Going green isn’t always easy, and sometimes it can even be more expensive. Fortunately, this isn’t always the case. While living a more environmentally friendly life may cost you more money at first, more often than not, you’ll actually save more money in the long run. You just have to be willing to put in the time and effort (and money) when making the initial switch to reap the benefits later.
Your Everyday Life
In your everyday life, you can help the environment (and save money) by using less paper and plastic materials. For example, instead of constantly buying paper plates and napkins and plastic utensils, you can buy real plates, cloth napkins, and silverware one time and just wash them and reuse them. You can also go digital, meaning sending and receiving emails instead of letters. Always think: reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Other lifestyle changes that you can make are:
- Turning lights off when you leave a room.
- Reuse certain items before you recycle them.
- Cut out unnecessary traveling or walk/ride a bike.
- Save water.
- Bring your own lunch in reusable containers.
In your home, lurks some of the biggest “energy vampires” in the world. This term refers to electrical appliances in your home that are using the most energy, therefore, costing you the most money. So what uses the most energy in your home and how can you reduce it?
Did you know that your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system uses about 50% of the energy in your entire home? That’s a lot of energy— and a lot of money— used. Some ways to reduce the number of times you use your HVAC system include:
- Replacing your air filters
- Using ceiling fans: Counterclockwise in the summer (to push cool air down) and clockwise in the winter.
- Keep your curtains or blinds closed in the summer to block out heat and open them in the winter to let in heat (sunlight).
- Switch to a smart thermostat that learns your daily habits to adjust the temperature for you.
As for the other appliances (TVs, radios, computers, and cell phones included), switch to smart plugs or smart outlets. Most electrical equipment uses energy while plugged in, even when you’re not using it. Smart plugs and outlets reduce the amount of energy being used by your appliances and devices when you’re not using them.
By now, most people know that electric vehicles are much more friendly to the environment than traditional gas-powered cars. Tesla is probably the most well-known car company that sells electric cars, but many other brands sell (or are going to start selling) electric cars. These brands include BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Ford, GMC, Honda, Hyundai/Ioniq, Kia, Lexus, Mazda, Mini, Nissan, Volkswagen/Audi, and Volvo. Other higher-end luxury brands (Jaguar, Lamborghini, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche) are going to start manufacturing and selling electric cars too.
Even if you stick with the lower-end luxury cars, electric vehicles as a whole tend to cost more than gas cars— upfront. When you think about all the times you spent money to put gas in your car or get an oil change, you’ll realize that with an electric car, these expenses are now nonexistent. A car not having a mechanical engine really cuts down on the amount of maintenance required for it. Unfortunately, car insurance maybe a little more, but you should get an insurance quote to be absolutely sure.
Going green doesn’t have to take place overnight; in fact, it can take some time and a lot of adjusting. You don’t have to make all of these changes right away, but you can try making small changes every day. It’s usually easiest to start with reducing the number of things and resources you use, reusing what you can, and recycling paper, plastic, aluminum, etc.