Every time a new green vehicle gets released, celebrities are the first in line to buy it, and it’s no surprise why. Many, if not most, environmental products are costly. A luxury electric car costs over $90 thousand, and even Chevy’s mass-produced Volt will set owners back about 40 grand. The major innovations in eco friendly living are too expensive for most Americans, but you can still make your home green without entering bankruptcy. It involves a lot of little choices, and to get you started, we’ve compiled a few that go a bit beyond fluorescent light bulbs and starting a recycling bin.
- Reduce your energy consumption. With utilities getting more expensive every year, even homeowners who don’t care about eco friendly living strive to do this. Erecting your own wind turbine or covering your roof in solar panels will cost tens of thousands of dollars, and renewable sources from a utility company may be unavailable. You can still go green with the coal or nuclear energy you do consume, just by consolidating its use. If you live in a large home, consider moving your family downstairs during the harsh seasons that require climate control. By only heating and cooling the used portion of your home, no energy gets wasted. If your kids have already left home and the housing market permits, outright downsizing might be the most ecological and economical option you have.
- Eat at home. College kids learn this budgeting trick with ramen and peanut butter sandwiches, but it’s applicable to eco friendly living too. Sustainable and local food sources have become much more prominent in recent years. They’re available at many grocery stores and coops. The majority of restaurants that serve them, though, cost significantly more than standard fare. Buying and cooking at home is the best and cheapest way to ensure you’re eating sustainable products.
- Buy in bulk. “Fun size” packaging may rank among the worst contributions to our growing trash problem. Even recycled boxes required energy to create, so anything you can do to reduce your consumption of packaging will better the earth. Bulk products not only save trees; they require you to make less online orders or trips to the store. That makes bulk an integral part of eco friendly living, and since it almost always costs less that “normal” sized products, it’s an economical choice too!
- Exercise practically. Public gyms cost a lot: in monthly dues and environmental impact. They usually require an additional car trip, and they have to burn a lot of energy just to keep members cooled off. If you’re especially set on exercising with weights you don’t have at home, a gym might be inescapable, but there are greener and more practical ways to burn calories. In lieu of an hour at a gym, leave for work half an hour early and travel by bike; it’s also an hour of exercise but saves you fuel costs. Buying a yoga mat and DVD for home use isn’t quite as practical, but it’s cheaper than studio costs and inherently more in line with eco friendly living.