We must all do our part to help reduce our carbon footprint and what better place to start than right at home!
Tip #1: Be mindful of saving energy- Being that a large majority of our homes’ electricity comes from fossil fuels, we must be conscious of how much of it we’re using. While a lot of our energy consumption is based on necessity, we do waste a lot of it without even realizing it. Swap you CFL or incandescent light bulbs for LEDs- they save 90% more energy and last up to 20 years. Another easy way to save 90% of the energy you would otherwise use is to change your laundry settings to cold wash and wait until you have a full load. Change your A/C filters regularly to avoid blocking airflow and make sure to adjust your temperature when you’re not home. Unplug all of your appliances and electronic devices when they’re not in use as phantom energy gets pulled from outlets even when your devices are turned off and be sure not to leave any lights on before you leave your home. Little things you do around the house to be more energy efficient can make a big difference!
Tip #2: Buy less plastic and recycle- Most of the plastic we use in our everyday lives is derived from hydrocarbons such as natural gas, oil, and coal, making our carbon footprint larger every time we buy them. Moreover, since plastic takes hundreds of years to degrade, disposing of it is enormously complicated, so the first step in alleviating the problem is to start reducing your consumption of plastic. Next time you go buy groceries, or anything at all for that matter, take you own reusable bag. Also try cutting back on buying items packaged in plastic, like water bottles, and generally replace using disposables with reusables. Although so many of the things that we buy come in plastic containers, there are more sustainable alternatives such as glass and plant-based “plastic” now popping up in the market. The next step is recycling the plastic you do buy to ensure it doesn’t end up in a landfill or in the ocean. Making a conscious effort to use less plastic is healthier for you and the planet alike.
Tip #3: Eat more vegan or vegetarian meals- Few people know of the vast amount of greenhouse gas emissions that the animal agriculture industry emits, mostly from the animals themselves producing methane, the deforestation to clear land for grazing and growing feed releasing CO2 into the atmosphere and the processing and transporting of the final products. Plant-based foods also require far less resources than animals do, such a water, land, and energy, making vegan and vegetarian diets much more sustainable. Try cutting out animal products once a week, such as on Meatless Mondays, and discover a whole new world of plant-based goodness. You’ll be surprised at how many delicious vegan recipes are out there and don’t worry, you won’t just be eating plain fruits and vegetables!
Tip #4: Conserve water whenever possible- Fresh water is vital, yet limited resource that we must not waste. In some parts of the world, and within the US for that matter, they are already experiencing severe droughts. So for those of us that have access to abundant water, we should really cherish it. Little things like turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth or taking shorter showers add up. Taking a step further and checking your faucets and pipes for leaks and installing water-saving showerheads will conserve even more water. Only run your clothes and dishwashers with full loads and only water your lawn when it needs it. An overall more mindful attitude of seeing water as a precious resource, which our survival depends on, will help adjust our behavior to using less and appreciating more.
Tip #5: Landscape you garden and lawn sustainably- Other often overlooked areas that should be part of your home’s overall sustainability strategy are your backyard or front lawn. Your landscaping practices make a big impact on more than just your home, affecting the whole community and even the planet. Using native plants, such as drought-resistant species in drought-prone regions, is a great way to save water. Adding organic matter to your soil will also help with water retention and nutrient absorption. Switching from synthetic fertilizers to compost and organic fertilizers will help prevent chemical runoffs into rivers, lakes, and oceans that create algal blooms leading to dead zones. Making sure that your landscaping is sustainable will help keep your soil healthy and fertile, your neighborhood’s bodies of water clean, and save many species.
Living a more sustainable lifestyle and having a more sustainable home will not only help the planet, it will also improve your health and save you money! What is good for the planet is good for its inhabitants; the planet is everyone’s collective home!
Thank you for reading my article and be sure to contact me, Danny Hertzberg, of The Jills for all of your South Florida real estate buying, renting and selling needs.