With constant reports of record-breaking heat waves, increased hurricane activity, and deadly winter storms caused by climate change, it can seem hopeless to change course as an individual. Dire warnings about climate change can certainly be discouraging, but making an impact all by yourself isn’t impossible. Even if saving the world isn’t your thing, being environmentally conscious also tends to save you quite a bit of cash. So, how can you help the planet by saving energy at home?
Believe it or not, there is a strong connection between minimalism and sustainability, and it can have a huge impact on your environmental footprint. More than just a fashionable design choice, minimalism at its core is about using less in all aspects of your life. While not buying things you don’t truly need obviously improves your environmental impact since you’re directly using less in your day-to-day life, there are other unique ways that a minimalist lifestyle is environmentally friendly.
Organizing your life to live minimally in order to reduce your carbon footprint can be a daunting task, so it is a good idea to start off slow. If you’re subscribed to multiple mailers that you rarely read, canceling the subscriptions to them gives you less paper waste to contend with and reduces the amount of fossil fuels used in their transportation and manufacturing. Additionally, when you choose the quality of items over quantity, you significantly increase the length of use of those items, reducing the frequency with that they need replacing.
It may seem strange, but one of the best things you can do for the environment is to simply consume less. While modern culture tends to push you towards materialism through advertisements and depictions of happy individuals in media owning many things that might be beyond their means, you truly don’t need the majority of what you have. By cutting out waste and extra unneeded items from your life, you are reducing fossil fuel consumption, and that energy-saving measure, no matter how small it seems, is helping the environment.
Changing Your Habits
Attempting to correct bad habits can also make your energy-saving efforts that much more effective. Even if you have solar panels installed on your roof, leaving the lights on when you leave a room can undercut your good intentions. Start by unplugging unused electronics and appliances when they are not in use, as they continue to draw power in standby mode. If you can stand it, make an effort to reduce the temperature of your hot water during showers, brushing your teeth, or washing your clothes.
These are small changes, but when combined can amount to a reduced environmental impact and help save you money in the long run. You’ll see the effect on your wallet the most through improving your heating and cooling habits during the cold winters and hot summers. Using the heat only when you need it saves money on your heating bill and ultimately helps the environment as well because of the reduced energy usage. The summers are no different, and you should only turn your air conditioning to the minimum comfortable range you can handle.
One of the easiest choices you can make to help the environment in your home is making the switch to energy-efficient lighting. Compact fluorescent lamps and LED bulbs can be found just about anywhere and can be up to 30 percent more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs. Not only do these efficient lights use less energy, they last much longer – some even lasting for years without needing to be replaced.
Work From Home (If You Can)
While office buildings and other commercial buildings can reduce their environmental impact using many of the same methods you can use at home, they still consume power at alarming rates. In the United Kingdom, non-domestic and commercial buildings produce an astonishing 18 percent of their carbon emissions. Again, it can seem like there isn’t a lot you can do to change the impact a business has on the environment, but there is one simple thing you can do to further your environmental friendliness at work.
If your company offers the option to work from home, capitalizing on it does wonder for the environment. Remote work is an increasingly popular workplace trend, and it can benefit you as an employee in several ways. Working from home can help you to better find a good work-life balance, with the added benefit of consuming less fossil fuels that would be required in your commute to and from work. If your company does not allow for remote work, try joining a carpool or, if it is readily available, public transportation.
Again, every little action you do can compound on each other until you are making a far bigger impact than you realize. It is important to shed the idea that as an individual you cannot make significant changes to how we collectively affect the environment. Global warming is very real, and the world is in dire straits, so even the smallest changes can help if enough people challenge themselves to make a difference.