Creating your eco-friendly lifestyle incorporates every aspect of your day – from the car you drive, to the food you eat, and everything in between. With hemp and bamboo clothing, clean and organic foods, and increased availability of solar energy, it is possible to create an incredibly clean and ‘green’ lifestyle for you and your family. Here are some of the best ways to create a home that gives a little back to the environment, rather than taking Mother Nature for all she’s worth.
Heating and cooling costs are among the highest energy wasters of any home. From poor insulation, to lack of management, it is easy to see how heaters and A/C units can waste a lot of energy. By enlisting the help of more eco-friendly methods, such as ceiling fans, you can control your heating and cooling costs much more easily. Rather than blasting the air conditioning, put ceiling fans in all rooms. The energy it takes to run a ceiling fan is a fraction of the cost of an A/C unit, and it can keep a room incredibly cool. You can also use your reverse setting on the fan during the cooler months to push warm air down for residents to feel. This is especially useful if you are able to utilize a fireplace or wood-burning stove, and it completely eliminates the need for central heating.
When organizations and individuals get together to make a change, things do actually start to happen. That’s essentially what’s gone down with the solar power industry over the past few years. With consumers begging for lower energy costs, infamous blackouts on both coasts, and threats from neighboring states (ahem, Arizona) to put a cap on exported energy use, it’s no wonder that people across the country decided to take matters into their own hands. Technological advancements have been a huge help, making solar panels more affordable than ever before, while government initiatives have offered tax deductions for a variety of energy saving and solar panel projects. If you’re looking to change your energy bill and your impact on the environment, consider investing in solar panels for your home!
Flooring generally accounts for more surface area than any other aspect of your home, aside from the walls. Large quantities of materials are used to create flooring, which is why it is important to choose an environmentally friendly option, such as bamboo flooring, in order to lower your impact on the environment. Bamboo, wood, and cork all originate from plants, making them renewable options; however, it takes an oak tree 25 years to reach maturity, while it only takes a bamboo plant 3-7 years. Additionally, it is important to consider the amount of manufacturing required; wood and bamboo require much less manufacturing than cork, linoleum, carpets, etc. In some cases, incredibly harsh chemicals must be used to manufacture these materials. The methods of harvesting are crucial to the eco-friendliness of the finished products. Since bamboo is rapidly renewable, and can be re-harvested quickly, not a lot of time or energy is lost in the process. It is not only trendy, but also considered the greenest flooring option available today.
In the Kitchen: Clean Eating
There are several ways to go about eating clean – from choosing free range, organic eggs to purchasing organic produce at a farmer’s market – these steps help to eliminate the chemicals, pesticides, transportation costs, and hormones associated with our food industry. If you want a clean bill of health for your family, familiarize yourself with the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen to see which produce items are most heavily treated with chemicals. Consider going vegan or vegetarian one night a week to help the environment; studies have shown that the meat industry does more harm to our environment than the entire automotive industry. Chicken and cows are treated with harmful hormones, chemicals, and antibiotics, which are then present in our food and our water supply. Make sure you wash all of your produce, whether it says, “pre-washed” on the package or not. Also, consider that non-organic milk is loaded with hormones that are potentially linked with early menstruation in young girls. Make your vote at the grocery store for cleaner food and better environmental practices with each product you purchase!
The most common material for clothing today is conventional cotton, which also happens to be one of the most heavily treated cash crops today. Consider alternative materials such as hemp and bamboo. Bamboo is highly resistant to pests and insects, and can be grown and harvested without the use of harsh chemicals. When woven into fabric, it is comparable to soft silk, and has more breathability, moisture-wicking, and anti-chafing qualities than even the best cotton. There are even studies that state 100% bamboo clothing and sheets retain the anti-microbial characteristics of the plant, keeping you clean and healthy.