Going “green” has been a hot topic for several years. But more so now that we are actually suffering from all our bad habits. Take this El Niño that is causing the crazy summer heat. Or the melting ice caps. Or the ever present pollution. Or our growing garbage problem. The list goes on.
There is no longer a question why going green is good for you and your family. This is our world. This is our children’s world. As parents, we always have our kids in mind. It is second nature to us. It is our responsibility to do what we can to ensure that they have a brighter, cleaner, healthier world to live in. Below are some tips on how you can have an eco friendly home. Some are very simple, others more complex. An interesting correlation to note is that most of these tips not only save the environment, but also lower household costs. Treat the tips as baby steps to having an eco friendly home and not enormous (and hard-to-follow) changes.
Conserve Electricity and Water
The easiest and most accessible step is conserving electricity and water in your own household. There are many avenues where you can apply this overly used phrase. From the very obvious practice of turning off the lights once you leave a room to the less understood notion of vampire electronics. The key to being successful in this department is awareness. We consume electricity in almost all our daily tasks. The first thing we do when we enter a room is to turn on the lights, sometimes even if the room is already bright. Start with refraining from turning on the lights during the daytime (unless it’s a really dark room). Then make it a habit to turn off everything when you leave the room: lights, fan, tv, computer, etc.
Understand the Concept of Vampire Electronics
Onto something more complex: vampire electronics. These are appliances or gadgets that consume energy even when turned off. Examples would be a DVD player with an LCD display, a coffeemaker with a built-in clock that runs even when turned off, a computer on standby, your TV with the red light on once you turn it off. Merely “turning off” the TV is no longer enough. With enough awareness, we can do more by unplugging the appliance when not in use. Another way to address this problem is to attach several appliances or electronics (i.e. computer system with a monitor, CPU, printer) to a single power strip which can be easily turned off at night.
Organize Your Refrigerator
One of the most abused appliances in your home is the refrigerator. The more often you open your ref door, the more energy it consumes (because the temperature rises slightly every time, prompting the fridge to start cooling again to maintain a low, stable temperature). So a simple way to lower energy consumption is to keep your ref clean and organized. The more organized your ref is, the less time you spend scouring for that last slice of cake you saved for your midnight snack. Save trips to the ref by setting aside everything you need to put in and doing it at the same time, as opposed to putting them in one by one.
Use Passive (or Leftover) Heat
Another tip is to use passive heat when you can. An example would be heating your leftover ulam by steaming it with your rice in your rice cooker or turning off your oven toaster one minute earlier; you can use that leftover heat to do the job.
Turn Off the Faucet When Brushing Your Teeth
On the subject of water conservation, the simple task of turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth is so simple yet often overlooked. The same principle applies to turning off the shower while you’re applying shampoo or soap. Multiply the number of times you do this in a day, and that number by the number of people in your household. All these little things add up.
Take Cold Showers
One interesting advice: take cold showers. This is easy to do since we live in a tropical country. Not only does this conserve water and electricity, it also boosts your immune system. On the topic of taking showers, despite its unsexiness, the old-fashioned balde and tabo system is still the most water-efficient way of taking a bath. There’s also no need to turn on the water full blast whenever you use it. This saves a lot of water every time you turn on the faucet or shower.
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You may choose to do one, two, or all of these tips. Don’t be daunted by the number of changes you need to make to go green. Take baby steps to having an eco friendly home. The most important thing here is to set an example for your whole household. Teach your kids (and even household help!) early on how to be sensitive to Mother Nature and they’ll grow up being eco-friendly and responsible adults. You may not change the world but you can start a trend by teaching others how to be more eco friendly, starting in your own home.
Check out these other articles on going green: Going Green: Change Begins with Your Eco Friendly Home (part 2 of 4)Going Green: Eco Friendly Shopping (part 3 of 4)Going Green: Sustainable Living On-The-Go (part 4 of 4)