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  • Writer's pictureJulia Weaver

How to Be More Environmentally Friendly at Home

Updated: Aug 3, 2022

It’s becoming increasingly crucial for homeowners to do their part in fighting climate change. However, most people struggle to make a meaningful change because they simply don’t know where to begin.

You may be wondering how you can be more environmentally friendly at home. While a lot of factors are out of our control, simple changes at home can decrease greenhouse gas emissions and reduce your carbon footprint. We’ve asked experts from Tampa, FL to Sacramento, CA, to Singapore to share how homeowners can be more environmentally friendly at home. Check out what they had to say.

Look for incentive programs in your area

Becoming more environmentally friendly at home and reducing your carbon footprint through home energy retrofits can seem daunting and expensive. Fortunately, there are many different incentive programs, provided throughout North America that can help make that carbon-reducing reno job a lot more feasible. Homeowners in the United States should start by checking the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency, while Canadians should begin with a visit to the Canada Greener Homes Grant website. – Sustainable Kingston

Consider utilizing solar blinds

With the constant growth of the global population, environmental issues escalate radically. The world needs more electricity, but generating it from conventional sources (i.e. from coal-burning) increases the greenhouse effect. This in turn causes climate change and global warming. According to the EU, buildings today are responsible for 36% of CO2 emissions in Europe while being the biggest electricity consumers. Their high heating and cooling needs are covered primarily by energy from conventional sources. At the same time, many potential solar PV users do not have the roof or land area to install traditional solar panels. To mitigate these issues, SolarGaps developed the world’s first smart solar blinds allowing most households and commercial buildings to utilize window areas for green energy generation and reduce electricity bills and CO2 emissions. – SolarGaps

Increase the storage capacity of the soil

By growing your own produce at home you are not only opting out of the petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides used on large factory farms, but you’re actually able to increase the storage capacity of the soil in your backyard. The soil on our planet has the capacity to store nearly eight times as much carbon as every tree and plant on earth combined, making it an invaluable resource in mitigating the worst effects of the climate crisis. Right now it’s storing about half that amount, in part because of industrial farming practices. By growing your own vegetables with natural materials like compost and biochar, and refraining from using chemical-based herbicides and pesticides, you can play a role in supporting one of our most important resources. – DEN Soils

Look for improvements in energy usage

Energy is one of the most prominent issues we face in terms of our carbon footprint. Every bit of energy we use has to be generated from something and it’s easy to forget that it doesn’t magically appear in our homes. Sadly, most of the electricity generation comes from fossil fuels which releases the biggest portion of greenhouse gasses out of any industry. We can personally reduce our load in many ways, like switching to LED lights, turning off unused appliances, and being mindful of the energy we use. – Ecofoote

Make the extra effort and reduce your impact

Recycling and composting are both great ways to reduce your impact on the environment. When moving into your new home, make sure to check what can be put into your recycling bin and what your local recycler accepts. Also, make sure to rinse your recycling – a whopping 25% of recycling is tossed out due to contamination. Composting is not nearly as difficult as people think. Throwing anything from your lawn clippings to kitchen scraps to coffee grounds in a bin in your yard and letting nature take its course is as easy as it gets. You can then use the end result to nurture your garden or indoor plants. – Zero Impact Life

Think of your attic insulation as a weighted blanket for your home

One way to become more environmentally friendly at home is to install additional insulation. It keeps the heat from escaping, therefore keeping you from having to put on extra layers or adjust your home’s thermostat. Likewise, by acting as a passive barrier for heat transfer, the proper amount of insulation helps your HVAC system reduce its workload in maintaining your home’s set temperature. This decreases energy usage and money spent on your utility bills i. You’ll get the most return on your investment and ease of installation from increasing your attic or crawl space insulation, as 85% of your home’s heat tries to escape through your roof. – Josh Lewis, Retex Roofing

Start a worm farm

A great way to become more environmentally friendly and reduce your carbon footprint at home while benefitting your garden is to start a worm farm. A pound of worms eat about a pound of kitchen scraps a day. As they eat, worms excrete vermicompost, a rich, ready-to-use fertilizer for your plants. Also called worm castings, vermicompost provides time-release minerals to plants, creating healthy root systems and foliage. All accomplished with items you would have otherwise thrown away. – Julie-Bawden Davis, founder/publisher of Healthy Houseplants

