Eco-friendly Things To Know Before Buying Your First Home

green-buildings-jordanAs we humans continue to develop, we use more and more resources and put more and more toxins into the air. It’s our responsibility to do what we can help our earth. The first place to start is right at home. There are a number of things we can do in our households to make the world a little bit greener. Here are 9 eco-friendly things you can do at your house.

  1. Use the right lights

The light bulbs you use in your home can make a big difference on your carbon imprint (and your wallet). While incandescent light bulbs are generally the cheapest kind you’ll find at the store, that doesn’t mean they are the best option. Instead of incandescent bulbs, it’s a good idea to go with either CFLs or LEDs. They last up to 25 times longer and use up to 80% less energy. While it may cost you a couple extra dollars up front, you save a lot more money in the long run.

  1. Get energy star appliances

Every home needs to have a washer, dryer, dishwasher, and HVAC unit. These appliances are the cause of a lot of the energy and water used in the home. If you’re buying appliances for a new home, it’s important to buy appliances that will contribute to the environment. But how do you know which appliances to buy? Look for the Energy Star sticker! These products utilize up to 50% less energy than standard appliances.  If buying a home, check to see if the appliances are Energy Star appliances.

  1. Use less water and use cold water

We waste more water throughout the day than you could imagine. Here are a number of ways that you and your family can reduce the amount of water you waste:

Don’t flush garbage

Every time you flush the toilet, it uses gallons of water. If you’re simply flushing a cigarette butt or a small tissue, it’s a huge waste of water! Make sure people throw garbage away properly. Also, you might want to consider low-flow toilets or toilets that use less water per flush.

Only wash full loads of laundry and dishes

Have you ever thrown one or two outfits in the laundry machine because you just needed to have them cleaned? Just do a full load. Running the washer requires a lot of water. Only run it and the dishwasher when they are full. Also, cold water requires significantly less energy than hot water, so use cold water when possible.

Shorter showers

Even though a long, warm shower can be relaxing, save those for when you really need that extra couple of minutes to yourself. Generally, try to take shorter, lukewarm showers. Encourage others to take shorter showers as well.

Turn the water off when you don’t need it on

Turn the water off when brushing your teeth and other daily activities. There’s no reason to leave the water running.

4. Shut off the lights

Be careful to turn off all electronics and lights when you leave the house. Leaving them on is a wasteful habit. Also, it’s a good idea to unplug items you are not using instead of leaving them on standby. When electronics are on standby, they are still using power. It doesn’t use as much, but the little amount of power it uses adds up.

5. Recycle

There are a number of items you throw out that can be recycled and reused. Plastic, glass, and aluminum all have the potential to be recycled. Designate specific bins for these items to make separating them easy. Get everyone in the household onboard, including children. If there isn’t a recycling program in your town already, take the initiative to support one in your local government.

6. Automatic thermostats

Technology now gives us the opportunity to control many of the things in our home from anywhere with our smartphone. Many of these items can be set automatically as well. For example, the thermostat in your home can be changed every day when you and your family go to work and school. You don’t need to keep the home comfortable when no one is home. Creating this automatic setting helps you from forgetting before you leave in the morning. If you do need to change it, you can do so from work. The same can be said for your lights. If you think you left a light on, you can check with your automation tools on your smartphone.

7. Solar panels

Something becoming more and more popular, especially in areas with a lot of sun, solar panels help make your home self-sustaining by generating and storing its own energy. Instead of using energy from the electric company, your solar panels will supply the electricity for the items in your home. It also stores the energy for when there is no dun. While the initial cost may be expensive, it will greatly reduce the electric bills. It’s also a very attractive feature to the growing amount of homebuyers who want to buy a green home.

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8. Buy with the environment in mind

Every item in your home has a carbon footprint from the food you buy to the cleaning supplies you buy. The carbon footprint varies based on items used to make the product, packaging, and manufacturing practices. Look for items made from recyclable materials. Also, do research to learn what companies make decisions with the environment in mind and support those companies. Look for companies that avoid wasteful packaging. Finally, avoid items that are known to be bad for the environment, such as plastic straws.

9. Location

The location of your home will contribute to its carbon footprint in a variety of ways. When buying a home, Jeff Stewart from Homes in Meridian (https://www.homesinmeridian.com/) says that you should consider factors such as neighborhood amenities, the quality and size of the homes in the neighborhood, and statistics on nearby schools. Check to make sure you’re living in an environment that shares your environmental concerns.

Every person has a carbon footprint. You may not think your individual carbon footprint matters, but they add up to contribute to the pollution and lack of resources in the world. Make a difference by starting at home. Hopefully, you can teach younger generations good habits to take with them to their home as well.

About Salman Zafar

Salman Zafar is the Founder of EcoMENA, and an international consultant, advisor, ecopreneur and journalist with expertise in waste management, waste-to-energy, renewable energy, environment protection and sustainable development. His geographical areas of focus include Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe. Salman has successfully accomplished a wide range of projects in the areas of biomass energy, biogas, waste-to-energy, recycling and waste management. He has participated in numerous conferences and workshops as chairman, session chair, keynote speaker and panelist. Salman is the Editor-in-Chief of EcoMENA, and is a professional environmental writer with more than 300 popular articles to his credit. He is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on renewable energy, waste management and environmental sustainability in different parts of the world. Salman Zafar can be reached at salman@ecomena.org or salman@bioenergyconsult.com
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