Being Green to Save Green

GARBAGE photo by twentyfour students

Our lives depend on the planet’s natural resources just as the planet depends on our care and conservation. With climate change constantly in the news, more people are making the switch to a “greener” lifestyle and reduced their overall energy consumption. Many in Austin are already ahead of the curve, and live much more eco-friendly lifestyles than other cities.

There’s a common misconception that becoming eco-friendly is expensive and time consuming. However, changing the way you live can save you money in the long run. By following these simple home upgrades, you’ll be well on your way to creating a comfortable, hazard-free living space without harming the environment.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
First and foremost, recycle. Set up your own recycling center at home and help save resources needed for future products. Sort all paper, plastic and glass items into separate compartments in easy-to-use recycling stations that won’t compromise décor. Composting your food will also reduce the amount of domestic waste and can even be used as fertilizer for your lawn. Click here for some guidelines from the City of Austin’s website.

Bright Idea
Switch traditional incandescent light bulbs with CFLs (compact fluorescent light bulbs) that last ten times as long and use less than a third of the energy. Known for substantial energy savings, CFLs pay for themselves in lower electricity bills and come in different shapes and sizes to fit home lampshades and exterior floodlights. Check out The Light Bulb Shop on Burnet for all kinds of bulbs (including UV lights to help with allergies!).

Slipping Through the Cracks
For an easy and efficient way to save money around the house, seal off drafts around all windows and doors. Use weather-stripping and caulking where air might seep through and seal off the bottom of doors that lead to the outside of your home. This simple green tip will reduce energy bills up to 30 percent and leave you with a less drafty house. For materials, try Harrell’s Supply Store on West Oltorf.

Green Clean
With spring cleaning on everyone’s minds right now, there’s no better time to upgrade to natural remedies. Give your kitchen and bathroom a spotless shine without hazardous, harsh commercial cleaners. Mix 2 cups of water, 3 tablespoons of liquid soap and 25 drops of tea tree oil to create an easy, at-home disinfectant. For sparkling countertops, sprinkle baking soda on top of surfaces and rub with a damp cloth. Lemon juice and vinegar can also be used to remove tough stains and grease. Or check out Eco-Wise in Travis Heights for a wide selection of non-toxic cleaning materials.

Every Austin home is worth preserving and bringing up to date. By making eco-conscious decisions, you’ll feel the satisfaction of a healthy, energy-efficient home that benefits both your wallet and your city.

Photo used under Creative Commons license, courtesy Twentyfour Students..
See the original Flickr post here.

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