These days, everyone seems to be preoccupied with developing newer and more complex ways to save the environment. However, the fact of the matter is that when it comes to being eco-friendly, bigger is not always better. Some of the most effective strategies for combating global climate change are also some of the simplest. It’s true! If everyone were to just take a few moments and follow some of these tips, then the planet would be in much better shape, because despite Kermit the Frog’s statement to the contrary, it really is easy being green. Here are 11 simple ways to be eco-friendly.
1. Dress for the weather
Instead of cranking up the heat in the winter and blasting the AC in the summer, dress weather appropriately and give your thermostat a rest. Even just a few degrees difference can mean a lot when it comes to wasted energy (and heating/cooling bills).
2. Replace your conventional bulbs
Incandescent bulbs only convert about 20% of their energy into visible light—the rest is given off as heat. Switch to new LED bulbs; they’re more efficient, and they can last up to 100 times longer!
3. Cut back on watering the lawn
There are few practices that are less necessary and more wasteful than watering the lawn. Opt instead for drought resistant, low maintenance grasses that don’t need to be watered as often, such as St. Augustine or Zoysia grass. Alternately, take a tip from Arizona residents, and replace your lawn with a well arranged rock garden.
4. Use less gasoline (and avoid hybrids)
Remember what we said about complex solutions not actually being very effective? Well, nowhere is that more true than in relation to hybrid automobiles. Hybrid cars use less gas, sure, but the production process used to create them—not to mention the fact that most are powered by electricity generated in coal burning power plants—results in a solution that is actually more harmful than the original problem. Instead, use public transportation, carpool, or ride a bike.
5. Use a washboard and a clothesline
You might be surprised at how much water your washing machine uses. The same can be said for your dryer in regards to electricity. Cut back on how much you waste, by washing your clothing by hand and hanging it to dry. It’s not all that difficult, and you’ll end up saving money on your utility bills. If that sounds like too much work, then at least set your washing machine to use cold water instead of hot.
6. Fix any holes or cracks in your house
Many homes waste energy every day in the form of escaping heat. Check around the outside of your house, and look for holes and cracks through which heat may be escaping, then use some mortar or caulk to fill them in.
7. Automate your home
Home automation’s one of the best ways to cut down on wasted energy. By combining technologies such as learning thermostats, occupancy sensing lighting, and remote monitoring and control, home owners can keep better track of the energy they use, and can get help from their homes in reducing it.
8. Go paperless
If you find that you’re drowning in junk mail, bills, and a thousand other bits of paper that show up in your mailbox every single day, then help out the planet by switching over to paperless. Contact your various utility providers and anyone else who might need to send you a bill in the mail, and see if they offer the option to pay bills online. If so, then you should be able to opt out of receiving a paper copy in the mail. Likewise, you should be able to contact various companies and ask them to stop sending you junk mail.
9. Turn off the computer when it’s not in use
Even in low power mode, your computer is guzzling energy. If you’re not actively using it, than shut it down. Even if it takes a few minutes to boot back up, you’ll still be better off.
10. Buy local
It takes a lot of energy to transport food over long distances, so buying local not only strengthens your community, but it also helps the planet.
11. Keep it up!
Helping the environment isn’t something you can do one afternoon and then move on; it requires constant awareness and a change in lifestyle. So keep it up, and remember, every little bit helps!