Corporate Social Responsibility writer for Justmeans, Antonio Pasolini is a journalist based in Brazil who writes about alternative energy, green living and sustainability. He also edits Energyrefuge.com, a top web destination for news and comment on renewable energy and Elpis.org, a recycled paper bag/magazine distributed from health food stores in London, formerly his hometown for over a decade....
Tips for a Sustainable Home
Sustainability starts at home. A lot of people think that having a green home means spending thousands of dollars on solar panels, or having a small wind turbine installed on the top of the house. Well, yes, solar power and wind power are definitely great sustainable forms of energy, but if you don't own the home you live in or perhaps cannot afford it, you can still take action to live in a greener home.
The U.S. government is keen to see Americans saving energy, one of the best ways to keep a green home. It recommends that consumers use appliances that carry the Energy Star certification, which can be found on refrigerators, microwaves, air conditioners, heaters, dishwashers and other household electric goods. Those appliances account for more than half of the $2,200 an average American household spends in energy every year. By using Energy Star-certified products, the consumer will reduce their electricity bill by 30 per cent as well as reduce their carbon footprint.
Another important tip is to switch to CFL lights since they are much more energy efficient than traditional incandescent lights. The government estimates that the average household could save $65 per year in electricity bills by doing that. Besides, CFLs last much longer. In fact, the same principle applies to other objects that run on electricity. Any old appliance that guzzles power should be replaced with a newer, more energy efficient appliance. Although replacing the old with the new may seem counter-intuitive from an ecological point of view, when it comes to power consumption the balance tips favorably to the energy efficient, newer option, especially if the old option is on the verge of dying out anyway.
You can also go green with your cleaning products. Choose products that are biodegradable (this should be marked on the label) and with low toxicity levels. Besides helping the environment, they reduce risk of accidental poisonings. It's also a good idea to avoid products that are highly flammable or which contain solvent. Choose bio-based products whenever possible. Third-party certifications such as Green Seal or Scientific Certification Systems are reliable references. Other options include run-of-the-mill, everyday products such as white vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice and borax to do clean, although they do not agree with each and every type of surface.
Finally, keep repeating the recycle mantra, which according to the Environmental Protection Agency is one of the best ways to help the environment. Alongside recycling and reusing products, proper disposal of toxic elements such as oils, pesticides and batteries is also very important since they can harm the environment and animals, both human and non-human.
Image credit: Energy Star