Having an environmentally friendly home is a simple way to help protect the environment.
There are many DIY techniques that can be used to make your home more environmentally friendly. Most of the products required for these techniques are inexpensive and can be purchased at your local home improvement store. This instructable focuses on evaluating 5 main areas in your home.
Step 1: Decrease Electrical Usage
Electrical usage makes up a large portion of a home utility bill. For example, any household item that is plugged into an outlet is using energy even if the item is not on. Conducting an energy audit is a great way to create a baseline for home electrical usage.
How to Conduct an Energy Audit:
• Record every item that is connected to an electrical outlet
• Record when the item is used or needs electricity
• Evaluate when the item needs to be connected to an outlet
• Unplug items based on the conclusions from step 3
• Shut off any unused surge suppressors and power strips.
When purchasing a large appliance it is very important to make sure that the appliance is energy efficient. Any appliance that has the Energy Star logo on it meets the specifications of the government supported Energy Star Program. For more information check out http://www.energystar.gov/
Incandescent bulbs are present in many older homes today. These types of bulbs have a low initial cost but are highly inefficient. Incandescent bulbs should be replaced with Compact Fluorescent Light (CFLs) bulbs. Although the initial cost of a CFL is more than that of an incandescent bulb, the energy required to power the bulb is 75% less.
Step 2: Increase Heating and Cooling Efficiency
If the windows and doors in a home do not seal properly a significant amount of energy will be wasted due to unnecessary cooling and heating. There are several products that can be purchased to seal windows and doors. All seals in a home should be inspected annually. Rope Caulk can be used to create a seal where windows open and close. Alternatively a Window Insulation Kit can be used to place an air tight plastic covering over the window. Both products are shown in a photo below.
Step 3: Decrease Water Usage
Water usage is something that many people find challenging to reduce. Replacing all of the nozzles in a home with low flow, high pressure nozzles is a simple way to start reducing water. This type of nozzle is able to clean just as effectively as a normal nozzle. The higher pressure of the water spreads the stream over a larger area which reduces the amount of water required.
Step 4: Recycle and Compost
Recycling is a well known technique. Items such as tin cans, bottles, cardboard, and paper are actively being collected by waste management facilities. Handing over the recycled goods is typically as easy as putting them in a separate container next to your non-recyclable trash. This may vary by city. Contact your local waste management facility to get more information on a program near you.
Composting is a simple way to reuse goods from your home. Any organic substance can be composted as long as it does not decrease the oxygen content of the compost. Oxygen is required for the decay of the compost to occur. Organic materials include leaves, grass, some food products, hay, etc. All of these organic materials are added to a bin and allowed to sit and decay. The end product is very fertile and can be added to gardens.
Step 5: Use Environmentally Friendly Cleaners
Common household cleaners are very harmful to the environment. The chemicals that are used in most of these products do not have the capability to completely break down in water. Although they may meet regulatory criteria there is still a negative impact on the environment. There are many biodegradable cleaners available at local supermarkets.