An eco-friendly approach to home care
Living an eco-friendly lifestyle starts at home. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, residential use accounts for more than one-fifth of the nation’s total energy consumption. Adopting an earth-first, energy saving mindset will let you make adjustments around your home so that you can feel good about your family’s contributions to protect the environment.
Written by: Propane Education & Research Council Green energy Improving your home’s energy efficiency is not only good for the planet, it’s good for your wallet. After all, wasted energy is money lost in monthly utility bills. Numerous factors influence a home’s energy efficiency, or lack thereof. Air leaks, outdated appliances or inefficient heating and cooling systems can all negatively impact your home’s energy usage. Structural improvements Correcting any structural issues can go a long way toward making your home more efficient. Give your home a thorough inspection to identify and repair leaks and cracks around windows, doors and duct work. Remember that poorly sealed attics and basements are also common culprits of energy loss. Appliances and major systems Upgrading your appliances and temperature control systems also helps drive more efficient energy use throughout the house. Look for ENERGY STAR-certified products, which are designed to save energy without sacrificing on performance. Where possible, make purchases that will perform double duty, such as high-efficiency washing machines that can save on both energy and water usage. Fuel sources Choosing the right energy source can also help lessen your impact on the environment. For example, using propane-powered appliances in your home can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. According to a recent study sponsored by the Propane Education & Research Council, propane-powered furnaces emit 73 percent fewer greenhouse gases than electricity. Similarly, propane-powered storage water heaters emit approximately 39 percent less greenhouse gas than electric storage models. Green upgrades Shopping smart to incorporate high-efficiency appliances and electronics into your home is just a first step. There are many other ways you can make such products even more sustainable: • Rely on LED light bulbs, which use a fraction of the energy and last significantly longer than traditional bulbs. • Use light timers to turn off lights when they aren’t needed. • Make a habit of powering off lights and other electronics when you leave the room. • Set a programmable thermostat to adjust temperatures when you’re away from home. • Wash only full loads of laundry, and use cold water when possible. • Air-dry dishes, rather than using the heated drying cycle of the dishwasher. Recycle Like a Pro Living green isn’t just about saving energy. Sustainable living also means putting earth-friendly practices in place throughout your home, such as recycling. With these tips you can make recycling easier for the whole family. • Establish collection bins to make it easy to gather all your recycling in one place. The number of bins you need depends on your city’s guidelines for sorting. If no sorting is required, a single bin will do. Otherwise, use different colored bins to make it simple to sort paper, aluminum, glass, etc. • Most families find the kitchen is a primary source of recyclable goods. If space is at a premium, keep a smaller collection bin in the kitchen that can be easily transported to a sorting station in a larger area, such as the garage. • Don’t forget to recycle in other rooms, too. Many common bathroom items, such as shampoo and soap bottles, and even cardboard toilet paper tubes, can be recycled. • Remember that recycling can also come in other forms, like donating unwanted clothing to charity or using leftover water to quench thirsty plants or freshen the dog’s bowl. • Be sure to rinse away any food or liquid residue from containers to manage odors and keep your recycling area tidy and odor free. • Maximize your bin space by compressing cans and bottles.