Imagine that green living is just the way we all live. What would that mean to you? Energy efficiency, water conservation, sustainable or recycled building materials and furnishings, a safe, healthy home. All great answers.
You might want to be green at home but where do you start and how do you afford it are often the first questions. You will have to do what so many of us resist…. change how you do things.
Change doesn’t come easy does it especially when you are already busy with work and family and just plain everyday life. But more and more I think it is becoming clear that being greener may no longer be a choice but a necessity.
Wrapping Our Brains Around Being Green
Green living is a process. A new way of thinking about how we live and what we buy. It takes time to change our thinking so we can begin to do things in new ways The most important thing is that we start somewhere.
I like to dream that if money was no object I would live in an eco friendly house with the all latest green features, sustainably made furniture, eco friendly flooring, everything imaginable but that’s me. I find it interesting and exciting the potential for living in a way that is gentler to the earth. But not everyone wants to green their life from top to bottom and certainly there are just not that many of us that can afford to take living green to the extreme but we can find ways to be green that work for us. The choice is yours. Do you live the green life by starting with small changes and work from there or will you jump in with both feet and go all the way green?
Green Living At Home
There are so many things you can do around your home and if you are like me you may want to try them all but let’s face it green products can be expensive. Well, maybe you can’t do everything you would like to today but you can do something. The good news is many green changes you make in your home can cost very little. And don’t forget that while there may be a cost to implement them they often pay for themselves – using less energy and water saves money. Here are some of my favorites for green living:
- Begin switching all your light bulbs over to Energy Star rated bulbs.
Energy efficient bulbs can be found for any need.
- Seal any leaks around your home.
Look everywhere from windows and doors to dryer vents or cables coming into the house. One tube of caulk or some foam insulation goes a long way.
- Consider using a rain barrel.
Collecting rain water that drains off the roof and using it for watering plants outdoors is a great way to conserve water and if you pay for water you’ll save a little money too.
- Try putting a bucket or watering can under the tub faucet.
I have done this for years. Save the water that would normally go down the drain while waiting for the hot water to get to the faucet. Use it to water your plants.
- Get a digital thermostat for your home.
These are way easier to control. Set it at a higher temperature in summer and lower for the winter. You will notice a difference in your electric bill.
- Use plenty of fans in the summer.
I have been able to keep my thermostat set between 78 and 80 as long as I have my ceiling and floor fans on and fans use much less energy.
- Look for the Energy Star label when shopping for appliances and electronics.
Computers, laptops, air conditioners, washers, vacuum cleaners, all these and many more items can be made to be very energy efficient. Anything carrying the Energy Star typically use 10% to 50% less energy.
- Use power strips for all your electronic equipment even cell phone chargers.
Surprisingly these items still use some energy even when off. By connecting them to a power strip and flipping the switch when you are done using them you will stop what is sometimes called vampire energy from being wasted.
- Get reusable shopping bags.
Stop the insanity of plastic bag garbage. Even if you are a good recycler large amounts of resources are used to make both plastic and paper bags and all for something that for more the most part is used just one time and discarded. Check out reusable shopping bags for more info.
- And let’s not forget reusable water bottles.
If you are in the habit of buying water when you are out this is a great place to start being green. It does take a little bit to get into the habit of filling and carrying a water bottle but it is easier when you find the size and style of water bottle that fits you. This is an important step to take. You can help reduce the huge quantities of water bottles that still end up as trash somewhere.
- Make saving energy a game.
Challenge yourself and your family to living green. See who in the family is the best at turning out the lights or the TV when leaving the room. Your reward will be a lower electric bill but for the kids create little rewards like a fun outing to the park or some special time with just Mom or Dad.
Start with small affordable changes and go from there. Once you get going you may find as I have, that the possibilities for green living are fascinating.
All the items pictured above and more can be found at the Amazon Green Store. If you are an Amazon shopper like I am you will appreciate having all the green products in one place. This is also a good resource for information for green living.
Products You Use Everyday
An area where affordable changes can be made is when using cleaners, detergents, deodorizers, polishes and waxes. Do you know what ingredients are used in these products? Many of them have no place in healthy, green living. When you know the ingredients commonly used you can make better choices. Check out green cleaning products for help or consider making some of your own homemade cleaning products. It’s easy when use ingredients you already have on hand and it sure saves money.
Decorating Your Home For Green Living
Keep in mind when decorating and furnishing your home that going green is often healthier. As you are making changes to your home I think it is important to concentrate your green efforts on anything that that would affect the quality of indoor air. So that would be any materials that offgas nasty fumes that could cause health problems.
That means finding alternatives and we are beginning to have many more choices available. Some changes like choosing low or no VOC emitting paints are relatively inexpensive but make a difference in indoor air quality. (Olympic Paints makes no VOC emitting paints that can be found at hardware stores like Lowes.)
If you are considering new flooring consider eco friendly flooring. Carpeting in particular can cause allergies and other health issues. There are hundreds of different chemicals used to treat carpeting so finding either a safe choice or another kind of flooring makes sense.
Make Your Carpets Safer
If you already own carpeting and are not ready to replace it consider using a product like AFM SafeChoice Carpet Shampoo and Sealant which helps to clean out and then seal harmful chemicals found in typical carpeting.
Your next area of consideration could be the furnishings, bedding and hardwood furniture. You can decorate by using organic fabrics or Forest Stewardship Council certified wood. Let’s not forget that vintage or used furnishings and decor play a part in green living.
Once you start looking around you may find it exciting to see all the interesting products available for green living. Choose items that are made well, are long lasting and of course only buy what you love. Try mixing old with new. Vases made from recycled glass on a vintage coffee table. A throw rug made from recycled plastic with a funky old lamp. Enjoy the hunt and make your home a reflection of who you are and how you choose to live.
Green Living Is A Choice
Make green living a fun and interesting challenge. Make changes as you can and even if money is tight get more creative. Just refuse to go backward by choosing cheap and low quality. More often than not it won’t last, is made in some way that harms the environment, is made by people who are treated very poorly or is not healthy for you or your family. No thanks but I’d rather go without.
We are at a time when there are so many more choices you can make to bring green living into your home and you will enjoy the benfits of a healthier home plus all that satisfaction from doing something good. You could be a part of a small but growing group of women who are willing to make the changes needed to make their homes and the planet healthier.
More Ideas For Green Living
Courtesy of Natural Living for Women.
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