April is a hot month to talk about the earth and being a bit more eco-friendly, so today I want to talk about how to do that in your home. I think the actual arrival of Spring, seeing things sprouting up, and feeling the temperatures rising make us feel much more connected to Mother Earth – because I can tell you right now, I don’t feel all that connected when there’s a sheet of ice or snow on the ground!
In all seriousness, though, when The Home Depot asked me to write a post about how we’re working towards having a more eco-friendly home, I immediately thought of 3 major changes we’ve made since moving to our house that have had a huge impact! Oh, and yes – this post is sponsored, but I couldn’t possibly make these things up because, well, I did them long before this post was requested, so it’s REAL! Just making sure you know.
I’ll also disclose that these three tips aren’t necessarily cheap to begin with, but they will save you SO. MUCH. MONEY. in the long run, and will in turn also help to preserve the earth by using less energy and water.
3 ways to make your home more eco-friendly
1. Use a smart thermostat
What even is that? It’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s a thermostat that KNOWS things! Ok, not really…they usually just have WiFi capabilities and can tell you what the temperature of your house is even when you’re not home through an app on your phone or tablet. We personally chose the Ecobee3 with room sensors, and purchased extra sensors for the nursery and basement. It’s given us such peace of mind, because now we know the house isn’t too warm/cool when we’re not in it (you can set it up to lower temps when you’re away in Winter, and warmer for the Summer so there’s less energy waste). The sensors have also been a big help for us because we can see exactly what the temperature is like in the nursery while the boys are sleeping.
It also tells us what the humidity is like in the house, send us alerts for when it’s time to do some simple maintenance, like changing the furnace filter, and tells me what the weather is like outside. I’m telling you, this thing is SMART! There are lots of models of smart thermostats you can check out to suit your needs, but this is what we know and love.
2. Switch to LED
When we first moved to this house, not a single lightbulb was LED, and we still have to switch out some monstrous fluorescent tubes in the basement. As we renovated the house and installed new fixtures in all of the rooms, new lightbulbs came with it. We took advantage of an amazing sale The Home Depot had and purchased enough for nearly the entire house, and if you hurry in, you can get coupons for LED lights until the end of the month! We even used them in the chandelier in our bedroom, but they’re LED filament lights! How cool is that? Yes, I think a lightbulb is cool. You will too, when you see how inexpensive they are and how great they look!
We have an amber filament lightbulb in the sconce by our front entrance as well, and it’s great because this light is on ALL the time, since the hallway upstairs is a bit dark. It’s way nicer knowing that you’re not wasting energy by using 4.5 Watts of energy instead of 60. And if you don’t get what that means, just know this: 4.5 Watts costs you a LOT less than 60 to light up.
3. Conserve Water
I’m not about to tell you not to use your dishwasher unless it’s properly packed (though that is a legit way to conserve water and energy), because I get that some days you just need the dirty dishes gone and maybe you could fit in like 2 or 3 more plates, but you need sippy cups clean and the thought of hand-washing all those tiny parts pains you. I get it. I’ve been there. Can you tell?
What I WILL tell you, is that your toilet can save you big bucks. Yes, really. When we renovated our powder room, we purchased a new toilet for two reasons: it didn’t have the scrolley things down the side that are a pain in the butt to clean (oh my gosh I did NOT mean to make that pun, but I may or may not have laughed inappropriately loudly when I proof-read this – now back to toilets), and it had a much smaller tank than the previous one. Smaller tank = less water.
In a room that gets used very frequently, it made total sense for us to switch to this toilet. It even LOOKS much nicer than the last one (and you can see what I mean in my One Room Challenge posts about it). This thing uses 1.28 gallons (4.8 litres) per flush, which is about 0.5 gallons (or about 1.9 litres) less than the old one. Over the course of time, that’s a LOT of water. We got this American Standard one on sale, and if you want to wait for a sale before buying one, here’s how you can cheat with your old toilet: fill a plastic water bottle up with water and close it tightly. Pop that into the toilet tank. Voila! You’re already using a little less water! You can also look for units with dual flush, that are even more economical. All in all, you can’t go wrong with using less water, because we don’t exactly have an infinite amount of it to go around, you know?
And there you have it. There are so many more things you can do to not only save the earth, but also save yourself some money, but these three have made a big impact in our lives so far. If you have more tips, do send them my way!