Sustainable living is top of mind as you plan your goals for the New Year. Small tweaks can add up to bigger lifestyle changes and make a positive impact on your home and the surrounding community.
Below are 20 tips for a more sustainable lifestyle in 2020:
- Check for water leaks and address immediately. Don’t forget to check the faucets outside of your home as well.
- Install low-flow shower heads and toilets in all of the bathrooms.
- Purchase products in glass bottles versus plastic.
- Avoid paper towels and napkins by swapping out washable dish towels and cloth napkins.
- Find out which items are recyclable in your neighborhood. Separate your recyclables from the house trash and put in the specified bin.
- Use an automated thermostat like Nest or Ecobee to keep your home comfortable while still using less energy.
- Purchase produce from your local farmers market.
- Start a garden in your own yard or join a community garden.
- As lightbulbs burn out in your home, replace them with LED bulbs. Make sure if you have a dimmer switch to purchase a compatible LED bulb or replace the switch.
- Use timed outlets or smart outlets to turn off electricity to appliances you use infrequently.
- Better yet, plug all of your chargers into a single power cord, then flip the switch to off when you aren’t charging the items.
- Turn off your computer instead of using sleep mode. Whether you have a desktop or laptop, your computer draws a lot of energy. When you are done working for the day, shut down your computer rather than using sleep mode.
- Choose native landscaping to minimize ecological impact of your yard. Ask your neighbors if they have planted their favorite flowers and offer to share clippings of your own plants in return.
- When watering your lawn and/or garden, many homes have reclaimed water available for use. While you will want to avoid watering a food garden with reclaimed water, it is perfect for ornamental plants and great for your lawn. Water in the early morning so the plants have time to soak it in before the heat of the day.
- Plant trees and bushes in strategic places around your home. Use Google Maps (or a traditional compass) to find out which side of your home gets the most direct sunlight. Plant trees near windows on that side of the house to get the benefit of shade to help keep the room cool. Thorny bushes can be used to prevent break-ins by creating an added layer of security near first floor windows.
- Add houseplants throughout your home. Spider plants (also called air plants) are low maintenance and are wonderful for removing toxins from the air in your home.
- Windows and doors are two of the main points for heat and cooling loss. Make sure that the seals around the doors and windows are intact to prevent air leaks. Upgrade to double- or triple-pane windows when you are able.
- Check your major appliances to make sure they are in working order. If it is time to replace a washer and dryer, dishwasher, or refrigerator, research which model is best for your family’s needs and the most energy efficient for your home. If you live in a community with gas appliances, consider purchasing a gas dryer rather than electric.
- Use your appliances with their efficiency in mind. Run a full load in the dishwasher or washing machine. A fully-loaded freezer runs more efficiently than one that is half-empty.
- Use no- or low-VOC products. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are common in paint and some cleaning products. When redecorating or replacing supplies, choose to purchase products without VOCs to minimize the effect on your health and the environment.
If you have any questions about this article, you can comment below or reach me by email at Sarah@EveryCornerTeam.com.
Sarah Olson is a Broker Associate and Realtor who acts as a “match maker” between opportunities and needs to help individuals and families meet their lifestyle goals. She successfully guides homebuyers and sellers through the sale and purchase of properties.