What Makes an Eco-Friendly House?
So you’re eco-friendly and want an eco-friendly house. Below are some things to look for when buying or renovating your house. Each has been categorized based on the necessary commitment level (as outlined in SYOM’s Green-O-Meter) and the particular utility it has to do with, whether that’s power, gas, water, waste, or miscellaneous.
Is Your Power Empowering the Planet?
Whether it’s coffee, tea, or electricity, we all need a little fuel to keep on going. And unless your house runs on wishful thinking, these are some steps you can take to reduce its strain on the environment:
- Fill your dishwasher up and hit delay it so that it runs during off-peak hours. If it doesn’t have a delay button, then just run your dishwasher overnight right before you go to sleep
- Hand-wash your clothes or wash your clothes in cold water
- 80-90% of the energy used by washing machine comes from heating up the water!
- Clean out your furnace filters and air conditioner every once in a while. Dirt and other debris can obstruct airflow, making your appliances work harder than they need to.
- Make sure your fridge is in a shady spot! Don’t make it work overtime to keep your things cool
- Buy a smart power strip so that your appliances/technology aren’t using energy when they don’t need to be
- Get eco-friendly lights like compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) or light-emitting diode bulbs (LEDs) instead of Halogen incandescent bulbs
- These last longer too so you can save money in the long run
- Buy a house with ceiling fans and use these instead of your air conditioner
- Get motion sensor lights so that the lights automatically turn off when you leave the room
- Invest in some renewable batteries instead of using the disposable ones
- Buy a programmable thermostat so the house only heats/cools while you’re home
- Swap out your old appliances for energy-efficient ones that don’t use as much electricity. This includes dryers, water heaters, refrigerators, etc.
- Get a house with a skylight or install a new one to get more natural lighting in your house
- Invest in some solar panels to take advantage of “free” energy
- You can even sell some of your leftover electricity back to the grid and get tax credits for getting solar panels (for more details, click here).
Is Your Gas Where It’s At?
No, not that kind of gas. That kind of gas is probably never where it’s supposed to be. But your other kind of gas (the house gas) may not be where it’s supposed to be either. Instead of keeping some things crisp and cool, and other things warm and toasty, you may be overheating and overcooling certain parts of your house. Here are a few ways to make the most of your gas:
- Turn down your water heater from an insane 140°F to a cooler (but still warm) 120°F that is actually safe for human skin
- Turn down your thermostat in the winter and raise it in the summer. Even changing it be a degree can help!
- Move any furniture away from your air conditioner or furnace to get unobstructed airflow
- Buy an area rug to cover any cold tiles or hardwood floors
- Get curtains or blinds to keep in cool air and heat
- Insulate your water heater if you can’t afford a new one
- Plant deciduous trees to the south and west side of the house for shade in the summer and sunlight in the winter
- Invest in better insulation for your house
- Double glaze your windows to keep in heat or upgrade to energy-efficient windows
Do You Know Water You Talking About?
Water is all around us but, contrary to popular belief, it is NOT in limitless supply. Therefore, save yourself the money and the planet its most popular resource by looking into these tactics:
- Make sure there are no leaks or drippy taps in your house! Leaks cost you money and are bad for the planet. Call a plumber today if you think you have a leak or if you notice a sudden spike in your water bill
- Turn off the water when you’re not using it. For example, don’t leave it running if you’re brushing your teeth or are in between rinses in the shower
- Install a low-flow shower-head
- Buy a rain barrel and use rainwater to water your plants
- Get a low-flow toilet and other low-flow appliances like sink faucets
SH*T!! Watch Your Waste!
Let’s be real. Humans produce a ton of waste. And I’m not just talking about potty mouths. So let’s take better care of the planet and clean up after ourselves more. Here are some ways you can cut down on the BS:
- Make a compost bin in your garden or put your scraps in a bag in the freezer
- Get rid of your coffee pods and make normal drip coffee instead
- Go paperless – a lot of companies are offering e-bills now instead of sending paper bills to your house.
- Use natural cleaning products like vinegar, citric acid, and bicarbonate of soda
- Make your own natural pesticides using garlic oil or tomato leaves
- Perfume your air with essential oils instead of synthetic fragrances. You can even buy a spider plant to purify the air instead of using aerosol sprays
- Buy a houseplant to turn your CO2 into O2
- Get a recycling bin! If you have a designated spot for recyclables, you will be more likely to recycle
- Cut down on using plastic or disposable things
- Start a meal plan to avoid wasting food
- Get a house with a garden so you can grow your own produce and use your compost as fertilizer
- Dispose of batteries, left-over paint, electronics, prescription drugs, fluorescent light bulbs, and other toxic waste at a hazardous waste facility near you
Everything, But the Kitchen Sink – Miscellaneous
For those overachievers out there, here are some more ways you can help out Mother Nature:
- Look for houses made with sustainable materials such as bamboo floors instead of hardwood floors
- Use organic materials such as organic sheets, eco-friendly paint, etc.
- Buy second-hand products or borrow when you can
- Cook with seasonal and locally-grown products
Last but not least, you can always save gas, money, effort, and time by getting a mortgage online. Speak with a SYOM representative today to find out more!