Upgrading your home to make it more environmentally friendly is one of the best things that you can do, not just for your wallet, but also for the planet. This is especially true if you live in a predominantly hot and sunny area such as California, where you’ll be using a lot of power year-round for both heating and cooling your home depending on the season, but will be able to take advantage of several renewable energy sources. If you want to give your California home an eco-friendly boost, we’ve put together a list of some of the top improvements to make.
#1. Solar Panels:
With all the sun that you’re getting in the state of California, it would be a shame to let it go to waste. And, getting solar panels installed in your home is more popular and easier than ever before, so it’s no surprise that more and more homeowners are taking advantage of them. Check out some of the best solar companies in the bay area to find one that’s suitable for your needs. Sempersolaris.com is a reputable company offering solar installations in the bay area; they will be able to find the best panels for your home and install them ready to go, so that you can start taking advantage of renewable energy.
Once you have your panels installed, you can start using them to power your home – leading to considerable savings on your energy bills, especially if you tend to use a lot of energy all year round to keep your home at the right temperature. If your solar panels generate enough energy, you may even be able to make some money back from them by selling it to companies or other homes in your area.
#2. Manage Heat Loss:
While you may be lucky enough to enjoy the mild, Mediterranean-like climate of California all year around, it can still help to manage the heat loss from your home. Even if your winters aren’t that cold, there may be times where you’ll want to make your home a little bit warmer, so it’ll pay to ensure that the heat is staying trapped in your home instead of escaping and costing you money. Check to ensure that all of the windows and doors leading to the outside in your home are sealed properly and there are no small gaps where a draft could be coming through. Don’t forget to check that your roof, walls and floors are properly insulated, too – in addition to keeping your home at the right temperature in the winter, this can actually also help to keep your home cooler during the hot summer months.
#3. Check Your Appliances:
Everyday household appliances such as your washing machine, dryer, refrigerator, dishwasher, and waste disposal system can all use up more energy than you may realize, particularly if you need to use them multiple times on a daily basis. The good news is that modern appliances are becoming more and more energy efficient, so check to make sure that all of yours are running on the most eco-friendly setting. You should also check your home’s boiler to make sure that it is an energy efficient model; if it is not, then it’s time to consider upgrading to a new one. In addition, old or poorly maintained appliances can also emit a wide range of pollutants, so it’s worth having them professionally serviced and cleaned regularly – not only will this help them run more efficiently in terms of energy, it’ll make your home safer and keep your appliances in the best shape for longer.
#4. Utilize Appliances to Their Full Potential:
Along with checking that your appliances are as energy efficient as possible, it’s also a wise idea to utilize them to their full potential as much as possible. For example, if you’re doing laundry, wait until you have a large enough load to fill the entire machine before switching it on, or fill your dishwasher up all the way before you use it. If your dishwasher has a ‘top rack only’ setting and you really can’t wait, then be sure to use that if you’re only washing a small load.
#5. Consider Remote Temperature Control:
The world of modern, smart technology has made it easier than ever for us to control the temperature in our homes wherever we are. If you can, using a remotely controlled thermostat can be a great way to keep your energy usage to a minimum while making sure that your home is the right temperature for the given season. If you’re leaving your home on a hot day in the summer, there’s no need to switch on the air conditioning before you leave and have it running all day to make sure that you’re not coming back to a swelteringly hot house – you can control it remotely using your smartphone, and turn it on at just the right time to ensure your home is cool for your arrival, using minimum energy in the process.
#6. Use Energy Saving Light Bulbs:
The great thing about living in California is that you’ll get plenty of natural light during the day, but when the nights draw in, you’ll want to make sure that you’re using as little energy as possible to keep your home well-lit. The best way to do this is by using energy efficient light bulbs. While they are a little more expensive than their regular counterparts, it’s definitely worth the extra money that you’ll invest in energy saving light bulbs when you think about the amount of money that you will save on your energy bill throughout the year just by using them.
#7. Buy Some House Plants:
Making your California home more environmentally friendly isn’t all about cutting the dollars from your energy bills. In fact, there are several other things that you can do to make your home kinder to both the environment and yourself. Having some house plants is a great way to do this; and they’re perfect for making the air cleaner and fresher in your home in the hot weather. Recent studies have found that simply having plants in your home can help to absorb harmful VOCs (volatile organic compounds), which are one of the main categories of pollutant gases. The bromeliad is one of the most effective plants to have in your home, as it’s able to remove more than 80% of nasty pollutants and gases in the air, making it a healthier environment for everybody.
