Guide on How You Can Do Your Part to Help Preserve the Environment
Part 2: Introduction, Home Environmental Efficiency
Let us begin with a happy Earth Week 2010, Earth Month, and Earth Day, and today especially, happy 40th anniversary Earth Day! WE have come a long ways from that first Earth Day in 1970, but we still have quite a ways to go. This week we are celebrating Earth Week, and tomorrow is Earth Day 40th anniversary so we are beginning a 5 part Earth Week Special Report How To Preserve The Environment. Today’s feature is about home environmental efficiency, and gives you some ideas on home to make your home more eco friendly. We hope you gain some insight as to how to protect your environment and can pass some of that along to your neighbors, friends and family to help spread the message this Earth Week, and especially on the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.
For those who are concerned about protecting the environment, it can be frustrating trying to encourage legislation or other governmental action in this day and age. Environmentalists are often left asking, What can I do? Motivating others can be both challenging and rewarding, but even this starts out on an individual basis. This is good news for all you natural born leaders! If you desire to protect the environment, you can rest assured that your efforts will not be fruitless, nor are you helpless. You can do something alone, and it does make a difference. If you have ever wondered what you, personally, can do to help protect your environment, here are some useful thoughts, ideas, and inspirations for the 40th anniversary of Earth Day 2010 this Earth Week 2010.
Earth Week Special Report How To Preserve The Environment Part 2 Home Environmental Efficiency
Now that we have discussed some of the general basics, let’s talk about your close environment – your home, yard, neighborhood, and community. What are some things you can do in your immediate area to preserve your environment?
Preserving your environment starts with preserving the environment inside your home, making sure the indoor air is clean and that you are not allowing heated and cooled air to escape into the outside environment. Your home is uniquely yours, and reflects your values, personality, and taste. Here are some things to consider as you make your home more eco-friendly.
Nearly every home owner does renovations at some time or another. If you are going to renovate your home, think of your environment first.
-Painting is one of the simplest ways to give a room a new look. Remember, though, to use eco-friendly paints that are free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
-Varnishes and paint strippers also come in eco-friendly versions – use them. DIY is good, but toxic DIY is not!
Around your home, you can make sure that all of your household cleaners are natural and biodegradable. The same goes for soaps and cleansers. Laundry and dish soaps come in biodegradable, natural forms, and so do household cleaners and scrubbers. You can also make your own.
Here are some ways you can cut back on your household’s use of electricity.
-Heating and Cooling
Lower your own personal use of energy by turning down the thermostat. Make sure your attic is insulated and that your windows and doors have weather stripping around them. Break out the curtains or shades during the winter, closing them at night and opening them when sunlight is coming through. In the summer, reverse the process.
Strive for energy-efficient models wherever possible. However, since re-using and refurbishing are part of environmental preservation, it is not eco-friendly to throw out working appliances in favor of energy-efficient ones. The only way such a move would be eco-friendly is if you had takers for the appliances you wanted to replace.
Cut back on the use of your stove by using a pressure cooker and crock pot. Only open the refrigerator when you know what you are going to get, and try to consolidate fridge trips.
You probably have done this already, but as your incandescent bulbs burn out, replace them with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). If you want to save on your energy bill right away and you don’t want to wait for the incandescent to burn out, replace them with CFLs and give the incandescent away or stash them in a box for emergencies. You can also make some interested crafts and projects with discarded incandescent bulbs.
Water usage certainly accounts for much environmental waste. Think about the water you are using, and try to cut back where you can. Here are some ideas:
-Shorten the shower. Ten minutes is an ideal length for a shower. Bring a hand-held timer into the bathroom and set it for 10 minutes. See how you do! It may take some practice.
-Consider sponge baths when you really don’t need to soap all over. In the dry winter months, skin is especially dry and subject to flaking and cracking. Frequent bathing can make dry skin much worse, if not cause it. When possible, take a short sponge bath and give your skin – and the water bill – a break.
-Get a rain barrel. Rain barrels can help you save water. More on that in the “Yard and Garden” section below!
-Install low-flow faucets and shower heads. They are very easy and inexpensive to install, and the savings are well worth it.
-Put a weight in the toilet tank or convert your toilet to a dual-flush type.
-Consider a tankless water heater to reduce water and energy usage.
5. Alternative energy
It is getting more and more plausible for homeowners to invest in alternative energy to power their homes. Look into solar panels or sky lights for your home. Even if you install solar panels that will power only one appliance that can make a difference. Sky lights reduce the need for electric light during the day.
Personal wind turbines for house roofs are also available. Once again, trying to power your whole house via alternative energy is probably not doable right away, but you can begin by powering a particular appliance or lighting.
Carpet, with its chemical adhesives, synthetic fibers, and its tendency to trap allergens, can really make your home environment more toxic than you may realize. Consider replacing your carpet with less toxic options, such as hardwood flooring (you may be in for a pleasant surprise when you tear out your carpets – they often hide beautiful wood floors), recyclable carpet squares that are fitted together rather than glued down, or all-natural linoleum. If you really like the feel of carpet, think about getting a large throw rug that is 100 percent wool.
7. Indoor Air
Clean outdoor air and indoor air go hand in hand. Preserve your environment by keeping the air in your home breathable, healthy, and clean. Some ways to do this are to invest in an air purifier (this could be powered by your solar panels!), distribute houseplants throughout your home, and open windows when weather (and outdoor air quality) permits.
8. Look Up – Roofs
Your roof may be made of toxic materials, and when it rains those chemicals get washed into the gutters and ultimately joins other storm run-off and ends up in the nearest creek or river. Green roofs, which literally have soil vegetation growing on them, are an option for some homeowners, as are metal or other non-toxic roofing materials. Some of these options can be installed right over an existing roof.
We hope that our Earth Week 2010 Special Report How To Preserve The Environment Part 2 Home Environmental Efficiency has helped in your bid to reduce your negative impact on the environment and you will refer or inform friends during this 40th anniversary of Earth Day and please remember to reduce reuse and recycle! Happy Earth Day!
Now that we have discussed some of the general basics and home environmental efficiency, let’s talk about your close environment – your yard, neighborhood, and community. What are some things you can do in your immediate area to preserve your environment?
Stay tuned tomorrow for the next in our Earth Week 2010 Special Report How To Preserve The Environment Part 3 Yard and Garden, and we hope you will pass this along to friends, family, neighbors and anyone you may think will benefit from this report or read Part 1 Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Here. Thanks again for visiting with us and have a great Earth Week and happy 40th anniversary Earth Day!