make your home more eco-friendly

6 Little Ways to Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly — And a Few Bigger Ways, Too

Make your home more eco-friendly

Credit: PeopleImages

The race is on to reach net zero emissions and everyone has a role to play, from large multinational corporations to individuals. You always have the power to improve your little corner of the planet for the better — what steps can you take at your home? 

It’s understandable to wait to make major changes like switching to solar until you need a roof replacement anyway. Furthermore, significant upgrades like opting for renewable energy aren’t always practical if you rent. 

However, other minor shifts don’t require landlord approval. They might even save you money without costing you too much, if anything, in initial investment. Here are six little ways to make your home more eco-friendly — and a few bigger ways, too. 

1. Caulk and Weatherstrip

If you catch a draft while walking by or sitting near a window, what you sense is your utility bill money escaping through the cracks. Your goal is to lower your energy consumption. Fortunately, you can pickup caulk and a decent gun for less than $30 at nearly any hardware store, and it only takes a few attempts to learn to draw a straight bead and avoid drips. Weather-stripping around doors is even easier — just peel and stick. 

However, sometimes caulk isn’t enough. If you still feel a chill, it may be time for a replacement. Take heart — today’s dual-pane models insulate far better than earlier single panes. Furthermore, Low-E glass coating blocks infrared light, keeping heat and cold outside and maintaining a stable inside temperature. You’ll recoup the value of your investment in energy savings. 

2. Adjust Your Thermostat One Degree

Your home’s HVAC system makes up most of your home’s energy consumption. It’s why people living the off-grid lifestyle often find that small solar generators are great for charging electronics and small appliances but require larger panel setups to meet all their needs. 

However, the Department of Energy estimates that you can save up to 10% off your average bill by adjusting your thermostat by seven to ten degrees during the eight hours you spend at work. 

What if you’re one of the many telecommuters since the pandemic and don’t want to wear a coat while you work? Adjusting your thermostat down one degree in winter and up one in summer can still result in substantial energy — and utility bill — savings. 

3. Make It Easier to Unplug

Another way to save energy is to remember to turn out the lights when you leave the room. However, even that isn’t enough. When you leave small appliances plugged in, they continue pulling energy even when you aren’t using them. 

However, few mere mortals have time to unplug every TV and blender before they go to work in the morning. Make your work easier by investing in power strips that allow you to unplug by pulling a single cord. 

4. Create a Recycling Sorting Center 

Recycling is a fabulous way to make your home more eco-friendly. However, you can do more harm than good if you don’t do it correctly. While many communities have implemented single-stream recycling, it isn’t efficient. It contaminates cardboard and paper with waste, rendering it unusable, and broken shards of glass get lost in the mix. 

Instead, create a sorting center. Separate and clean your goods before running them to the facility, coordinating your trip with shopping needs to save emissions. 

5. Change Your Light Bulbs for the Better 

It might be too expensive to replace perfectly working bulbs with LEDs. However, you’ll save in the end if you upgrade when you need to replace one. While LEDs cost more at the store, they use up to 90% less energy and last 25 times longer, so you’ll regain the value spent in short order. 

6. Embrace Hand-Me-Downs and Clothing Swaps 

You might not think of your closet as a place to save energy. However, it takes electricity and power to produce new clothing, not to mention the ding in your wallet. 

Instead, embrace hand-me-downs and consider setting up a clothing swap with your friends. You can achieve inner peace while decluttering when you know your unworn but beloved items — like those skinny jeans you fought so hard to squeeze into one time — will go to a good home. 

7. Plant an Extensive Garden

Even urban dwellers can plant an indoor garden big enough to sustain their families, but doing so doesn’t always come cheaply. You can now invest in aerotowers where you can grow a full salad’s worth of ingredients in a single corner. 

However, you can also reap the health benefits of working outdoors if you have a big backyard. Gardens make your home more eco-friendly by reducing your trips to the store. They also prevent hazardous chemicals from entering the soil if you choose green and non-toxic fertilizers and pesticides. 

8. Switch to Alternative Energy

Switching to alternative fuels comes with a fairly high upfront cost. Although Congress recently extended the green energy tax credits until 2034, you still have to pay to install solar panels, a windmill or a water wheel if you have an onsite stream. You also need a way to store your power until required, which involves batteries with hefty price tags. 

However, this upgrade is also the best way to reduce your overall carbon footprint. It’s also a reasonable choice to make if you have to replace your roof, anyway. If you have the means, consider conversion. 

Ways to Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly 

Everyone must work together to achieve net-zero emissions and reverse climate change damage. The repair begins at home. 

It doesn’t matter if you have to start small. Adopting even one of these ways to make your home more eco-friendly will help to green your carbon footprint. 


  • Anonymous

    Also, consider switching to energy-efficient appliances.

    Many people hesitate to do this because such appliances are more expensive to buy and install. However, while saving energy, such appliances save homeowners money – only an Energy Star certified air conditioning can cut energy bills by up to 30%.

    • Olivia

      Even though you use high-efficient appliances like Energy Star air conditioners, you should always remember to maintain it regularly. It’s vital to routinely change the AC filters, drain the lines, clean the coils, and perform other related tasks. Regular maintenance on your AC unit is important for not only preventing increased energy consumption but avoiding potential AC repairs down the road.

      • Tay

        I absolutely support your comment about regular maintenance. Even such a thing as a clean air conditioner filter can make a big difference, making your system operate more efficiently and consume less energy.

  • Alfred

    Yes, solar panel installation is an investment upfront, but you can potentially save up to £480 per year on your utility bills, which will turn into significant savings in the long run. Plus, government solar incentives have quite favorable terms for this year – 30% of the total system cost.

  • Regina

    Thank you for your valuable tips. As for the thermostat, in summer, set it to 78 degrees when you’re at home and to at least 80 degrees if your home is vacant for more than a few hours. This will help you save more energy on cooling.

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