If you’re wondering how to be green, at first glance the answer might seem to be: Open your wallet. Organic foods, alternative fuel vehicles and items made from recycled materials all tend to cost more than their conventional counterparts. But the benefits of a green home often show up in less obvious ways than a low price tag. Healthier food leads to less medicine and fewer doctor visits. Increased energy efficiency means lower bills and fewer greenhouse gases. A reusable shopping bag means less trash sent to landfills.
The list goes on and on – including ways to green your home for free – and when you think past your next credit card statement, going green starts to look a lot more like saving green, and it works with any budget.
You can save a lot of money (and find some really interesting stuff) by shopping at thrift stores, garage sales and local online marketplaces like Craigslist and Freecycle. They may not have everything you’re looking for, but buying what you can second-hand will save you some money while greatly reducing your carbon footprint.
Replace Incandescent Light Bulbs with CFLs
One ENERGY STAR®-qualified compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) uses 75% less energy than an incandescent bulb, lasts 10 times longer and can save you more than $40 in electricity costs over its lifetime. CFLs use less power because unlike incandescents, they emit very little heat.
Transportation costs account for around 10% of retail food prices, and middlemen drive costs up even further before food gets to the grocery store. Shopping at local farmers’ markets means getting the freshest, most nutritious produce; stimulating the local economy; and avoiding paying for the time, fuel, and preservatives required to ship food long distances.
If you’re looking for a green home on a budget, buying locally-grown food is often cheaper and healthier than buying organic brand names. And if you can’t find all the produce you want at the farmers’ market, you can always take matters into your own hands. With a little labor and a few dollars’ worth of seeds, you can grow quite a bit in your own organic garden.
Consider the Switch to Solar Power at Home
The price of utility power is unpredictable and often rising. Buying or leasing home solar panels is a great way to secure a low, fixed electricity rate and a much greener home. Today, solar power is easier and more affordable to get than ever. A variety of purchasing and financing options allow systems to be installed for as little as $0 down and still qualify for federal, state, and local incentives. Whether buying or leasing, solar panels reduce the amount you pay for electricity, add value to your home, and provide the peace of mind that comes with a significant commitment to clean energy.
A free, no-obligation home solar quote is just a click away, and you might be surprised by what you find out.