As our world develops, there is a growing awareness of the need to be more environmentally conscious. This has led to a surge in eco-friendly products and initiatives (which we’re all for!), as people look for ways to reduce their carbon footprint.
The thought of reducing one’s carbon footprint can feel overwhelming – particularly for families with young children, however there are plenty of super simple ways to make your home more eco-friendly without making drastic lifestyle changes or spending a lot of money.
Here are 8 easy ways to get started:
1. Swap Out Those Lightbulbs!
Replacing traditional light bulbs with LED light bulbs is an easy way to make your home more eco friendly. LED light bulbs use up to 90% less energy and last up to 25 times longer than traditional light bulbs. Generally speaking, you can now find LED bulbs to suit all shapes and sizes of light sockets and in a variety of brightnesses/ hues so you can find the perfect lights to suit your home.
2. Switch Off & Unplug!
One of the easiest ways to make your home more eco-friendly is to unplug electronics when you’re not using them. Electronics draw power even when they are turned off, so unplugging them when not in use will save energy. You can also conserve energy by turning off lights and power points when you leave a room and using power strips to turn off multiple devices at once.
3. Cold Water Laundry Washing
Did you know that you can save energy (and money) by simply washing your clothes in cold water? In fact, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, 90 percent of the energy used to wash clothes goes to heating the water. So if your washer has a cold-water setting, use it! Air-drying your clothes (instead of using a dryer) will of course always save so much energy as well.
If you have a dishwasher, consider using it instead of hand-washing. A recent study by the Department of Energy found that using a dishwasher rather than washing dishes by hand can save up to 5,000 gallons of water each year! This option outweighs the energy used by your dishwasher (based on a quick cycle with a full dishwasher).
4. Use Your Clothesline!
It can be very tempting to just chuck the clothes straight from the washing machine into the dryer, however here are 3 awesome reasons to make that extra bit of effort for each load;
- It saves energy & money. According to the Department of Energy, using a clothesline instead of an electric dryer can save you up to $100 per year in energy costs.
- It’s good for your clothes. Clothes that are dried in the sun and air smell fresher and last longer than those that are dried in a dryer.
- It’s good for the environment. A clothesline uses no electricity and produces zero emissions, while a dryer emits carbon dioxide and other harmful pollutants.
5. Install A Solar Water Heating System
Installing a solar water heating system is a great way to make your home more eco-friendly. A solar water heating system uses the sun’s energy to heat water, which then circulates through your home’s plumbing system. This can help you save money on your energy bills, and it’s also a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. Often, you will find government incentives that will help you out with the costs of a solar heating system.
6. Practice Responsible Waste Management
Reducing the plastics you choose at the supermarket is a great place to start – take your own veggie bags, choose unpackaged over packaged goods and stay away from products that have unnecessary amounts of plastic. In the home, ensuring you are properly disposing of waste, recycling and composting on a daily basis can make a huge difference to your environmental impact and a super eco-friendly practice to maintain! If your run a business ensure your staff and customers, similarly to Aotearoa Surf are educated on how to do this also to ensure everyone involved in your business endeavours does their part for the environment also!
7. Install A Programmable Thermostat
Do you live somewhere relatively warm or cold? Installing a programmable thermostat is an easy way to save energy and money. Programmable thermostats allow you to set different temperatures for different times of the day. During the summer, you can set the thermostat to higher temperatures when you’re not home or when you’re asleep. During the winter, you can set the thermostat to lower temperatures when you’re not home or when you’re asleep. Programmable thermostats can save you a lot of energy, and they are very easy to use.
8. Swap Out Plastics For Reusables
This simple yet effective action will have a bigger impact than you think over the long term. Purchasing glass or metal straws, takeaway coffee cups, food storage containers and bags in your home is not only aesthetically pleasing. These small swaps will encourage you to be less disposable when ordering takeaway coffees, storing food and participating in everyday activities that might otherwise involve nasty plastic!
There you have it – small swaps = big change! Let us know what you’ve been doing to move towards a more sustainable future for NZ and the world!