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Simple Steps to a Greener Lifestyle! (Hey, it’s easier than you think!)

I read a great article in Phoenix Home and Garden that offered several tips on how to live a ‘greener’ life by implementing some simple ideas that, collectively, can add up.  Not only will you be able to revel in the fact that you’re making a difference in the sustainability of our environment, but you’ll very likely end up saving money in the long run, which is increasingly important as the US economy continues to suffer and inflation takes its toll on all of us.


Here are a handful of my favorite suggestions:


  • Replace your conventional light bulbs with compact flourescent bulbs, which use 75% less energy, burn cooler, and last up to 10 times longer.  The latest generation of CFLs actually look very much like regular bulbs, even when they’re illuminated, and are available in many different sizes for most household needs.  We switched every possible light in our house to CFLs about 2 months ago and love them!  One side benefit is that our house is much cooler than it was before, expecially in the study and the kitchen area, so our AC runs less.


  • Set your dishwasher to the ‘air dry’ setting.  Experts say this reduces energy consumption by 20%.  If you’re particularly adventurous (and your HOA allows it!), you can line-dry your laundry, too, for additional savings.  I think I’ll stick with the dishwasher, myself.


  • Buy only Energy Star rated appliances, which are required to exceed federal efficiency standards by 15% or more.  Look for the yellow sticker!


  • Consider eco-friendly decor options.  You can find ‘earth-friendly’ design choices for virtually every finish in your home.  For flooring, consider reclaimed wood, or cork or bamboo.  When you paint, look for paints that don’t contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs).  For drywall texturing or repairs, seek non-toxic plaster.  Kitchen countertops are available in numerous finishes, including recycled glass, concrete, bamboo, and even paper composite.


  • Conserve water.  To save water, a low-flow shower head can save the average house 500 gallons of water a week!  Shortening showers to 5 minutes or less will save an additional 1000 gallons per month.  Check your toilets, too.  If a few drops of food coloring dripped into the tank seeps into the bowl, you have a leak.  Fix the leak and you’ll save 600 or more gallons/month.


  • Create a water-wise yard.  Instead of watering manually, install a drip line irrigation system and an automatic timer.  This will allow you to water plants ‘on target’ and for precisely programmed times.  Furthermore, you’ll be able to water in the pre-dawn hours, when water evaporation is minimized.


As someone once said, every journey begins with a single step.  Once you see the benefits of the small changes suggested here, you may find it’s easier to adopt more changes into your life, making an even bigger difference in our environment for us and future generations.


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