect rainwater on your roof, and store it for use in your garden or yard.
15. Plant shade trees to the west and east. These will reduce your cooling bills in the summer month, and left more light into your house during the cold seasons.
16. Get motion-sensing switches that will automatically turn your lights off when a room empties.
17. Start a community garden with like-minded people, using a shared open space.
18. Get low-flow showerheads, which reduce the amount of water you pay to heat.
19. Install low-flush toilets to save money and reduce six gallons of used water to just one and a half per year.
20. Reuse all of your paper bags, envelopes and plastic bags.