By Scott Laskey
Are you curious about going green at home? Protecting the environment is important, but you don’t need to rethink your whole lifestyle to do it. It’s especially easy if you’re already considering installing home solar panels.
Being eco-conscious shouldn’t be difficult, but getting started is always the hardest part of anything new. Here’s how to think greener and become more aware of your personal impact on the environment.
Figuring out how to go green may seem overwhelming. Make your mission simpler by changing little habits first. Then, just keep improving on what you’ve learned.
For instance, recycling is a good start, but what if you could do even better? Make a minor change, such as switching to reusable shopping bags. This is a great way to minimize your contributions to landfills, and if you live somewhere with bag taxes, you’ll save money too. Thinking about grabbing bottled water from the convenience store? Waste less by switching to a stainless steel water bottle that you can refill.
When you get an appliance, vehicle or consumer item, do you always buy new? Although it’s fun to break something in for the first time, second-hand purchases waste far fewer resources. They also minimize what you spend on clothes, furniture and electronics. What’s more, saving money can make going green more attractive.
Do you find it hard to reduce the amount of trash that you create? You’re not alone. From plastic bags to food containers, it’s easy for people to accumulate waste without even thinking about it. As prominent zero-waste advocate Lauren Singer notes, however, we can replace many of the disposable products that we use on a daily basis.
For instance, buying in bulk using your own mason jars helps you avoid unnecessary packaging. Switching to actual stainless steel utensils instead of plastic throwaways not only makes you more environmentally friendly but also helps you impress houseguests.
You don’t have to hire a plumber to do the dishes less wastefully or take showers more efficiently. Faucet aerators are easy to install, and they minimize your water and heating energy usage. You can also install low-flow shower heads to make your hygiene routine a bit better for the whole planet.
What about essentials, such as paper towels and toilet paper? Even though these items are meant to be discarded, you can replace them with recycled versions and more sustainably sourced products. Or you can swap out your paper towels for reusable, machine-washable alternatives.
As some animal advocates have said, meat-eating environmentalists don’t really exist. From factory farms that drive climate change to the massive amounts of fossil fuels, deforestation and water needed to raise livestock, modern animal products are known to have a negative impact on the environment.
Even if you’re not ready to make the leap to a vegan lifestyle, skipping animal products from your diet for one day each week is a beautiful beginning. Who knows? You may even like it.
Those Energy Star ratings on modern appliances and fixtures aren’t just for show. These devices only earn high-efficiency ratings if they satisfy federally regulated standards. In other words, switching to Energy Star appliances will reduce the amount of energy you expend while you’re doing the laundry or heating hot water for a shower.
As building materials (e.g. windows, weather stripping and insulation) age and degrade, they tend to become less efficient. If left unchecked, this can translate to a lot of heating and cooling waste. Modernizing your property and performing routine upkeep are good ideas if you’d prefer to lower your energy costs.
Out of all tips for going green, switching to home solar panels is one of the easiest. Since all you have to do is hire dependable solar energy installers, this planet-saving technique is the ideal low-effort go green idea.
Few options let you make such a huge difference without needing to adjust your routine. As other energy sources become increasingly expensive, you’ll also save money with solar power.
Going green at home isn’t as hard as it may seem. You might have to shift your perspective, but with so many different ways to get started, you can go green at your own pace. Whether you decide to install home solar panels with residential battery backup power or just use less plastic, you can feel good about your environmental impact.
The Sandbar Solar team is proud to be more than just Santa Cruz County’s leading solar energy installers. We love making positive changes, and we’ve spent 13 years learning how to help others do so too. From providing more ethical energy solutions to fostering a community-wide sense of environmental stewardship, we’re always ready to deliver quality work that makes it easy to be energy efficient.
What are your favorite tips for going green? Let us know – and please share this list with your friends to help your community protect the environment.
Scott is the founder of Sandbar Solar. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from UC San Diego, Scott has an NABCEP certification, and has lectured on and taught many high-tech construction practices and solar PV technical concepts to education institutions, including Stanford University and state-recognized electrician apprenticeship programs. Scott enjoys sharing his knowledge of the evolving renewable energy space and making a difference in his community.
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