#8. Swap Out Your Cleaning Products:
Keeping your home clean is a definite must, but if you’re using regular mainstream cleaning products, your home may not be as eco-friendly as you think. In fact, many mainstream household cleaning products are packed full of nasty gases and every time you clean your home, you’re actually filling the air with toxins. Instead, switch to eco-friendly, toxin-free brands to keep your home looking, feeling and smelling fresh without all the added nasties in the air. Air fresheners are especially harmful to the atmosphere, so it may be worth trying an eco-friendly alternative such as a charcoal air purifier.
#9. Reduce Your Paper Waste:
Even if you try to put as much paper and cardboard as possible in your recycling, you can never be sure where it’s actually going to end up. In fact, research has found that much of the products we diligently throw into the recycling actually end up in landfills anyway, causing more pollution on the planet. And, using less paper will reduce the demand, meaning that there’ll be less of a need to cut trees down and deforest around the world – something that’s definitely necessary today. By switching out as much paper as possible to rags and cloth, you’ll not only save money on buying paper towels, but also help to reduce your carbon footprint and make your home a much more environmentally place to be. And you can cut up old shirts to make rags, which is another form of recycling in itself! And, don’t forget to switch off paper billing and go online instead for all your utilities.
#10. Line-Dry When Possible:
California’s warm and agreeable climate means that you never really need to use a dryer for your clothes during the summer, or even on a dry winters’ day. Line drying is not only a great way to conserve energy and use less electricity in your home, it’s also better for your clothes, and they’ll last longer when you air dry them as much as possible. There’s nothing wrong for having a dryer just in case you need something in a hurry, but otherwise, use a drying rack or a clothes line outside.
#11. Get Creative with Your Furniture:
You want to make your California home as lovely as possible, but there’s no need to spend your money on getting brand new furnishings for every single room. In fact, there are several ways that you can get creative with your furniture, which will not only help you save money making your home look great, but also help you do your bit for the environment. Furniture is one of the most common items to end up in landfills around the world, so shopping in thrift stores, checking out selling sites online, or even taking on old furniture being given away in your neighborhood can be a very eco-friendly way of getting everything that you need for your home. Then you can upcycle the furniture to put your own stamp on it and make sure that it fits in with your ideas for your home décor. Or if you really want to get creative, you could even consider making your own furniture using pallets or other materials.
#12. Use Less Water:
Over time, water waste from your home can quickly add up to much more than you realize – especially when you’re constantly sipping water to stay hydrated and jumping in a cool shower in the California heat. The good news is that there are several things that you can do to conserve water around your home. For example, if you’re taking a shower, setting a timer on your smartphone will help you realize just how long you’re spending in there, which can be very useful if you tend to overstay in the shower after you’ve finished washing. A low-flow shower head with a powerful spray setting can also help you save more water without even noticing. For your house plants, use waste water from washing your vegetables or collect rainwater in a bucket during the winter, rather than getting it straight out of the faucet. And, fix any drippy faucets!
#13. Get a Compost Bin:
If you have a garden that you enjoy tending to, then investing in a compost bin can be a great move. Not only are they quite inexpensive to buy, you’ll also be able to turn your food waste into free fertilizer for your plants, rather than throwing it away or chucking it in the waste disposal system. You could even go one step further and use the compost that you accumulate from your food waste to grow your own vegetables, which is great for both your pocket and the environment. Stash your scraps in a designated counter-top trash can, and you’ll soon see your garden looking prettier while your trash bags get smaller.
#14. Clear Out Regularly:
Over time, we all accumulate stuff – and sometimes, we don’t actually need it after a while. Designating a day or two to having a good clear out of your things is a great way to make your home cleaner and more spacious, and you can then recycle all the things that you don’t need anymore. Whether you’re going to repurpose them into something else, sell them at a garage sale, donate them to charity or take them to the local thrift store, all the unwanted things in your California home could be making somebody else very happy – and helping others to avoid buying new.
These are just some of the best ways to make sure that your California home is as eco-friendly as possible.