Living lightly on the earth is something we all should try to do for the earth’s health as well as our own. Here are some eco-friendly things to do to make your home and your environment a more pleasant place to be.
1. Save water by landscaping wisely. Native plants don’t need much irrigation because they have evolved to love the natural climate in your area. Use drip irrigation as much as possible. Install permeable landscape (ex. interlocking pavers) to allow rainwater to permeate into ground water rather than down storm drain.
2. Buy organic, local, and produce in it’s natural season. Organic produce doesn’t use pesticides, so it is better for your health and the environments. Local produce in season uses less energy for shipping. Buy only sustainable seafood http://www.mbayaq.org/cr/SeafoodWatch/web/sfw_regional.aspx. Eat less meat.
3. Buy eco-friendly products and products that use the least amount of packaging.
4. Improve indoor air quality by using low VOC (Volatile organic compound) paint, installing a central vaccuum system, and using non-toxic cleaning products.
5. Choose walking over driving. Choose public transportation over personal automobiles. choose Hybird or cars with high gas mileage over gas-guzzlers. Carpool as much as possible. Also, drive steadily without much fast excelleration or stopping.
6. Save water in your home by installing low flow showerheads and toilets. Buy front loading washing machines.
7. Recycle, give used products to charity, have garage sales. Re-use as much as you can. Use rechargeable batteries. Use cloth diapers instead of disposable.
8. Save energy in your home by using compact flouresent bulbs in your light fixtures. Install tankless water heaters rather than having to keep a full tank of water heated all the time. Install a programmable thermostat. They use less energy than manually changing (or forgetting) the temperature. Set it one degree lower than what you are used to. Install energy efficient windows with low-e (low emissivity) glass which reduce UV rays. Unplug appliances when on vacation, or better yet, when not in use. Buy energy efficient appliances in your home.
9. Create a compost pile for fertilizing your plants rather than using store bought fertilizers.
10. Opt to buy renewable energy. Your energy company will/should have the details of how to go about it.
11. Install solar panels, inverters, and reverse meters. There are tile-shaped photovoltaic panels now that are visually appealing to your neighbors. Inverters and reverse meters link panels to the utility grid so excess energy can flow back to the grid.