Increase your home value with solar energy

Solar panels and solar batteries add value to your energy-efficient home design. With solar energy, you can reduce the carbon footprint of your home by decreasing the consumption of non-renewable energy sources and cutting greenhouse gas emissions. You can also save energy bills and increase energy security at your home. You can also possibly get tax savings from the local government. All these benefits certainly raise home values, but you need to consider the installation and maintenance costs. – Greenesa

Switching to solar is a no-brainer. Not only does it save you money and offer a great ROI, but it has a measurable impact on the environment too. – Solar Source, Inc

If your state offers net metering, it’s a good idea to look at solar. All it typically takes is a sunny roof so the panels can perform well. Solar empowers you to save both money and the planet in one solution! Most residential systems prevent about 5-10 tons of CO2 annually from being released into the air by your local utility plant. – Andrew Ehrnstein, energy consultant and owner of Solar 4 Planet A

Powering up with solar is an easy way to save money, reduce your carbon footprint, and become more environmentally friendly from the comfort of your home. When homeowners switch to solar, they can reduce or eliminate their electric bills, provide excess energy back to the grid for savings and rebates, and can reliably power their home in lieu of a generator during inclement weather. Work with solar energy providers that will send an expert to your house to provide you with a plan that’s tailored to your needs. This makes solar power easy and accessible to everyone while providing benefits and savings for decades to come. – Boundless Inc.

Reduce your food waste

One of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint and become more environmentally friendly at home is to find small ways to reduce your food waste. Unfortunately, food waste that ends up in the landfill decomposes anaerobically and releases methane, an incredibly potent greenhouse gas. You can start composting at home, or if that’s not an option, find a friend, neighbor, or organization that will compost for you. – This Green Lifestyle

Be mindful of the amount of plastic you use

Most beauty packaging is made from virgin plastic and will not be recycled. Pact is a nonprofit collective working to take responsibility for our beauty industry’s packaging problem to make beauty more sustainable. Join us today by dropping off your clean, hard-to-recycle beauty empties at one of our Pact Collection Bin locations or through our Mail-Back Collection Program. – Pact Collective

Consider home automation to prevent wasting energy
Imagine a home that closes the windows because it’s raining, or turns off the water heater because you forgot. It’s not just about voice control anymore – switching smart means getting a system that thinks for you. – SwitchSmart

Upgrade to smart lighting

A great way to reduce your carbon footprint at home is to switch to smart lighting. Some of the advantages of switching to smart lighting are lower energy costs, longer-lasting LED bulbs, and the ability to time lighting for added security. By using technology to your advantage, you have the ability to save money, time, and prevent potential crime. That’s a winning combination. – Brad Pauly, Broker/Owner of Pauly Presley Realty

Become more environmentally friendly at home in just one minute

One minute: Reduce your shower time by a minute. The shower of an average American lasts eight minutes, and every minute of shower time equates to two gallons of water. Daily showers reduced by 1 minute means 730 gallons saved. Five minutes: Park in one place and walk between errands. Restarting and driving your car for short trips eats fuel and spews more emissions. 15 minutes: Research what climate-friendly legislative bills have been (or will be) introduced in your statehouse and call or write your local representatives to let them know you support those bills. 30 minutes: Visit your local farmers’ market and support your local farmers. Food accounts for 10-30% of a household’s carbon footprint, and food miles are part of those GHG emissions. 45 minutes: Rake the leaves in your yard and/or shovel your driveway. Using manual tools eliminates additional greenhouse gas emissions. One hour of using a gas-powered leaf blower is equivalent to a vehicle driving 1,100 miles. Operating a typical 4-stroke gasoline snowblower for one hour emits as much pollution as driving a car 339 miles. 60 minutes: Plant two trees (When planting a fruit tree, two are often needed for pollination). Trees pull carbon out of the atmosphere, making them natural carbon sinks. – LiveGreenVT

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