April is synonymous with “Going Green,” and with Earth Day around the corner, it’s important to find eco-friendly ways to reduce your carbon footprint. I must admit, as a city dweller living in sunny Hollywood, CA, I just hopped onto the eco-friendly bandwagon. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been using the blue recycling bins, but that’s about it. I’ve read about numerous ways of living green and saving money at home, but felt the task was too intimidating to take on. Well, I gave it a try and made small changes to my one bedroom apartment and found that “Going Green” wasn’t difficult at all.
My first eco-friendly attempt was switching my light bulbs to more energy saving, cost-effective fluorescent bulbs. Unfortunately, the bulbs I bought gave off a cold, laboratory feeling in my apartment. Before I could regret my purchase, I dusted off a lamp shade I bought at a garage sale a few months back and used it to transform the mood in my living room. The room is now warm and inviting rather than bright and blinding. Remember, bulbs come in a variety of temperature colors, vary in price and can change the ambiance in any room. Lesson learned, don’t make the same mistake and do your research before purchasing your fluorescent bulbs. I was actually proud of myself for making a small change to better the environment. Next, I tackled water conservation.
While driving to work, I’d hear radio commercials about the importance of conserving water. I scoffed at the announcer who suggested I take 5-minute showers. I thought selfishly, “There’s absolutely no way I would feel clean after a quick 5-minute shower!” Well, after reading an eye opening statistic, I started to feel a bit self-conscious.
The average sink faucet flows at a rate of two gallons a minute, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Was I really taking advantage of Mother Earth? After feeling guilty, I decided to try limiting my water use. After all, conserving water helps the environment and could cut my utility costs.
So, while I brushed my teeth, I decided to simply turn off the tap water and found that this simple task helped conserve as much as 8 gallons of water. By simply trimming the length of my showers to 10 minutes, I was able to save over 50 gallons of water. Mind you, I used to shower for 15 – 20 minutes, so this was a slight lifestyle change. While this sounds easy, it actually took a bit of getting used to. Continuing my eco-friendly journey, I also plan to purchase a low-flow shower head to regulate the amount of water used when I shower. I’ve seen some low-flow shower heads for less than $10!
I also plan on only washing full loads of laundry and if I had a dishwasher, I’d only use it when I had a full load of dirty dishes. For now, I’ll try to cut my manual dish washing time to a minimum.
You’ll be shocked to find out how much water you use at home on a daily basis.
What does your carbon footprint look like and how do you go green?