Count us out of the race to Mars — we’re perfectly happy to stay right where we are. But that doesn’t mean the Earth couldn’t use some help to remain humanity’s beautiful, natural home. From the way you treat your dwelling to the way you eat, here are some sustainable strategies to help protect the planet we all call home.
Install solar panels
Although solar panels require a significant upfront investment, the prices have decreased over the years with new technologies. Solar panels take advantage of nature’s most powerful resource: the sun. And with solar panels, not only are you generating year-round electricity production, but you're increasing the market value of your property while reducing your carbon footprint.
Install double-glazed windows
Double glazing is the process whereby two layers of glass are fitted to create a small air gap to reduce heat loss and noise. Installing double-glazed windows or double-glazed doors can add significant value to your property. A building equipped with double-glazed windows and doors can lead to a total temperature difference of up to 20 degrees between the inside and outside. This is an excellent Earth-saving choice for those looking to remodel or increase their property value.
Use eco-friendly laundry detergent
Not to sound self-serving, but trade in the regular laundry detergent for some eco-friendly SaltyLama sheets. Convenient and simple to use, our detergent is easier on the body, gentler on fabrics, kinder to the environment, and cruelty-free without animal testing. Even better, it comes in biodegradable, lightweight packaging, meaning no more lugging around heavy plastic jugs that end up in landfills anyway.
Don’t tumble dry
Dryers use up a lot of electricity — almost more than any other household appliance. Air drying not only saves money but the consistency of your clothes. We recommend investing in a portable drying rack.
Insulate your home
You know that foamy-looking stuff that people spray into their attics? That stuff is magic! Insulation can help stabilize your home’s temperature all year round, protecting it against the cold in winter and the heat in summer. Insulation is also helpful in reducing noise pollution. You can insulate your roof, floors, walls, windows, and doors. A well-insulated house is very energy efficient and will need little additional heating and cooling, potentially saving you a boatload of money.
Full loads on cold
If your grandma is like ours, half-loads are a sin, punishable by scolding. Always wash full loads in cold water. It takes as much energy and water to wash a full load as a half load unless the machine has special sensors or half-load setting options. Studies have shown little difference in wash performance between washing in warm or cold water, especially if you’re washing non-whites. If you use a hot or warm wash, choose a cold rinse — it uses less energy. But if you wash in cold water, you’ll need a hot wash regularly to clean your machine.
Turn off lights you don’t need
How many of us turn lights and lamps on in rarely visited rooms? We’re guilty of this. But we’re working to be better. By turning off unneeded lights, you save money and prolong the lifespan of your bulbs, adding to annual cost savings on electric bills and bulb replacements.
Take faster showers
Who doesn’t love a long, hot shower that sets the scene for deep thinking and making life decisions? But taking shorter showers not only reduces water use but can save up to 350 kilograms of carbon dioxide a year while shrinking your energy bill.
Don’t throw old clothes away
You cringe at them every time you open the closet: clothes that haven’t left their hangers in years or shoes that felt perfect in the store but caused blisters on their first (and last) trip out of the house. But what do you do with that mound of clothes you're ready to eliminate? We recommend donating, selling, and swapping them instead of filling the landfills with them. Many great options include Goodwill, eBay, Craigslist, and your local thrift and consignment stores.
Recycle old appliances
One of the easiest ways to save energy around the house is by purchasing energy-efficient appliances. But be sure to recycle your old ones because they're mostly metal. Suppose you are looking to swap your current appliances for more efficient versions. In that case, you check with your local recycling experts, who can take those appliances and ensure the materials are reused.
Use a laptop instead of a desktop
Laptop computers are often more energy-efficient than desktops because they can run for a long time on battery power. Desktops, on the other hand, are always plugged in. Desktop computers use an average of 60 to 200 watts, while laptops use 20 to 50 watts of electricity. If you’re purchasing new equipment for your business or considering upgrading your existing equipment, opting for laptops is one way to impact your energy usage.
Switch to paperless mail
Does anyone else have a stack of mail they still need to sift through? But going paperless reduces clutter in your home and the environmental impact. Electronic statements also offer convenience and enhanced security.
Buy local products
Shopping locally reduces the environmental impact of your purchases. When buying from a large national chain store, your products are produced outside your local community, often halfway across the globe. That means those products had to be shipped to reach the store shelves in your community. Such shipping leads to greater fuel consumption and air pollution. But local businesses often buy their supplies from other local businesses, cutting down on shipping and, as a result, benefitting the environment. So, buy from the local producer. It helps the business while cutting down on pollution.
Buy seasonal fruits and vegetables
The most significant tangible benefit of eating seasonally is saving money on food. When you buy what’s in season, you buy food at the peak of its supply, and it costs less for farmers and distribution companies to harvest and get to your grocery store. And chances are, it tastes better!
Eat less packaged foods (and meat)
Containers and packaging alone contribute more than 23% of the material reaching landfills in the U.S. Reducing the amount of packaged food you consume can save you empty calories, over-processed food consumption, and money. It also helps reduce the litter on our beaches and other waterways. Meanwhile, eating less meat can have a positive impact. If you can take on just one meatless day per week, you can majorly impact water consumption and pollution annually. Some might restrict their meat eating to weekends, commit to smaller portions of meat or dairy in each meal, or choose bean over chicken burritos. Whatever you do, it helps the environment and your pocketbook.