I once visited a friend in rural Pennsylvania who lived on a street with no name. She could have harbored the Unabomber if she wanted to. This place was totally off the grid. Most people who went to her home noticed the gorgeous views and the stunning wild horses that galloped by once in a while. I noticed her toilet. It was not a toilet I had ever seen before. It was as green as a toilet can get. The structure itself looked like a normal toilet. But there was no water to catch your business. Toilet paper was available, but not to be flushed. You threw it away in a discreet bamboo basket in the corner. In fact, nothing could be flushed. There were worms waiting at the bottom of the toilet to digest the waste.
That, people, is going green. Suddenly, my pride in recycling soda cans and taking reusable bags to the grocery store (most of the time) seemed pathetic.
You do not have to be so extreme as my natural and 100 percent organic friend. You can keep your modern indoor plumbing and still make a difference. Here are a few ways to make sure your home is green:
- Update your appliances. Look for an energy star rating. That rating means your washing machine, refrigerator or dishwasher is using energy efficiently, giving the environment a hand and saving you some money on electricity.
- Change your light bulbs. Does anyone use incandescent light bulbs anymore? It’s easy to switch to their fluorescent cousins, and you will get a lot more use out of it. According to the federal government, if every American household changed just one light bulb in their home to a compact fluorescent light, we could prevent 9 billion pounds of greenhouse gas from escaping into our environment in a year.
- Be shady. Go ahead and plant some trees to bring some relief in the summer months. It will mean less air conditioning, which the earth and your budget will appreciate.
- Get low. Use low flow showerheads and faucets. This will cut down on the amount of water you use without sacrificing water pressure.
- Replace your cleaners. Use earth-friendly products that have less chemicals and toxins than the consumer goods you have probably been using. They work just as well, and they are safer for you and your family.
Going green does not have to be complicated. Make small changes to your lifestyle that will soon become habits, and you will soon be on your way to saving money and saving the earth from a little extra carbon output that it does not need. If you are currently looking for a new home, buying green can have many benefits. Put together a checklist for your home inspector before you buy, and make sure that list includes energy efficiency and insulation.