There are, of course, always more things that you can do. We talked about a few of those in this post. Today we’re going to talk about some of the lesser known and under utilized and more creative eco-friendly changes and upgrades that you can make.
Low Flow Shower Heads
It wasn’t that long ago that standing under a low flow shower head felt sort of like standing under a hose whose faucet hadn’t been turned on all the way. Today, though, low-flow shower heads are one of the best energy saving products you can buy. Most contemporary low-flow shower heads offer water pressure that rivals the pressure found in “regular” shower heads. Sometimes it is even better! This means that you can still have your “rainforest” shower but now you’ll be using a lot less water.
Switch Your Bulbs
One of the easiest changes you can make when you want to install energy efficient upgrades is to look at your lights. By now you know that CFLs are much more eco-friendly than incandescents and fluorescent bulbs. In fact, it’s hard to find a home that isn’t using CFLs exclusively. Did you know, though, that LEDs are even better than CFLs? LED lights have longer lives than CFLs. They also offer more lumens (light) for fewer watts than CFLs. Best of all, with an LED light you don’t have to wait twenty minutes for the light to “warm up” to its full wattage.
The only drawback is that an LED bulb costs more at the outset (each bulb averages around $15-$20) than the other options. Even so, you should earn back your investment within the first few months of installing the bulbs. Over the course of a bulb’s lifetime, you can save literally hundreds of dollars in energy costs.
Save Your Rainwater and Greywater
It is a shame that all of that water that comes out of your shower head and faucets just goes down the drain. Most of the time–even with soap in it–that water is still usable! Water used for washing hands and bodies is called “gray water” and it can easily be collected in your skin or tub and then used for things like washing cars and rinsing off driveways. Depending on the soaps you use, you might even be able to use it for watering your lawn and plants!
While you’re at it, why not set up a rain barrel behind your house? Rainwater harvesting is easy–you simply run your gutter drain down into a filtered collection device. The water you save can be kept for long periods of time and is great for landscaping, washing the outside of your windows, etc. In addition to reducing your dependency on the municipal water supply, collecting rainwater helps prevent soil erosion and flooding on your property.
Cork flooring is the best and most eco-friendly flooring you can install. It is also the only sustainable hardwood flooring you can buy. This is because the cork used in cork flooring (and wine corks, etc) is made from the bark of the cork tree, not the tree itself. By regularly shearing off the cork bark, the tree is kept healthy–no deforestation required!
It’s also great because, due to its absorbent nature, cork flooring can help regulate the temperature of the rooms in which it is installed. It has also been proven to be helpful for people who suffer from physical problems with their feet and legs.
These are just some of the eco-friendly upgrades you can make for your home. Take a look around what else can you do? Get creative! You’ll be surprised at just how many ways there are to make your home greener (and better)!