Going green at home not only saves the environment, it can save you some money as well. Using less energy, either by skipping the dryer when you launder your clothes or by reducing the length of your shower, cuts down on your energy usage and your utility bills. Making your own cleaning supplies is much cheaper than purchasing commercial supplies and keeps dangerous chemicals, such as bleach and ammonia, out of your drain.
Insulate Your Walls and Attic
If you add insulation to your home, you can save up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs, according to Energy Star. The amount of insulation you will need to keep the warm air in during the winter and the hot air out in the summer depends on where you live. Several varieties of Earth-friendly insulation exist, such as recycled wood-fiber cellulose or soy-based, open-cell spray foam.
Skip the Dryer
Pulling warm, freshly laundered clothing from dryer can be a great feeling. But using a dryer uses a great deal of extra energy. You can get dry clothes with only a small amount of effort and almost no energy by hanging them on a clothesline or clothes dryer, either indoors or out. If air drying your clothing does not appeal to you, or if you live in an incredibly humid climate, invest in the most energy efficient dryer you can afford.
Launder in Cold Water
Heating water to wash your clothing uses a lot of energy. Conserve resources by laundering your clothing in cold water. You most likely will not notice a difference in the quality of your clothing, but you will save some money on your water heating bill. You’ll save energy and money if you only wash full loads of laundry, too.
Reduce Your Shower Time
Trim the length your shower to less than 10 minutes, preferably to about five, to save water and energy. You can make this a game with your family. Have everyone set a timer when they shower. Whoever takes the shortest shower should get a prize, such as a piece of candy or exemption from a dreaded chore. Install low-flow shower heads to cut down on water usage as well. Low-flow shower heads should only allow about 2 gallons of water to come out of the shower per minute.
Get New Lightbulbs
When your regular incandescent bulbs burn out, replace them with compact fluorescent bulbs, which last much longer and use far less energy. Make sure you bring the bulbs in for recycling when they finally burn out. Compact fluorescent bulbs contain mercury and need to be disposed of properly.
Trade In Your Cleaners
Swap detergents and dish soaps that rely on petroleum-based surfactants for ones that use plant-based cleaners to protect the Earth. Avoid using strong chemicals, such as chlorine bleach, which are dangerous for the planet and for people. Instead, invest in eco-friendly cleaners or make your own. Scrub your kitchen sink and oven with baking soda and clean your windows with a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water. Borax is an effective cleaner that works in the laundry, bathroom and kitchen.