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How to switch to more eco-friendly lifestyle

Every household can make a difference and do something positive for the environment. Small changes in your habits and in your home can reduce your carbon footprint significantly.

If you want to know how to do it, here are a couple of suggestions.

During the winter months, we tend to heat our home longer than we need to, consuming excess energy.

A smart meter can be programmed to activate only at certain times of the day, for example, an hour before you come home from work or before you wake up in the morning. This way, not only do you reduce your carbon footprint but you also reduce your energy bill.

LED or CFL bulbs are much more economical than the traditional incandescent bulbs. They are a bit more expensive but they last longer and they consume less energy, so you'll actually save money and help the environment.

Depending on whether you live in a house or a flat, you can make your compost indoors or outdoors.

Get a designated bin if you will make compost inside while you can simply start it on dirt ground if you will do it outside. All the leftover peels, eggshells, coffee grounds, loose leaf tea, and even paper napkins can be added to the compost, as well as cooked pasta and rice. Composting will help enrich your soil and will reduce methane emissions that would otherwise be created on a landfill.

If your doors and windows are poorly sealed, they will let in the air through the cracks. That would mean you will have to consume more energy for heating during the winter and for cooling your home during the summer months. Keeping a constant temperature becomes an issue with poor quality or old doors and windows.

If you install high quality doors and windows, you could save between $120 and $450 per year thanks to just one single-pane window, and much more when all of them give their contribution.

More than 30% of your electric bill comes from your electrical appliances. By switching to more energy-efficient appliances, you will save money along with reducing your carbon footprint. Buying energy-efficient appliances, especially washing machines and refrigerators, can make a hugely positive impact—search for Energy Star Rating for your new appliances to makes sure they will really consume less energy.

Showers spend more than 30% of the overall water use in your household. If you swap your existing showerhead with a low-flow one, you could conserve around 2,900 gallons of water every year. Traditional showerheads use five to eight gallons of water every minute. Contrary to them, low-flow gallons use less than two gallons per minute.

Switching to a low-flow showerhead will not only help the environment and reduce your water bill but it will also lower your annual heating cost.

When building a home more or less from a scratch, it is a smart and eco-friendly move to re-think your building materials. Try to get ahold of materials made from recycled products or repurposing used materials, for example:

  • paper-based countertops, usually made from tree pulp (these trees are grown in managed forests)
  • composite decking made from wood waste and recycled paper
  • rubber roofing made from recycled material and products
  • carpets made from recycled plastic bottles.

Every time you want to go to the store and buy a new item, stop and think whether you really need it or if maybe you can find a substitution inside your home.

For example, you can use steel biscuit tins to bake cakes, and coffee jars are great for keeping powders and spices. The same idea goes with the furniture—for instance, old wooden doors can be turned into a cool coffee table. After all, second-hand furniture is usually in a very good state and you can breathe a new life into it with small changes and fixes if necessary.

Your home can be eco-friendly in so many ways. The suggestions above are only some of the ideas out there. To continue further with your eco-living, surf the web for more ideas.