As more people are becoming aware of their carbon footprint and wanting to make changes, the home seems like the perfect place to start. However, making your home environmentally friendly can seem like a huge undertaking.
Where should you begin? How can you make sure you’re remaining sustainable? Do you have to change everything about your living space?
Take a deep breath.
One of the best things you can do as an eco-conscious homeowner is to perform semi-annual home audits.
Regular audits of your living space will allow you to see where you need to make changes without causing you to feel overwhelmed. You’ll learn about which things need to be adjusted as well as things that are working for you.
If you want to lead a more sustainable lifestyle, optimizing your home for things like energy efficiency and waste reduction is a great place to start, and you can change things little by little as you become more aware of them through regular audits.
With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at how to perform an eco-friendly home audit, and how doing so can positively impact your home environment.
Evaluating Your Energy Use
The first (and easiest) thing you should do when performing a home audit is to take a look at your average energy use. Where are you using the most energy? How is it being wasted? Most importantly, what can you do to remedy that waste?
The biggest users of electricity in the home are usually
Television and other digital devices
You can start your audit by determining which of your home appliances might be wasting energy, rather than performing efficiently. It might be time to replace your old refrigerator or washing machine with a newer, energy-efficient model.
Your evaluation of your energy use can also make you aware of some less-than-sustainable habits you and your family might have developed over the years. Some of the most common energy-wasting habits include things like leaving lights on after leaving a room, leaving electronics plugged in, and setting the thermostat too high. By making a few simple changes to your habits, you can reduce your energy use (and waste) and create healthier habits for yourself and your kids.
Eventually, you can make greater investments in your home’s energy efficiency by installing solar panels or switching out your lighting. The benefit of regular energy audits is that you’ll easily see where there’s room for improvement every time.
Cutting Back on Cleaning Supplies
Keeping a clean home is important. After you perform an eco-friendly home audit, you might be inspired to make upgrades around your house, or redecorate in a more sustainable way. You might even try using recycled materials or decluttering and leading a more minimalist lifestyle to reduce waste.
Even everyday cleaning can improve the air quality in your home and offer the feel of a healthier, more inviting environment.
However, if you’re truly trying to live more sustainably, check your cleaning products every time you do an audit. Many of today’s most popular products contain chemicals that can be harmful to the environment. Avoid products like:
Bleach and ammonia
Corrosive drain cleaners
Products with artificial fragrances
The good news? There are several companies that have taken the initiative to create greener cleaning products, and they’re becoming more widely available. The best thing you can do is to learn to read labels and identify components that could be harmful to the environment (and your own health).
If you don’t want to deal with label reading or wondering which products are safe, consider making your own cleaning products. Utilizing natural ingredients like vinegar and essential oils, you can get a lot of your household cleaning done without having to worry about harming the planet in the process.
Watching Your Waste Production
Waste is a huge problem across the globe. The average American produces over four pounds of waste each day. The waste problem has led to improper management techniques, which can cause everything from soil and water contamination to extreme weather conditions caused by climate change.
You can do your part to reduce waste at home by first determining how much you throw away each day. When you actively look at the waste you’re producing on a daily basis, it might shock you. An audit can help you do that.
Thankfully, it’s easy to reduce your waste production with a few habitual changes. Things, like avoiding single-use plastics, buying foods with little to no packaging, reducing your food waste, and recycling and composting are all great ways to limit your waste and make a difference.
You can even get your family excited about reducing waste by “gamifying” it. See who can make the best choices when it comes to waste reduction each week. A little healthy competition goes a long way!
Performing regular eco-friendly home audits is a great way to ensure your environment is lined up with your environmental values. It will make the process of living sustainably less overwhelming, and make it easier to regularly make positive changes and upgrades.