It's easy to get overwhelmed by green recommendations and sometimes we cannot fathom adding one extra thing to our routines, but these easy-to-remember Earth-friendly ideas are simple enough to incorporate into every day living. Small daily actions can really have a positive impact on the environment if we all make an effort.
- Don't run water while brushing your teeth.
- Install low-flow shower heads.
- Water your garden using rain barrels.
- Run the dishwasher and washing machine only when you have a full load.
- Wash clothes in cold water (30 degrees) with a natural laundry detergent. You'll save up to 40 per cent of the energy used per load and saves money.
- Dry your clothes on a clothesline or a wall or ceiling mounted drying rack and cut out the tumble drier - the greediest of appliances, gobbling up loads of electricity a year. Using the principle of warm air rising, ceiling racks will dry clothes within a day. Canadian company Greenway Home Products has come out with a "laundry lift", which operates on a pulley system. Ikea also has several wall mounted drying racks, including space savers and free standing larger models.
- If you must use a tumble dryer, throw in a couple of reusable dryer balls to speed up the process by 25 per cent, therefore using less energy.
- Use a concentrated dish washing liquid. You'll use fewer bottles, saving you money, and by opting for concentrate you can help save up to 10 million bottles.
- A bath can use around 18 gallons of water, while a short shower only requires of a third of that amount. However, many power showers can use more water than a bath if you shower for more than five minutes, so set your timer!
- Use foam pump hand soaps - they use no water and you can refill the container. They are available at Canadian Tire, Shoppers Drug Mart and major grocery stores.
- Turn your hot water heater down to 50C degrees.
- Turn off lights you are not using.
- Reduce the temperature on your thermostat. Turning it down by just one degree could cut your heating bills by up to 10 per cent and save you a considerable amount of money each year.
- Energy efficient light bulbs are one of the easiest ways of reducing your electricity bills. Typically, they use up to 80 per cent less electricity than a standard bulb while giving off the same light. Yes, they do cost a bit more than standard bulbs, but they last ten times longer.
- A half full freezer uses more energy than a well-stocked one, so try to keep it packed with food or use scrunched up paper to plug any gaps. Regular defrosting will also help to avoid wasting energy.
- Boiling our kettles costs the country millions per year and produces an estimated 2.3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. We also spend an estimated 200 million hours a year waiting for the kettle to boil, so save yourself time, money and energy by only boiling exactly what you need - enough for that mug of tea, rather than a whole kettle full.
- Have an energy audit performed on your house. Nearly 50 per cent of the heat lost from an average house is through the attic space and the walls, so adding insulation material could save more than a third of your heating costs.
- On a windy, blustery day, check the house for gaps where the wind is whistling in - such as around door frames and beneath skirting boards - and block them up. Use draught excluders and rubber brushes for a letterbox, and caulk around the external dryer vent
- Not all eco solutions have to be high-tech. Thermal lined curtains block out nighttime chills. You can purchase the material from departments stores or buy online.