From the community

6 Ways to Make your Home More Environmentally Friendly

Posted Feb. 10, 2014, at 12:05 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 17, 2014, at 3:34 p.m.

With more than seven billion people in the world, it’s easy to understand the drain of humanity on our planet. If we don’t start making greener choices,

natural resources may struggle to keep up with our usage. Since “going green” begins at home, here are a few things you can do to help with your carbon

footprint — and save money doing so — using fewer resources.

Energy Star Ratings

Take a look at your appliances and electronics. If they’re older models and don’t carry the Energy Star rating, you may want to replace them. This goes for

refrigerators, washers, dryers, computers, and air conditioning units. These newer items will be more efficient, doing their jobs better with less energy

and drain on the environment and your wallet.

The downside to replacing these items is that by switching your old item out for a new one, something must be done with your old one. Try donating it (or

using a free-cycle program) instead of sending it to the landfill.

Smart Power Strips

Whether the “smart” in this product title refers to the technology or to you for using it is unclear, but this nifty item marries convenience with usage.

Many of us leave our electronics plugged in constantly because we like the convenience of them being ready when we are. Do you need your coffee pot plugged

in all day if you only drink coffee in the morning? What about your toaster? Or your child’s computer (while she’s at school)?

Yes, you can plug and unplug your gadgetry or you can plug it into a smart power strip, which shuts down power to items that go into stand-by mode. This means less energy drain and more money in your pocket.

Wireless Security System

Wireless security systems have come a long way. They’re no longer merely intruder alerts. Many systems now monitor for fire and environmental hazards. Some

security systems also have a feature that allows you to check your home systems from a distance, through a broadband connection like Verizon FiOS. Among the home settings you can control remotely are adjusting the temperature to your appliances and your lighting, as well as making sure the stove is turned off and the doors are locked.

With these systems you can control and lower usage when you’re not home. This security system option has many bonuses: in addition to helping conserve the environment. It’ll help lower your home insurance costs and you’ll feel peace of mind knowing your house and family are protected.

Smart Thermostats

Smart thermostats allow you to program a desired temperature in your home based on hours and days of the week. For instance, if you leave for work every morning at 8 you can program the temperature to adjust accordingly. Since no one is home, why heat or cool like someone is? Since you can also set the days on a programmable thermostat, you can choose to set a different pattern for the weekend when you’re home.

Compact Flourescent Lightbulbs

For reduction in your carbon footprint and savings on your electric bill, switch out old light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs. Since the

compact ones are more expensive, you may not be able to do every bulb in your home at once. You’ll see the largest savings if you replace the bulbs you use

for four hours or more each day. If you use a porch light often, consider switching this one out as well.

Low Flow

There are many low-flow options on the market that’ll help you lower your water usage at home. These include faucets, shower heads, and toilets. You’ll

hardly notice the change in flow but it’ll reduce your usage, which isn’t only greener but less expensive.

Going green has many benefits. It’s good for your health, and it’s also a responsible use of natural resources. While our Earth provides abundantly, it’s

hard to know how long it’ll continue to do so. But if we do our part to be responsible and frugal in our environmental usage, the resources will last

longer.

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