Eco friendly house plans are more than just paper and ideas. They are real life realizations of energy efficiency. You may be thinking, my house is what it is. I can’t afford to add solar panels and change out the windows. Making your house eco friendly can include those high ticket items but there are many low cost items that you can implement rather easily. Eco friendly houses are those that have a plan to conserve energy by eliminating energy wasters. Can you turn off the lights when you leave a room? That is an easy example of conserving energy. It all starts with an eco house design, a plan of action! Here are some easy to implement tips:
Unplug appliances – do you leave your toaster and blender plugged in all the time? How about your microwave?
If you are thinking I can’t unplug the microwave because it has a clock on it, look around your kitchen. How many clocks can you see from your kitchen? I have one on my stove, a battery powered one on the wall and I can see the cable box clock from my kitchen. I don’t need the microwave clock and the plug is easily reached so I keep it unplugged except at dinner when I need it.
Use energy saving settings on major appliances like the dish washer, refrigerator, washer and dryer. More than likely you have at least one energy star rated appliance in your home but are you using all of the energy saving features on it?
Dust off the manual and see where you can save energy with the various heating, cooling and drying settings they offer.
Change the filters in furnaces, air conditioners, and heat pumps. When the air flow is kept clear, the system can work better.
For those of you that are more ambitious, vacuum the lint out from the back of your dryer. I did this and found my loads dried in half the time! Use sunshine and fresh air to dry some of your heavier items like towels, comforters and scatter rugs.
Use fans instead of the air conditioner when you can. This could save up to 30% of your summer energy costs.
Save old bath and dish towels. Use them to clean up spills and for regular cleaning instead of paper towels.
Mow and water your lawn less often. When you mow, raise the blade a bit so you don’t cut the grass as short. This will keep your lawn healthier longer.
Use plastic dishware that can be reused instead of paper plates throughout the summer for picnics and BBQ’s.
I bought a picnic set for five dollars at a Christmas Tree Shop and only use them for pizza night and picnics. I just throw everything in the dishwasher and reuse them.
Keep your fridge and freezer stocked. It is more energy efficient to cool a full space than an empty one. If you don’t have a need to keep that much food on hand, fill you fridge with containers of water.
When you do come to a point that you need to replace something major such as an appliance, a floor covering, or a window, look for energy efficient solutions for just that project. This will allow you to be more eco friendly a little bit at a time.
These are all manageable and easy tips. If you put your mind to it, you can come up with dozens more. Have fun with it and make it a game!
Julie Ann is the owner of http://www.eco-friendly-digest.com where she offers tips for women who want to live an eco friendly lifestyle in the “real” world. She offers short articles with tips, references and shopping cheat sheets to help you find realistic ways of incorporating environmentally friendly options into your lifestyle.