Photos and videos of rapidly melting polar ice can be unsettling, and constant TV weather proclamations about the hottest day, week, month or season since the beginning of temperature record-keeping can also be quite disconcerting.
You want to do something about it and the following are seven great tips to make your home or apartment more eco-friendly.
Turn Up the Temperature
Keeping your housing unit warmer reduces your carbon footprint, and it’s as simple as that. Even when it’s 90 degrees outside, you don’t need to have your thermostat set at 70.
Many people easily get used to 75, and some even do 78 or 80. In the winter, try heating your home to only 68 degrees and wear a sweater. This not only saves you money but again, it aids the planet since fewer resources have to go to heating or cooling.
Plant More Sensibly
Friends of ours moved to Texas and were so excited about the long growing season that they went to the garden center and bought all of their familiar northern plants.
Their yard looked great until July and August when temperatures reached over a hundred degrees for many, many days in a row.
Soon their property looked like a desert since those northern plants that liked the 80s couldn’t take the 100-degree heat.
The next year they planted perennial native Texas foliage, and nothing died. Our friends also vowed not to plant anything that used lots of water, so their yard is full of native succulents and cacti.
Aloe vera plants are also succulents, meaning their bodies hold a lot of water and you don’t need to excessively water them – and even less so in the winter. Planting native is a great way to help the environment.
Smart systems are great, and although we previously mentioned thermostat-awareness, if you get a smart thermostat and the corresponding app, you will be able to control everything from your phone or mobile device. This will automatically help you save even more energy.
Think you have to spend thousands of dollars on expensive roof-top solar panels? Think again, because you can go online and buy a windowsill solar unit that will produce enough power for one room’s lighting needs with enough power left over to run a computer.
Get rid of that old incandescent fluorescent fixtures and go LED. LEDs are cheaper every year, they use less energy, create less heat, and last a long time. You can buy an LED entryway hall light that produces an amazing amount of light and will last 40 years. And, if you look inside, there are no bulbs to be found!
Graywater, greywater or gray water–it’s all the same. This is water that is left after you have bathed, showered or washed the dishes. Used washing machine water will qualify also, and even if you don’t have a sophisticated system, you can manually harvest this water and feed your plants with it.
Finally, we know that this should be intuitive, but remember that boring old recycling can be a great way toward eco-friendliness. If your apartment — whether you live in a small Minneapolis apartment or a penthouse in New York City — doesn’t offer the proper containers, gather up your stuff and take it to the municipal recycling facility.
Next time you watch the news, make sure that instead of just being an observer of global environmental issues, be a participant if the solution and do whatever you can to make your home or apartment more eco-friendly.
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