For many Americans, the idea of going green is appealing, but they just don’t know the best ways to do it. Because climate change and global warming have had such a major impact on our planet, it’s important to make as many eco-friendly changes as possible to your home and lifestyle in order to lessen that impact.
Fortunately, there are many ways you can go green and save money at the same time. Start small and make it a point to talk to your friends and family about how they can contribute.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding climate change and going green.
What does it mean to “go green”?
Going green just means finding ways to make your home and lifestyle more energy and eco-efficient. This can include making changes to your utilities and how they serve you, shopping locally instead of shopping online, and reducing your carbon footprint altogether.
What are the best ways to be more energy efficient?
As far as your home is concerned, the easiest ways to go green--and save money--include changing out your light bulbs for more energy efficient ones, investing in smart appliances, recycling, upcycling, using cloth, reusable bags for your grocery shopping, saying no to bottled water in favor of a reusable bottle, and changing some things around the home that could be more sustainable. Some ideas include replacing carpeting with cork or bamboo flooring and using upcycled materials for other projects around the home. Here are more ways to make your home more green, plus information on tax rebates and incentives.
“Add attic insulation and seal air leaks. One of the best energy-saving improvements out there, because insulating and sealing your home can reduce your energy bills by 10%. Upgrading your attic insulation to the R-value recommended for your region costs anywhere from $.25 to $1 per square foot, including materials and labor; it’s less if you do it yourself. But you won’t get the maximum savings if you don’t seal air leaks, so plan this as a combo job. Caulking and weather-stripping typically costs from $50 to $350, depending on the size of your house,” writes Karin Beuerlein of Houselogic.com.
How can I change my actions to be more eco-friendly?
Changing your lifestyle is a big part of becoming more eco-friendly. Anything from reducing your use of energy and water to carpooling rather than driving to work every day can help in the battle against climate change. A few more ideas include:
Taking showers instead of baths, which use much more water
Invest in a low-flow toilet and shower head, which can save both water and money
Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth
Use shaving soap and a brush rather than an aerosol can full of shaving cream
Don’t be a fridge gazer--standing with the door open while you decide what you want wastes energy
Turn off the lights when you leave a room, and use natural light as much as possible
Use extra blankets at night during the cold months instead of ratcheting up the heat
Donate old clothing, or find a way to reuse it rather than throwing it out
How can I get others involved?
It’s important to talk to your friends, family, and neighbors about the best ways to become eco-friendly and how they can make an impact where climate change is concerned. Do some research on your neighborhood to see if your community can start a tree-planting initiative, or host a fundraiser to raise awareness for a non-profit dedicated to helping wildlife.
It’s just as important to educate yourself about climate change and the science behind it, in part because there is so much misinformation out there about it. Do some research on all the ways global warming has changed our planet and how we can help mitigate that damage.
Going green is really a mindset that forces you to think outside the box a bit; it’s a lifestyle change that requires you to make some small sacrifices in order to make positive change. However, it’s well worth your time and energy and can help you feel better about leaving your mark in the world.
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