Every month I get a statement from my electric company that tells me how I compare to my neighbors when it comes to using energy.
Every month, try as I might, it seems like my neighbors beat me at efficiency, and it drives me nuts. Not just because I pay a higher price for electricity, but because I really do want to be a good steward of resources on this planet. So, I set out to see how I could make my already energy-efficient house (I thought) more energy-efficient.
I found some very eco-friendly tips we could all probably benefit from. Check them out!
Related: 10 Things I Stopped Buying Since Going Eco-Friendly
1. Enroll in paperless everything.
I know, I know, technology can get too intrusive in our lives, and I am against that. But, not only do many companies offer perks for going paperless but when you go paperless you make a huge difference in the environment. You reduce the number of trees that are cut down, add to oxygen in the planet, reduce pollution from airplanes and cars carrying mail and reduce the need for toxic ink that use tons of fossil fuels to produce. A real win-win.
2. Keep shoes at the door.
There's a reason (several, actually) many countries have the cultural tradition of leaving shoes at the door. Doing so keeps carpets cleaner, and reduces toxins and pollutants coming into your house. Have a little shoe basket by the door for shoes to hang when folks come in the house and keep your floors cleaner and more toxin-free.
3. Choose Bamboo.
Bamboo is one the fastest-growing plants in the world and that quick replenishment makes it much more environmentally friendly than some of the wood floorings that are so beautiful but so expensive to our planet. And, believe it or not, bamboo sheets are some of the softest and most eco-friendly out there! Try them!
4. Use LED lights.
These light emitting diode bulbs may cost a bit more initially when purchasing, but they last 10-12 times as long and that means fewer in landfills when it's all said and done. Plus, they are so much more energy-efficient than incandescent or even CFL bulbs.
5. Invest in a rain barrel.
Rainwater collected in a $50-$70 rain barrel can make a big difference in your water bill and go a long way toward water conservation. Plus, your plants love to get their drinks from the sky, and you don't waste as much water in sprinkler misses.
6. Get some plants.
Houseplants are not only aesthetically pleasing but do a great job of helping the air quality in your home. Spider plants are even easy for those black thumbers out there, and better air quality means your heating/air conditioning system doesn't have to work as hard (or cost as much!).
7. Use colder water when washing clothes.
I could not believe how just changing to tap cold temperatures when washing clothes made a difference in my bill! Heating up for loads of laundry takes energy and resource; most laundry soaps and detergents (even and sometimes especially bio-friendly plant-based ones) are capable of doing the job in cold/room temps. Even if you use soap nuts, heating them in a cup of hot water before throwing in the wash can save over using the tub of hot water!
8. Buy Energy-efficient appliances.
I know, I know...when the washing machine goes out, it's not fun to buy new ones. But, paying attention to the energy efficiencies of appliances can make a big difference in the resources of the planet used as well as your bill. Plus, buying energy efficient appliances often gives you tax breaks or rebates with your power company.
Related: EcoFriendly Ways To Garden As a Family
9. Adjust the temperature.
I hate being cold. Hate it. But I have to admit that when I see my electric bill and know I am not using as much of the earth's resources by putting a sweater on or cuddling under a blanket, I get over it pretty quickly. Keep the temperatures as low as you can possibly stand in the winter and high as is comfortable in the summer for big savings and big energy usage reductions.
We always recommend unplugging from appliances and taking technology breaks, but to save money on your energy bill and to be more friendly to our earth, actually unplug things! When you're not using the television, lamps, toaster, coffee maker--those things are still taking energy. Make it even easier by using power strips so that you can easily and quickly pop a whole slew of things on and off with the switch of a button as they won't draw power if turned off.