Creating a cozy hearth for the family
The green movement toward environmental-friendly choices and options isn’t just a phase, it's here to stay. Luckily for you, eco-friendly upgrades in your home are not only a great choice for the environment, but for your wallet as well. By making small changes around your space, like fixing leaky faucets and maintaining your heater's filter, you can conserve energy, water and money.
Illustration by Depositphotos.
Use Nature to Your Advantage
Take advantage of natural light as much as possible. Not only is it free, but the longer you avoid turning on your lamps and light fixtures, the more money you save on your energy bill. Avoid crowding the area in front of your windows to allow the sun to bathe your space. Trees can also be used to your advantage by reducing your heating and cooling costs. A strategically placed tree shades your driveway or patio in the summer; after the leaves fall off, the sun can enter your home and provide natural warmth in the winter. Trees that don't lose their leaves, such as evergreen trees, protect your home from the cold winds throughout the year, if you live in a cooler climate.
Upgrade or Maintain Your Filters
A dirty or old furnace filter prohibits your unit from running at maximum efficiency. Most filters need to be replaced every few months and by footing the upfront cost of the filter, you'll save money in the long run because your unit will be running at peak efficiency. Another filter to clean routinely is the one located in your dryer. Lint build-up in the filter prohibits your dryer from working as efficiently as it could. Keeping the lint clear helps dry your clothes faster and at a lower heat, saving you money.
Start by upgrading your water fixtures to a low-flow system that conserves water in the shower, when you flush the toilet, and while you're washing dishes in the sink. Fix all of your leaky faucets or toilets — this conserves an astounding amount of water and it's an easy fix. Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth or scrubbing dishes. And better yet, use a dishwasher to conserve even more water.
Speaking of dishwashers, for a great eco-friendly upgrade to your home that saves money, focus on your appliances. Look for appliances that are certified Energy Star. These appliances will eventually pay for themselves from all the money you'll be saving on your energy or water bill. For example, Whirlpool dishwashers that are Energy Star-certified conserve water by using a sensor that determines how dirty your dishes are, and then adjusting water usage accordingly. Their thoughtfully crafted design takes advantage of every nook and cranny, giving you space for more dishes and a bigger bang for your buck when you run your dishwasher.
The small amount of energy that is drawn when electronics, such as TVs, DVD players, game consoles and kitchen appliances, are plugged in but aren't in use adds up. Often referred to as energy vampires, appliances that are not used every day such as the blender or toaster oven should be unplugged. For appliances and electronics used more frequently, an easy upgrade is to use a surge suppressor that turns them off completely when not in use. Try this and you'll be surprised how much your wallet will thank you.
Destined to be an Armenian housewife perfecting her hummus recipe, Natalie Posdaljian instead chose a life of marine field biology and sriracha. Born and raised in southern California, her veins rush with salty seawater and sunshine no matter where she goes. When she's not saving jellyfish from extinction, Natalie is dancing in the shower, knitting on a plane or swinging in her hammock.