Tips on How to Make Your Home More Sustainable
Making your home – and lifestyle – more sustainable doesn’t have to mean living completely free of stuff or off of the grid. At noho, we believe in making small changes in our everyday lives … because over time those small changes add up to help shape a better future for everyone.
Here are our favorite (and easy) tips to help make your home a bit more sustainable and lessen your environmental impact:
Switch to LED lightbulbs.
According to the US Department of Energy, residential LEDs -- especially ENERGY STAR rated products -- use at least 75% less energy, and last 25 times longer, than incandescent lighting.
Use a programmable thermostat.
Want to save money and increase your home’s efficiency? A programmable thermostat is just what you need. You can set the times your heating or AC turns on based on your schedule. Bonus points for adjusting your thermostat to run two degrees cooler in the winter and two degrees warmer in the summer. You’ll likely not even notice these small changes, but you will when you receive your energy bill.
We know you know this already. But for the people in the back … get yourself a reusable water bottle and say goodbye to plastic bottled water for good. You’ll also save money – bottled water is far more expensive than tap water. Sparking water more your jam? Invest in a SodaStream to cut down on all of those cans. And while you’re on roll, pick up a reusable coffee mug and remember to bring it with you to your favorite coffee shop. Most coffee shops offer a BYOC discount – so you’re not only helping to keep single use cups out of landfills, you’re saving money while you’re at it.
Switch to non-toxic household cleaners
Many of the cleaning products we use in our homes are riddled with toxins and can be harmful to not only our health, but the environment, too. Check out the Environmental Working Group’s guide to Healthy Cleaning to find greener cleaners. Or take it one step further with forever bottles and cleaners from Blueland. From foaming hand soap, to glass cleaner, they’ve got you covered with non-toxic cleaning products complete with reusable bottles.
Wash clothes in cold water.
Did you know that nearly 75% of the energy use and greenhouse-gas emissions from washing a load of laundry come from heating the water? By not heating the water, you’ll reduce your energy consumption and costs – and your clothes are less likely to shrink or fade. While we’re on the topic of laundry, try hang drying your clothes (4-6 lbs. of carbon emissions are produced for every hour a dryer is in use).
Use an Instant Pot.
The Instant Pot is a magical gadget that has transformed how busy people do weeknight cooking. But it’s not only a time saver – it’s one of the greenest kitchen appliances you can use, saving up to 70% electricity in comparable cooking to other appliances like an oven, boiling pot + stove, steamer, etc. And because an Instant Pot is fully sealed during cooking, much less water is required for cooking (about 75% less than steaming).
Stop Junk Mail.
According to PaperKarma, 77,269,000,000 pieces of unwanted mail are sent to customers in the US each year. Stopping junk mail delivery to your mailbox mailbox will reduce the amount of paper that ends up in landfills. The process will take you less than five minutes and can drastically reduce your junk mail inflow by more than 90%. Here’s how you can get started today:
- Download the PaperKarma app to start today.
- Remove your name from mailing lists at http://www.dmachoice.org
- To eliminate credit card promotional mailings, call 1-888-567-8688 (that's 888-5OPT-OUT) or visit http://www.optoutprescreen.com
Buy Eco-Friendly Furniture
Look for pieces that help to preserve resources. At noho, we are committed to only using sustainable and upcycled materials in our products. Our first product, the noho move chair, is made from upcycled plastic waste, like discarded fishing nets and end-of-use carpet. We’ve even eliminated plastic in our packaging. But your eco choices don’t have to stop with comfortable chairs – seek out other products for your space that are made from eco-wool and organic cotton, locally sourced or reclaimed wood, and recycled fabric.
Take a look around your home. What could you use less of?
- Paper towels and napkins – switch to cloth options.
- Printer paper – go paperless with your bills, boarding passes, etc.
- Ziplock bags and saran wrap – swap them out for reusable options like Lunchskin bags or glass food storage containers.
- Foods that come in single use containers – shop the bulk aisle and bring your own containers.
- Dryer sheets – opt for dryer balls for an all-natural, chemical-free alternative.
- Energy – turn off the automatic ice maker in your refrigerator and switch to simple ice trays. According to TIME, the average ice maker in the average fridge increases energy consumption by 12% to 20%.
But First Coffee.
According to the National Coffee Association, 41 percent of Americans own a single-cup coffee maker. But where do all of those pint-sized plastic coffee capsules likely end up? You guessed it – the landfill. Brewing your coffee the old fashion way will save you money (those little pods are substantially more expensive than drip coffee) and will keep loads of plastic and aluminum out of landfills, rivers, streams and our ocean. And you can easily compost your used coffee grounds or add them to your garden.
Paper or Plastic?
By now you probably have quite the stash of reusable bags. Keep them in your car, backpack or purse so you never forget to bring them along. And remember, they aren’t only for grocery stores. Bring them along with you wherever you plan to shop.
The night shift.
Many utility companies incentivize customers to use electricity in off peak (middle of the night) hours by offering discounts and rebates on your utility bill. Ever wonder what that delay button on your dishwasher is for? This. You can save big on your next utility bill by running your dishwasher or washing machine, or charging your hybrid or electric vehicle, at night. Check with your local provider to see if time-based rates are available in your area.
Organic choices are better for your body and better for our planet. According to the Organic Trade Association, organic agriculture is based on practices that not only protect environmental health, but also strive to improve it. By prohibiting the use of petroleum-based fertilizers and absorbing carbon dioxide from the air, organic agriculture helps to reduce our carbon footprint and combat climate change. When you choose organic, you’re choosing products that are free from toxic pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and GMOs.
A car-free lifestyle, or an electric vehicle may not be feasible for everyone. But there are small things you can do to change your driving habits for the better. Consider carpooling with co-workers, taking public transportation or working from home one day a week. Check with your employer to see if they offer incentives for greener commutes. Running errands on the weekend? Combine them all into one trip to save time spent driving back and forth.
Small home improvement projects will not only make your home more efficient, but will also save you money.
- Seal gaps around your doors and windows with weather stripping options. You can find weather stripping materials at your local hardware store.
- Fix leaky faucets and toilets to cut down on the amount of water you might be wasting. According to the EPA, the average household's leaks can account for nearly 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year and 10% of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day.
- Insulate your attic to help your heater and air conditioner run more efficiently.
- Replace older showerheads and toilets with low-flow versions.