Many of us aspire to “go green” as a way to protect the environment and feel better about our lifestyles, but what are the best ways to do this? Given the choice between a conventional product and a “green” one, we might choose the green alternative by default, all other variables being equal. But if you’re interested in upgrading your entire lifestyle to be more environmentally friendly, what are the best upgrades to try?
The Benefits of Green Living
First, let’s cover some of the most important benefits of green living:
- Environmental impact reduction. The most obvious benefit is that green living will be protecting the environment. You’ll be responsible for fewer greenhouse gas emissions, less pollution, and less interference with local ecosystems.
- Energy reduction (and cost savings). Most of the time, “green” options are incredibly energy efficient, helping you consume less energy on a regular basis. In addition to protecting the environment, this has the potential to save you money, lowering your utility bills and reducing fuel costs.
- Independence and sustainability. In some cases, making a green upgrade can also increase your independence and self-sustainability. You’ll be less reliant on energy and other companies, and more reliant on yourself.
Important Green Upgrades to Live Cleaner
These are some of the best upgrades for living a cleaner, more efficient life:
- Invest in a better vehicle. First, consider investing in a better vehicle for your personal travel. Investing in an electric car, rather than one with a combustion engine, can reduce the pollutants you introduce to the environment and help you save on fuel costs. You may also want to invest in a bicycle if you like the idea of abandoning the car altogether. If you want to get some exercise in when commuting or running errands, this is an even better idea.
- Invest in an electric boat. Did you know that electric boats are also available? In fact, you can upgrade your current boat with an electric motor and impact the environment much less. With an electric motor on your boat, you’ll also enjoy cooler running (so there’s less heat in the cabin), less maintenance, and a service life of more than 50,000 hours.
- Install new windows. Most of the heat or cold air loss in your home occurs through the windows – and if your windows are more than a couple of decades old, they’re probably leaking air like crazy. Installing new windows with energy efficient double panels can dramatically improve your heating and cooling efficiency, reducing the amount of energy you need to achieve the same temperatures.
- Improve your insulation. Similarly, improving the insulation in your home can improve its resilience to temperature fluctuations. In older homes, you can often use blown insulation to conveniently and rapidly deploy better insulation throughout the building. As a nice added bonus, your home will also be more resistant to sounds – meaning noisy traffic won’t be nearly as noisy when you’re done.
- Upgrade the home appliances. Next, you can take a look at your home appliances. If your refrigerator, stove, washer, dryer, and dishwasher are all less than 10 years old, they’re operating close to peak efficiency. But if they’re older than that, they may be due for an upgrade. Today’s best appliances use energy highly efficiently and are much more reliable in terms of service.
- Buy permanent items instead of disposable. Wherever you’re using disposable, one-use items, consider making an upgrade. Instead of getting plastic bags at the grocery store every time you visit, invest in a canvas tote bag you can bring every time. Instead of disposable sandwich bags to store food, consider buying some reusable containers. Even small amounts of disposable products can add up to a lot of waste over time.
- Adopt a flexitarian diet. However you feel about the ethics of meat consumption, there’s no questioning that meat production has a negative impact on the environment. Adopting a flexitarian diet – one similar to vegetarianism, but without total restriction – can help you follow more environmentally friendly eating habits.
- Avoid chemical bug sprays and pesticides. Finally, consider avoiding chemical bug sprays and pesticides. Instead, you can invest in all-natural deterrents; for example, did you know that most ants and insects hate the smell of mint? Some peppermint oil can work just as well as some chemical deterrents.
Upgrading your lifestyle with these investments can reduce your expenses, minimize your impact on the environment, and help you feel better on a personal level. Some of them are more expensive than others, making them prohibitive in some cases, but if you can afford to pay for them, they may pay for themselves in the long run.