When we discuss creating an eco-friendly home or lifestyle, many people start thinking about big, expensive projects like installing a solar energy system or investing in costly green appliances. While those are options for those who want to make the investment, a greener lifestyle is obtainable on a budget. Here are some simple, cost-effective ways to make your home more eco-friendly.
1. Green Cleaning Products
Thankfully, many cleaning products are going green. There are now numerous companies producing natural, earth-friendly cleaning solutions. Norwex is my favourite option, as you can clean your entire home with just their microfiber products and water. They also have natural, chemical-free, enzyme-based cleaning solutions for your bathroom, fruits and veggies, laundry, kitchen, personal care, and more.
The great thing about green cleaning products is that you can not only feel great about protecting the environment, you’re also protecting your own health. Many of the common chemicals in our world are just as bad for us as they are for the earth and the animals. Switching to green cleaning products could save you money in your cleaning as well as in your healthcare.
2. Natural Window Treatment Options
It’s genuinely surprising how much our window treatments can affect our home’s impact on the environment. If you’re hoping to create a greener home, it might be time to swap out those plastic Venetian blinds for a more natural option. Woven wood shades come from organic materials and work efficiently to keep heat out during the summer and inside during the winter, which reduces your reliance on air conditioning or heating during those rougher seasons.
3. Use Cold Water
Water heaters are essential in ensuring your home has hot water, but they also use a lot of energy to maintain your preferred water temperature. Another cost-effective way to make your home more eco-friendly is by limiting the amount of work your water heater performs on a day-to-day basis.
When you have the option to use cold water with your appliances, such as your washing machine, we highly recommend making the switch. And while it might not be the most comfortable, taking slightly colder showers is a great way to live a greener lifestyle—your energy bill will thank you too.
Many hot water tanks have the option of turning down the temperature of your water. The tank will keep the water at a lower temperature—warm enough for showers and washing dishes, but not as hot as it could be. This not only saved money, it’s also safer if you have children in the home who may be burned by letting the tap run hot for too long.
4. Do Regular HVAC Maintenance
An easy way to save money on your heating bills and to help the environment is to maintain your HVAC system. Poorly maintained equipment won’t run as efficiently. Make sure you change the filters in your heating and cooling systems on a regular basis. You should also check how often the furnace, hot water tank, or AC unit need to be cleaned or serviced.
5. Work with Your Utility Company
Here in Canada, many utility companies offer energy-saving incentives such as rebates and rewards. BC Hydro, for example, has rebates for energy-efficient renovations and a Team Power Smart contest to encourage members to reduce their energy consumption. (If you’ve got kids who leave the lights on all the time, a contest may help them remember to turn off lights!)
Check with your local utility company to see what they suggest for reducing your energy bills and making your home more eco-friendly.