Posted on 30 Oct
There are many ways for each of us to reduce our impact on the environment—and the majority are remarkably easy. Here, we highlight seven ways to go green. Your planet (and wallet) will thank you.
INSTALL SOLAR PANELS - It’s not just good housekeeping, it’s the law. Starting in 2020, solar panels will be a required feature on new houses in California. The new standard includes an exemption for houses that are often shaded from the sun and also includes incentives for people to add a high-capacity battery to their home's electrical system, to store the sun's energy. And, fun fact—if your panels produce enough clean electricity, you can sell some back to the grid.
GROW A VEGGIE GARDEN - Not only will an at-home garden be a great place to trim your grocery bill and use your kitchen compost, but it can also provide some delicious veggies, especially in NorCal’s crop-friendly climate. Try planting tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage.
SHOP LOCALLY - The Carbon Offsets to Alleviate Poverty Organization (COTAP) reports that an estimated 13 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States stem from the production and transportation of food. Opt to buy organic and locally-sourced produce, such as those from local fairs and markets, like these five NorCal gems.
USE ENERGY-EFFICIENT LIGHT BULBS - Invest in more efficient CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps), they are better alternatives to older, incandescent bulbs. Not only do energy-efficient bulbs use less electricity, they last longer—which translates to more savings for you.
GET A HOUSEPLANT - Bring in some leafy houseplants to help turn some of that CO2 into oxygen. Pot a ficus or Dracaena, they like the indoors and can provide some organic softness to any room. And don’t forget to water it using used water—like any rainwater you collect, or the cold water that runs in your shower before it heats up.
GET SERIOUS ABOUT SAVING WATER - There are easy ways to reduce your water usage. Don’t run the tap when you brush your teeth or shave. Install a low-flow shower-head—per legislation passed back in 1992, all new showerheads must have a flow rate of 2.5 gallons per minute or lower; not only is this a water-saving method, it also cuts down on water bills and could save your family up to $45 a month. Fix leaky faucets—one drip every second adds up to five gallons of wasted water per day.
BUY VINTAGE AND USED - Consider avoiding all new clothes in favor of pre-used items. For clothing, the production process aligned with the creation and delivery of new item has an exceedingly detrimental environmental impact, requiring the extraction and use of natural resources like wood, fossil fuels, and water. There are similar issues for tech-related items—so seek out recycled mobile phones and gaming consoles when you can.