Going green is a popular buzzword in today’s environmentally conscious society, but it’s not as easy as recycling or buying an electric car. Things in each room of your house could be a little greener, so let’s take a closer look at those rooms and figure out where you can make some eco-friendly improvements.
Going green in the kitchen
Let’s start in the kitchen. There are plenty of obvious things you can do, like recycling and switching to reusable paper towels, but there are plenty of other ways to go green while you’re cooking in the kitchen.
Start with your refrigerator. Is it near a window or in an area where it gets plenty of sunlight?
If it is, move it. Your fridge is not a plant, after all, and leaving it in the sun makes it work harder to keep your food cold. A harder-working refrigerator will be much less eco-friendly, especially if you’re still on the grid and using traditional power sources. If you’ve got an older fridge, you might also want to consider upgrading to a new Energy Star model.
When it comes to cooking, save your organic waste. Vegetable peels, eggshells and used coffee grounds make rich compost you can use to fertilize your garden or your flowerbeds.
Plus, it keeps that organic waste from filling up your local landfill.
Going green in the bathroom
Next, on to the bathroom. You’ve got plenty of places where you can go a little bit greener.
First, start with your taps. A leaky tap can waste nearly 50 gallons of water a week, while a leaky toilet can cost you upwards of 200 gallons a day, so fix those leaks promptly. While we’re talking about water, swap out your traditional showerhead with a low-flow showerhead — aerators in the showerhead will keep up the same sort of water pressure while using less water overall.
The bathroom is an excellent place to go green — literally. Add some ferns or a spider plant to your bathroom to improve the air quality and make potentially the smelliest room in the house a little bit more pleasant to be around.
Going green in the bedroom
The bedroom doesn’t seem like a place where you could go green, but there are plenty of options available to make your bedroom a little eco-friendlier.
First, change up your bedclothes. Using sheets made from organic cotton, for example, can help your bedroom be a little greener — and you don’t even have to get green sheets. Switching your blanket or comforter from polyester to wool or cotton fleece is a good option too — it’s environmentally friendlier to produce and doesn’t create the same kind of toxic byproducts polyester does.
Invest in some quality light-blocking blinds. Not only will they help you sleep — they block streetlights just as well as sunlight — they will help keep your room cooler during the day, so your home’s HVAC system doesn’t have to work as hard. While we all love a bit of natural light, sunlight is not your A/C’s friend.
Going green in the living room
In the living room, start by replacing your old-school incandescent lightbulbs with CFL or LED bulbs. You can save up to 66 percent on your home’s lighting costs by replacing your lightbulbs — plus, CFL bulbs produce dramatically fewer greenhouse gases.
If it’s time to replace your furniture, consider switching to bamboo furniture. It’s as strong as oak, but grows infinitely faster, so it’s a much more sustainable option when it comes to furniture.
If you’re not using one of your appliances, unplug it. Many of our appliances sit idle during the day, especially when we’re at work or away from home, so unplugging them keeps them from sucking up any power when they’re not in use. If you’re forgetful, consider investing in a smart power strip that will automatically cut off power to your unused appliances when you’re not home.
Going green from the ground up
If you’re building a new home, you’ve got a unique opportunity to start going green from the ground up. Choosing green building materials can make your whole house eco-friendly, so all the tips we’ve mentioned thus far will just add to that and help to reduce your home’s carbon footprint even further. You don’t have to opt for hardwood for your home’s frame — using plastic composite lumber or even recycled wood is better for the planet.
Cool roofing helps keep your home’s energy costs down by reflecting more of the sunlight that would otherwise heat your home. If there is any steel involved in your home’s construction, using recycled steel helps reduce the emissions caused by steel smelting.
Steel is one of the few common building materials that is 100 percent recyclable, so if you tear down your home to build something new in the future, you can recycle the steel in your home’s infrastructure into your new home!
These are just a few of the examples of green construction materials that could help shape your new home. Talk to your contractor to see what other options you have!
Going green is about so much more than switching to a Tesla or making sure you separate your recyclables. It’s a lifestyle you can apply to every room in your house, so what are you waiting for?
This is a guest post written by Megan Ray Nichols.
Megan Ray Nichols is a science writer and the editor of Schooled By Science. She enjoys discussing scientific discoveries and exploring the world around her. Follow her on twitter @nicholsrmegan.