The green revolution is at its height, having crested the rise of social and political movements into a daily expectation that everyone should do his or her part. Energy consumption is still at an all-time high, but with teamwork and dedication, that number can fall. So how do you go about greening your lifestyle? Reducing a carbon footprint takes time and work, but luckily your home can do a lot of that work for you. The first step to an greener lifestyle is a more energy-efficient home. This means changes in everything from your appliances to your personal habits. So, if you're seeking eight great places to start, look no further than these suggestions.
1. Get an energy-conserving dishwasher. One of the biggest water-wasters - especially for hot water, which takes extra energy to heat - is washing dishes in the sink. As with almost all modern appliances, dishwashers now come in a variety of models approved by the government's Energy Star program. A little research can also tell you how much more efficient the machine is than the government standard.
2. Seek out a green washing machine. Like dishwashers, washing machines can provide great energy-saving opportunities. Most high-end and luxury models come with special cold-wash options that forgo the extra electricity needed to heat a warm wash - all while keeping your clothes just as clean.
3. Use an all-natural dryer. The wind or the sun - or both! Electric dryers should be used sparingly - instead, take advantage of a clothesline or an indoor drying rack. Why not use something natural and readily available?
4. Get an air conditioner with a high SEER rating. All air conditioning units are gauged by the government for their "Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio," so you'll want one that has a rating well over the national minimum of 13. Speak with your local appliance store salesperson for more information.
5. Install eco-friendly and efficient heating. One of the most exciting aspects of the green movement is the new flooring systems that change the way we heat our homes. Radiant floor heating heats a room from the ground up as opposed to flushing hot air through a duct or vent. The radiant heat movement is making great strides toward energy-efficient homes.
6. Unplug unused machines. Going away for the weekend? Maybe you just don't use your microwave that often. Unplugging unused electrical appliances may not seem like a necessity, but it can help conserve a lot of energy over time.
7. Get in the habit of turning off lights when you leave a room. This is a much more difficult habit to get into than it may seem. Unless you condition yourself to automatically turn off lights in rooms as you leave, they'll likely still be on long after you've left - and out of sight is out of mind. Like unplugging electrical appliances, a light left on for several hours while no one's home may not seem like a great waste, but over time those hours add up on your electric bill.
8. Get your family in the habit as well. You won't be alone in this new eco-friendly and energy-efficient lifestyle. While you might have to be a little bossy at times (especially with kids), make sure everyone understands that it's a house responsibility. Saving a lot on your energy bill is a great bonus, but the most important thing is to give the planet a helping hand. The best way to achieve this is through education.