During the summer, many of us tend to waste more electricity, water, and plastic materials than we do during any other part of the year. To compensate for high temperatures outside, we blast the air conditioning to stay cool. We fill water balloons, top off the pool, guzzle cold water bottles, and take more showers.
As a result, we spend a lot on our utilities, and we waste a lot. There are several steps you can take to make your home more eco-friendly over these next few months. Here are five ways you can embrace “green” practices while also reaping the financial benefits of avoiding waste.
1. Invest in a Programmable or Smart Thermostat
A programmable thermostat can save you at least 20 percent on energy costs. Smart thermostats can save you even more by giving you the capability to change the temperature when you’re not at home. Not only will this lower your utility bills, but it will also prevent you from being wasteful with your AC during the summer. Saving money during the warm months can be a struggle. You can get yourself up to speed with an air conditioning guide on the best practices.
Additionally, a programmable or smart thermostat makes your home more comfortable. You can be precise about your temperatures while you’re at home, at work, or on vacation. The last thing you want to do is pour tons of money into your air conditioning while you’re not even in the building.
2. Hang Drapes or Install Curtains Over Your Windows
During the summer, about 76 percent of the sunlight that comes through your windows turns into heat. Don’t underestimate the powerful protection of a simple window covering. Whether you install blinds or black-out curtains, blocking the sunlight can drastically lower your waste of energy. Plus, you want to protect your home and furnishings from the harsh sunlight that streams inside.
3. Be Careful About Your Water Usage
When temperatures rise outside, water use often does, too. You’re watering your lawn frequently, taking more showers, and filling pools. Be conscious of how much of this water you’re actually wasting.
Now is the perfect time to compare your current amount of water usage to your usage during the winter. If you notice that your water bill is skyrocketing, it may be due to a leak, waste, wind, evaporation, or runoff from over-watering.
4. Begin Recycling, Even if Your Neighborhood Doesn’t
Think about all of the plastic you use during the summer – those plates at your cookouts, the frozen drinks that come in convenient one-use bottles, all of the empty sunscreen bottles littering your backyard. These are just some of the things you could be recycling in an effort to make your home more eco-friendly. Although many apartment complexes and neighborhoods don’t offer a recycling service, you can always start one yourself.
To learn how to start a recycling program, check out this article from HomeGuides.
5. Install Lights That Automatically Turn Off
Did you know that the IDA estimates that we waste at least 30 percent of our outdoor lighting? There’s no need to leave your porch light on all night, even when you’re out late during the summer. Instead, install an automatic light that turns on whenever you approach.
Automatic lights are a great idea for your indoor rooms, too. By only using lights when you’re actually home, and automatically turning them off when you leave the room, you’ll help prevent the overproduction of carbon dioxide. Plus, you’ll save more on your electricity bill. No more worries about leaving the lights off when you go to work or leave for a summer getaway.
These five steps might not seem like big acts, but every little bit counts when it comes to making our homes eco-friendly. Whether you live in an apartment or a house, you can use these tips to save money and protect nature.
Even though summer is here, it’s not too late! Start implementing these changes now to reap the benefits during the rest of the season.
Amy McConaghy is Reliance Home Comfort’s Digital Marketing Specialist, managing the editorial, video and visual content creation for all digital platforms. Amy’s writing is focused on bringing energy and money saving tips to Canadians and answering homeowners questions about all their home comfort needs. You can find Amy on LinkedIn.