Many people are becoming more concerned about the environment and are looking for tips on how to lead a sustainable lifestyle.
We usually think that we must go through drastic lifestyle changes to switch to a sustainable lifestyle.
However, this is not always true.
In fact, it is very much possible to make a transition to a sustainable lifestyle at home while still living quite comfortably.
But, how can you measure how sustainable you are? How can you tell whether you’ve improved and are now living a sustainable life? That’s where your carbon footprint comes in.
What is Carbon Footprint?
Carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of the activities of a particular individual, organization, or community.
Your carbon footprint is a way to measure how much carbon you are emitting based on your daily activities. However, it can also be used as a measure of sustainability, along with other factors like ecological footprint.
Did you know that the average carbon footprint of an American is more than double that of a person living in the EU?
Calculate your carbon footprint. Then, apply the tips that you’ll learn below, and you can check to see how much your carbon footprint has been reduced.
8 Ways to Make Your Home Cozy and Sustainable
1. Adjust Thermostat Properly
Do you regularly adjust your home thermostat?
Maybe you don’t. Maybe you do. But, you definitely should.
In fact, did you know that 44% of the energy used in an American home goes towards heating and cooling? Read more below to learn how you can save energy by adjusting your thermostat.
First of all, in the winter, try lowering the temperature and simply putting on warmer clothes. In the summer, turn down the AC to around 78F (25.5C) while you are awake and in the house.
There’s also a nifty trick that’s called thermostat setback. Here’s how you can use it to save energy, and money:
Avoid turning off the thermostat while you are away from home.
This may sound counter-intuitive at first, but it actually takes a lot of energy to bring your house back to a normal temperature if your thermostat gets completely shut off.
Instead, try to reduce your AC or heating use whenever you leave the home. This can be done by setting your temperature lower in winter and higher in summer whenever your house is vacant.
Most smart thermostats do this automatically and you can use them to save lots of electricity. They detect when your smartphone location is away from home, and change the temperature accordingly.
An investment in a smart thermostat (like Nest or EcoBee) may be a good idea to save energy. Some governments even offer grants, and sometimes, you can get one installed at your house for free!
Click the link to learn more tips on saving energy in your home.
2. Check your House Insulation Often
An average home loses a lot of heat during the winter months because of poor insulation.
The department of energy recommends homeowners (and those conscious about saving energy) to inspect their home’s insulation at least once a year.
Properly insulated homes can help save one family carbon emissions which are equal to 28 barrels of oil!
3. Consider Using Greener Insulation
There are many green options for home insulation in the market. Here are just a few that you might want to consider:
- Sheep’s wool: Though hard to find,it is one of the best forms of natural insulation. It has moisture-wicking properties and keeps homes warm and
- RecycledCotton Denim: More widely available than sheep’s wool and still 100% recyclable.
- ThermaCork: Another natural form of insulation: This one’smade from tree bark with noise-cancelling properties. Most importantly, it has a negative carbon footprint!
- Cellulose: It is made from recycled paper and cardboard, however,it has a slightly higher risk of being flammable. Keep that in mind while choosing to go with this option, especially if you live in a fire prone area.
4. Optimize Your Floors for Insulation
Wooden floors serve as an excellent insulator for a warm and cozy home.
They can be recycled and even reused, they are also biodegradable. This means that even if they end in the landfill, they will decompose and get naturally recycled.
You can also add more rugs to your house floor. Carpets and rugs shore up the insulation for your floor where most heat is lost, apart from windows and the roof.
In addition, carpets will also make you (and your home) feel more comfortable!
5. Use Dimmer (or Dimming) Lights
Dimmer lights and switches can be dimmed and brightened, as needed.
These generally use less energy than traditional lighting systems. What’s more, they’re more comfortable for tired eyes, and add a nice ambiance to any home.
They can also help you sleep better, because bright lights lower the production of Melatonin in the human body. Melatonin is a hormone which makes you sleepy, and also regulates the body’s Circadian Rhythm.
6. Switch to LED Lights
LED lights are up to 80% more efficient than conventional bulbs. LED lights also last a lot longer than traditional CFL and incandescent lights, which save you money (along with the energy-savings) over the long run.
Nowadays, you can buy LED bulbs where the brightness can be adjusted depending on your needs and preferences.
Many green energy companies like Atlantic Energy LLC even offer free LED bulbs to new customers, making their transition to a cleaner, sustainable lifestyle much easier and cost effective.
7. Consider Growing Your Own Garden
Changing the way we eat not only has the potential to make us healthier, but also help us to reduce our carbon footprint, and live more sustainably.
Take this statistic for example: Red meat has a carbon footprint which is 3 to 5 times more than that of chicken, and up to 18 times more than that of vegetables and beans!
Not to mention, growing livestock creates a lot of Methane, which is 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a heat trapping greenhouse gas.
What’s more, oftentimes a lot of energy is spent on transporting and growing our food.
Most of the food we buy in the supermarket travels thousands of miles and can lose up to 45% of its nutritional value before reaching your local market.
Growing your own vegetables and herbs can not only help you to save money, but can reduce your carbon footprint and make you healthier as well!
And, for those without a garden, consider buying your food locally. This supports the growth of local businesses and will generally be more environmentally friendly.
8. Consider Growing Your Own Garden
Rainwater tanks and collectors are used (obviously) to collect rainwater.
A rainwater tank can help to save a lot of water, which can be used for household chores like cleaning your car or watering your plants.
An average rainwater tank can store up to 1200 Gallons of water!
If you live in dry, drought prone areas, you could greatly benefit from installing a rainwater collection tank.
This water could also be used to make a small fountain in your backyard or to fill up a swimming pool, if you have one.
What’s more, a small fountain or pond in your backyard or front yard can help cool down a house during the hot summer months.
Did you find these tips helpful? Or, maybe you have your own sustainable living tip that you’d like to share. Feel free to let us know in the comments below!