Living Greener: Small Changes for a Big Impact

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A recent report cited by USA Today found that humans just lived through the warmest decade on record. With our planet at stake, it’s important to take a closer look at what we are doing every day and how we can change the current trajectory. In fact, there are many small ways technology can help you live a greener lifestyle.

Start with the simple stuff

You don’t have to make a big investment, or even a big change, to make a difference in energy consumption. In fact, there are simple things that you can do to reduce your carbon footprint that you’ll barely notice—except when your utility bill comes and it’s lower than ever.

One of the easiest ways to reduce your energy consumption is to make the change to LED light bulbs. LED light bulbs use less energy than other types and can last anywhere from 18 to 46 years! Making the switch won’t even cost you a lot, and you can buy bulbs in every shape and size you need.

Changing out your light bulbs is a big step, but if you leave them on when they’re not in use, you’re still wasting energy. Consider hooking up your lights and devices to a smart device like the Google Home Mini. Digital Trends explains devices like the Google Home Mini are compatible with many smart home equipment, and they help you track and cut usage via simple voice commands.

Take a close look at your utilities

Spending a lot on your energy bill? It’s probably more than just your light bulbs. You may be spending too much on heat. SaveOnEnergy reports that you can save approximately $180 a year by using a programmable thermostat. A smart thermostat like the Nest Learning Thermostat allows you to program the temperature for different times of the year and even “learns” your household’s temperature patterns. While the Honeywell Home T5+ isn’t able to create a custom schedule, it is a reasonably priced option that features geofencing and has Alexa built into it.

Don’t forget to look at how much water you’re using. Did you know that Americans use more water per person than any other country? Thankfully, options like the Kohler smart faucet use voice commands to make sure you only use the amount of water you need.

And as Family Handyman points out, a tankless water heater is also a great way to make a big difference in water consumption. The average tankless water heater uses 30 to 50 percent less energy than a typical water heater. Plus, you have the extra benefit of long-lasting hot water. No more fighting over long showers!

Major switches for major changes

Ready to make a big change? If money is no object and you are looking to live a completely green lifestyle, there are so many great options out there. Want to go completely off the grid? Have solar panels installed on your house. They may cost more at first, but they will save both energy and money in the long run. If you can’t afford a big purchase, many companies will allow you to pay for the panels over time.

Another great option is to switch out your appliances. If you are using old appliances, you’re probably using more energy than you should. Smart appliances like refrigerators, ovens, and washing machines can help you save electricity, gas, and water. And, you might qualify for a federal rebate.

You can even start your own green business! Certain locations are particularly friendly to green businesses, like Phoenix, San Diego and Salt Lake City. If moving isn’t an option, look at those cities for inspiration and take action towards improving your local community. Better walking and biking paths and more renewable energy are linked with growth in those areas. With just a few reasonable changes, everybody wins!

There are many steps you can take toward living a greener lifestyle, and small changes can make a big change in your life and the environment. Ready to do your part? Start by implementing small changes and incorporate big items when you are ready and able.

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