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How to Save Energy and Reduce Waste at Home

July 14, 2020 by Julia Weaver, Redfin

 

There are many changes you can make to reduce the environmental impact your home and your daily life has on the planet. Being mindful of how much your household consumes is important and even simple changes like using green cleaning products, finding ways to reuse your kitchen scraps, or locking your windows shut can lead to a healthier home. We’ve asked experts, from New York to Sacramento, to share how to save energy, reduce your carbon footprint, and save money all in the comfort of your own home.

Reconsider your grocery shopping habits

Try changing your grocery shopping habits and reduce the amount of packaging to greatly decrease the amount of waste generated by your household. Subscribe to a milk delivery service with reusable glass bottles, re-use bags at a bulk grocery store, and select glass or metal packaging can make a tremendous difference in reducing our consumption of plastics. And, looking for household items second-hand vs. online eliminates all the extra materials and resources associated with shipping.  – BrightHeart Decor

Conserve energy in a do-it-yourself fashion with LED lighting

The easiest DIY way to save energy is to install LED lighting and click the thermostat one to two degrees up or down. Another way to conserve energy is to get an energy audit and do basic installations of any cost-effective retrofits. And, a third way to reduce energy consumption is to graduate to the solar side of the world and make your own juice. – Edge Energy

Reduce your household’s consumption of water

There are a few ways to reduce demand for natural resources. According to the 5 R’s four actions should be taken, if possible Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, and Recycle. Try cutting down on your daily water usage at home by saving six liters of water a minute by turning off your tap while you brush your teeth. Use natural biodegradable cleaning products that don’t contain chemicals, and install taps and showers with automatic shut-off. – Bamboodu

Save energy and avoid expensive repairs

Smart Homes enable homeowners to save energy and money by automatically regulating lights and thermostats using geofencing and motion sensor technology. Leak detectors can notify homeowners of problems before they become costly repair situations. Freezer and refrigerator sensors can notify homeowners if a door is not closed properly, or if the unit is beginning to fail before the food is ruined. – Agile Home Automation

Be friendly to the environment (and your pocket) by going solar

Homeowners can install solar on their roof or property and pay no more than they were paying for electricity before, and hedge against rising electric costs while making the planet a cleaner place to live. Not only will solar save energy, but it will also increase the resale value of your home. – Green House Solar

Find ways to save and reuse your produce

To make the most of your produce, save your vegetable scraps. This can be anything from bell pepper tops, onion skins, or carrot tops, and store them in the freezer. Once you fill up a half-gallon of scraps, bring five cups of water to a boil and add your veggie scraps, one teaspoon of salt, and one teaspoon of black pepper, and simmer for one hour. Drain the scraps and now you have four cups of vegetable broth to use for cooking, soups, curries, or stews. You can even freeze them in ice cube molds to use for later. – Nutti Nelli

Think twice about the cleaning products you’re using

Save space and eliminate plastic from your cleaning routine when you use USDA certified biobased products. Consider incorporating detergent sheets and auto dish tabs that are 100 percent plastic-free. – Beyond Clean Products

Keep windows locked to avoid any air leaks

Keep your windows locked to save energy in your home. The lock is not only for security, but it also keeps the window close-packed and creates a seal along the weather-stripping of the window. An unlocked window is an open window. – Home Energy Saving Solutions

Clean safely and responsibly

Choose cleaning products that are third-party certified for both safety and product performance – look for the Green Seal logo or EPA Safer Choice logo to be sure the products will work as you expect them to without an unwelcome dose of toxic chemicals. No matter which products you choose, protect your lungs by opening windows while you clean, following label directions, never mixing cleaning products, spraying onto microfiber cloths instead of surfaces (except for select disinfectants), and sending children and pets into another room while you clean.  – Green Seal

Recycle your leftover household paint

A fresh coat of paint can give your home new life. However, leftover paint, like other hazardous household products does not belong in the trash. It should be recycled to avoid contaminating our soil and water sources and to divert landfill waste. –productcare.org of Canada

Enrich your soil and decrease landfill waste

Composting is one of the most impactful actions you can take to both reduce household waste heading to landfills and create an ultra-nourishing natural resource that your garden will love. Get started with either an in-ground composter, a tumbler or if you’re game, a worm farm (great fun for kids) – most are available at your local garden store and some cities even offer discounts on composters to help encourage this community supporting activity.  – Sustainable Jungle

Find out where your home is losing energy

We all want a healthy home and reasonable utility costs, but how do we get there? Take action with a free online breakdown of energy costs and savings. Validated by top tier scientists, this can help you figure out where your energy gremlins are lurking. – Clearly Energy

Use solar energy and a smart home system simultaneously

Homeowners can save energy and get a greater return on investment by pairing their solar system with a smart home system. These systems enable homeowners to schedule when appliances consume electricity, allowing you to use more of your solar power and send less to the grid. By shifting as much power consumption as possible to hours where your home solar is producing energy, homeowners can reduce their dependence on expensive electricity from the grid. – Freedom Forever

Always be prepared with solar lighting fixtures

Solar lighting fixtures are a great option when looking to reduce waste and save energy costs. They can be used in areas that do not have hardwired power and are free to operate. In the event of a power outage, you can simply bring your outdoor fixtures inside and provide safe, reliable illumination for your friends and family. – Earth Tech Products

Use just as much indoor lighting as necessary

One of the most effective ways to reduce your electricity bill is to install a lighting control system or smart lighting. We’re all used to running our lights at 100 percent (on/off) but the reality is that not only do we not need to use 100 percent of the energy of a bulb all of the time. Dimmable LEDs create a much more enjoyable living experience, and natural lighting that costs 20 to 50 percent less to run compared to regular switches. –TSP

Manage your home’s energy consumption using automation

Using automation for lighting, temperature control, and window coverings is the most cost-effective way to reduce waste, and manage and save energy use in your home. Today’s products sync with circadian rhythms and the astronomical clock for personal and precise customization. For example, lighting apps adjust for the time of day relative to sunrise and sunset over the course of the year, and automated window coverings open and close at the appropriate times each day. -Brad Smith, President, Audio Video Design

 

Pets = More Love (and bacteria)

Homes with dogs and cats have more bacteria and more types of bacteria in them than homes without these companions.1  There are two ways you can cut down on bacteria and pet odor with products recognized by the U.S. EPA’s Safer Choice and Design for the Environment Programs.

Tip 1: Wipe down high-contact surfaces regularly with  Beyond Multi-Purpose Disinfectant Cleaner.  This hydrogen peroxide formula kills 99% of Escherichia coli, Salmonella enterica, Staphylococcus aureus and Listeria monocytogenes on hard, non-porous surfaces.

Tip 2: Instantly freshen the places where your pets love to lounge…their bed, your bed, the couch, your car. Beyond Fabric & Air Mist is available in Extra Strength, Ocean Mist and Summer Sunrise scents and is safe for use on most fabrics and most importantly, it is safe to use around cats and dogs.

1 Wild Life of Our Homes study

Best Way to Refresh

When using an odor eliminator type product, make sure you don’t forget some commonly overlooked areas like your living room. Many people don’t realize that you can utilize the power of Beyond Fabric and Air Mist on almost all fabric surfaces, such as curtains and couches. It’s even safe to use around pets, so you can help get Fido’s bed smelling more like the day you first bought it, and less like the last set of muddy paws that slept there.