Today is Earth Day.
For some reason, this year I am more drawn to our planet than before. Perhaps it’s a bit of inspiration from a client who is striving to remodel their house into a passive home. Perhaps it’s watching our 10-year-old daughter become more aware of her own surroundings, and just wanting to do our part to make our world a bit better for her.
However, I find myself overwhelmed with how can one family make a global difference. While I am no expert on climate change, more and more the idea of doing good for mother earth is becoming main stream. In addition to thoughts and perspectives, consumers now have much better ease of access to the materials that can help make a change.
I think we just have to start somewhere, and take baby steps toward longer lasting change. Here are 6 easy ideas that any home can consider:
1) LIGHT BULBS:
This has always been a difficult one for us. For years, switching houses to LED lighting meant buyers toured homes that felt like the last inquisition of bright light. But people, have you checked out the lighting aisle at Home Depot lately? There’s soft light, yellow light, dimmable light, 3 switch light, and everything in between all with LED technology. If nothing else, they last longer so you’re on a ladder much less frequently. Why LED? Simply put, they use 75% less energy than old school incandescent.
2) FURNACE FILTERS:
Change them out every 3 months. Dirty filters require your furnace to work much harder and use more energy.
3) WASHING MACHINES:
Wash clothes in cold water. Not only does it save energy, but it helps clothes (especially with color) last much longer. And it protects our jeans from the dreaded shrink. Most detergents work great even in cold water.
Just because an appliance isn’t on, doesn’t mean its not drawing power. But remembering to unplug after each use can be tedious. We love these GE plugs with on/off switches that can be used throughout the house without the efforts of pulling the plug so to speak.
Consider programming your thermostat for 1 or 2 less degrees than you have been using. Or, replace your current thermostat with a learning product such as Nest. Away on vacation and forgot to turn down the heat? No worries, handle it from the touch of your phone.
6) ELECTRIC CARS:
Ok, we admit it, this was not an easy transition for us. As real estate agents, the perception is that image is everything and your car really counts. But as we continue to rack up the gas bill, we have noticed a shift in mindset, both for ourselves and our community. So, we replaced our large SUV with a Nissan Leaf! Of course, it’s still fully loaded with leather and heated seats, heated steering wheel and a rockin’ Bose sound system. But we were shockingly surprised at how much fun they are to drive, especially right past the gas station. Just as one would plug in their phone every night, we plug the car in for a full charge. We are often asked how much our electricity bill increased, and we find it has averaged about an additional $20 a month. Which is a small price to pay in comparison with the cost of gas. While range anxiety gets the best of you in the beginning, I find I barely ever check the battery status anymore and just go about my day. You seriously should go test drive one today!
We’d love to hear what small changes is your home making to help support change? We’d love to hear from you, share with us in the comments below.
Author: Cassie Walker Johnson