There are quite a few tech innovations that will help you create an eco-friendly home, whether you live in an affordable Eugene, Oregon one-bedroom or a super expensive micro-apartment in New York City.
But there are also some basic old-school ways that you can create a sustainable space. We’ll first look at those and then visit the tech world for recent innovations.
Think about the immense amounts of waste that are created by things like water bottles and soda cans that are just thrown in the regular trash. Next, consider the beer bottles that are used for basically 10 minutes and then carelessly thrown away. The energy needed to create these containers is known as a carbon footprint, and yours can get pretty big unless you either make an effort just not to consume items that are in plastic or glass container, or if you diligently recycle them. Make an effort and it will make a difference. Make sure you take reusable bags to the grocery store and cut down on plastic in the kitchen to reduce your environmental impact.
Leaves in the Street
If you rake your leaves into the street and are in an area where your municipality does not recycle them, the leaves can be flushed down storm sewers and subsequently end up in local rivers and lakes. This will cause pollution that will damage the water system. Find out how to properly dispose of your leaves without burning them—as the smoke created from burning leaves causes air pollution.
The dirty water that is put down the drain after you use your dishwasher, take a shower or do dishes is called greywater, and it can be recycled and used to water your plants. An old-time talk show radio host used to explain that he captured his shower water in a five-gallon bucket and toted it downstairs and outside to water plants. He felt that water, in his words, “was precious,” and should not be wasted.
Turn it Down in the Winter and Up in the Summer
Yes, we’re talking about the temperature. A one-degree temperature savings can equal a one percent per eight-hour energy savings. The addition of a smart thermostat will allow you to control your temperature settings from an app on your smartphone and will offer the ability to preset temperature ranges. Those days of inadvertently leaving your home thermostat at 72 degrees while you at work can be gone forever.
And it’s not just your thermostat that can make a big difference in how much heat or air conditioning you need to use, getting the right bedding can make a huge difference too. Make sure you have a duvet with the right TOG rating for the current season, and ensure that you have the softest sheets available that contain thermo regulating and moisture wicking properties that will help keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
If you haven’t switched to LED lighting, you need to do that now. And if you think LEDs are big, bulky and expensive, think again, because they now come in many shapes and sizes, and the prices are continuing to come down.
Along with your LEDs, consider a smart lighting system. With this installation, not only can you control your entire system from your smartphone, but with some upscale systems can also choose different light hues and intensities. Some LED smart lighting configurations will automatically change the indoor light as the outdoor light changes.
As you can see, whether it’s your first home purchase or an apartment you rent, the path toward an eco-friendly home can consist of simple recycling initiatives and the use of smart app innovations. Use what’s best for you, but, again, your efforts can and will make a difference.
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