Save money and the Planet.
Are you aware of the statistics on carbon footprints? A carbon footprint is the measure of total emissions caused by a subject or event. In other terms, how much junk we as humans are leaving behind on a daily basis. On average, Americans emit three times the global average of emissions, although some may argue this point being an unfair representation of facts, since many poor or underdeveloped countries emit very little.
Simple changes, big results
The statistics do not have to be set in stone. Changing our habits, how we go about our daily lives, and making conscious choices to create a better future for our kids is not groundbreaking. We have been aware of the problem for decades, and it’s about time we all did our part. Being a green consumer is not complicated, and it doesn’t have to be overly expensive; It’s a duty that we all must embrace and take seriously.
On a positive note, the possibilities are endless when it comes to changing our bad habits. Simple alternatives that can create big differences are often easy and cheap to implement. Many of the services you use regularly can be automated to save energy, money, and the environment. Going green in your home can be done in many different ways. It is also kind of cool to turn off the lights at home from your desk at work. Especially if the kids are home… They will be convinced your home is occupied by dead great uncle Bob.
- Sustainable energy, i.e. solar panels
- Efficient light bulbs and fixtures
- Low flow water faucets
- Smart thermostats
- Efficient appliances
- Recycling everything
- WiFi enabled home control
- Appliance upgrades
- Efficient power strips/smart strips
Starting with the most obvious..
Solar panels are becoming more popular by the week, with panels suddenly appearing overnight on rooftops and taking full advantage of the free sunshine. Energy companies are also converting to solar power, wind turbines, and other such sustainable and smart sources. Solar panels will eventually pay for themselves, considering the huge savings on your energy bill. Often times homeowners are receiving electric bills for as little as $1.00 or even checks received from the energy provider. Did you know you can actually control your entire home electric usage from your smartphone?
LED lighting and smart lighting
Most are aware of the benefits of changing bulbs to LED or CFL, the cost to operate is significantly lower than standard lighting, and they last a lot longer than standard incandescent bulbs. However, adding a sustainable smart technology system to your home can offer another aspect that you may not have considered. Turning those lights off automatically. Dimming lights when it isn’t necessary for full power, such as during the daytime hours. How many times have you shouted “Turn off the lights when you leave the room!” to the kids? I know I have, probably even daily.
Swapping your thermostat is an easy way to keep your home at a comfortable temperature without eagle eyeing the thermostat constantly, or taking it down too low where it doesn’t shut off for long periods of time, well past the reasonable temperature. Many electric companies offer free thermostat and install if you are willing to allow them to remotely control your home’s heating and cooling.
Upgrading your appliances to new and efficient models not only offers savings on those energy bills, but uses less energy all-around. Dishwashers, for example, use less water. Water heaters can be set to lower temperatures, and adjusted seasonally using the least energy possible. Other appliances such as stoves and refrigerators are also great options for upgrades. Some energy companies offer great rebates; some even offer a program that will allow you to trade your old refrigerator for a brand new one free of charge.
Installing new, energy saving power strips throughout your home offers an easy way to lower a portion of your energy consumption. Many people do not realize the power strips they are using are not energy efficient. Small changes such as this can reduce energy consumption significantly combined with other changes, such as light bulbs.
Replacing high flow faucets, shower heads, and fixtures result in half of the water usage and waste. A low-flow shower head sprays at around 2.5 gallons per minute, while it’s counterpart can pour up to a whopping 5 gallons per minute. The average shower takes around 7 minutes, and when you multiply the gph that is a lot of water being dumped down the drain.
To go a step further, there are many devices that allow you to control your home electronics, HVAC, lights, and other electronic components remotely. Connecting your home to your wifi enabled device gives you the opportunity to shut off that coffee pot that you forgot to turn off, or make sure the lights are all out, and even turn one on for safety purposes. Sustainable smart technology such as solar panels installed combined with wifi capabilities will drastically reduce your carbon footprint, and save you big money.
Most of us have jumped on the recycling bandwagon, whether it is the pocket change you get in return for your aluminum cans, or with the planet in mind. Regardless of your intent, the results are the same. Recycling paper, plastic, iron, and glass along with your aluminum cans helps keep our environment clean, less waste in our landfills, and less greenhouse gas pumped into our atmosphere.
Smart decisions, sustainable smart technology, cleaner life.
Creativity and a little technology offers endless possibilities. From smart heaters, to smart thermostats and lighting; making these changes even if it is one step at a time makes big differences. If we all make these changes, the results would be astronomical. I know we cannot all afford to make the transition in one day. On the other hand if we commit to a time frame or goal, such as a year to make all intended changes then we can replace the less efficient items in our homes with solutions for a green way of life. Having a time frame changes the dream to an attainable goal.