As population growth soars to an all-time high, it's become more important than ever for each and every one of us to think about the way we live.
We're depleting our natural resources at a much quicker rate and putting more and more strain on the environment than ever before. You may not realize it, but everything you do (or don't do), from bathing and shopping to simply turning up the air conditioner on a hot day, consumes energy while also contributing to growing concerns of pollution and our carbon footprint.
A healthier environment starts with each and every one of us being more mindful about our actions and taking conscious steps to live more sustainably at home, at work, on vacation, and on the road.
Be Aware of Your Indoor Air Quality
The average American spends about 90% of their time indoors, so it's important the air you breathe indoors is just as healthy, if not more so, than a breath of fresh outside air. Unfortunately, the average inside air sample contains pollutants as much as 2 to 5 times higher than the air just outside the door.
The fact is, every single product you use inside affects your air quality. Candles, incense, and air fresheners don't just smell good; they also release byproducts used to improve burning and carry that luscious scent. Furniture, carpet, paint, wood stain, beauty supplies, and even cleaning products all contribute their own toxins, altering natural air the moment your windows are closed. What's more, many of these products contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) used to increase the product quality and durability, but slowly release toxins, polluting your inside air.
Poor air quality may cause headaches, vision problems, difficulty breathing, allergies, and exacerbates asthma. Families with children, pets, and elderly inhabitants are especially at risk for health concerns caused and worsened by poor indoor air quality. Opening your windows to air the house out is an excellent solution to improve your indoor air, but doing so draws those toxins outside, polluting your entire neighbourhood.
Becoming more aware of the quality of your indoor air will greatly improve the health of your family and the environment. Air quality monitors, like the Awair Glow, continually monitor the air inside your home and will alert you to increases in chemicals and toxins. Air purifiers, like the AirFree Lotus, filter and clean inside air to reduce allergens, bacteria, chemicals, and toxins. Combine an air quality monitor, air purifier, and smart thermostat, like Mysa, for complete and effortless control of your indoor air quality to improve the safety and comfort of your home. Sync them all to a home automation system for even simpler control.
Reduce Energy Consumption by Automating Indoor Temperature
One of the most luxurious of modern technologies is the ability to control the temperature of our homes. There's nothing quite as refreshing as an air-conditioned house on a hot summer day or quite as comforting as a warm home through the cold winter months. But heating and cooling your home consumes a lot of energy!
You can reduce energy consumption and receive significant energy savings with the assistance of a smart thermostat. Smart thermostats, like Mysa, can be set to automatically adjust your indoor temperature to your preferred, energy saving levels, 24/7. Once your smart thermostat is set up, you'll never have to manually adjust the thermostat again. You'll also achieve significant energy savings both for the environment and your electricity bill by limiting heating and cooling while you're at work and away from home. This is especially true of electric heat in winter, something that can really add up if you are not diligent with your schedule.
Multi zone thermostats will empower you to create room zones for even more systematic temperature control. Using zoning, your smart thermostat can keep the kitchen cool while cooking dinner at the same time it heats the bedrooms. If your home has baseboard heating, be sure you choose a smart thermostat that's compatible with baseboard heat. Mysa is an excellent smart thermostat that comes ready to support energy savings for baseboard heated homes.
Reduce Your Water Consumption
Water use is another precious and necessary natural resource where we can employ a mindset of green energy simply by being more aware. You may not realize it, but many water companies vary water rates by the time of day, week, and year. You'll contribute to a healthier environment and reap energy savings on your next water bill just by planning your chores and activities around this schedule.
Ways you can save on water:
- Locate and repair water leaks
- Water your lawn and garden in the early morning or evening
- Run appliances during off-peak hours
- Upgrade to green energy appliances and use the Eco setting
Reusing water is another great way to live more sustainably. Collected rainwater can be stored and used to water your lawn in the summer and a bucket can be used to capture cool water while you wait for your shower to heat up and used later to wash the floors. Installing a smart thermostat can also help keep your water pipes and water heater warmer so dish and bath water heats up quicker.
Compost Your Kitchen Scraps and Yard Trimmings
As population grows, landfills are literally overflowing. Composting is an easy and natural way to repurpose waste into a nutrient-rich green energy to fertilize indoor plants, flowers, trees, and vegetable and herb gardens.
If you live in a home with a yard, composting outdoors is incredibly easy, especially with new compost tumblers and a small bin used to collect kitchen scraps indoors and easily transport outside. If you live in a home without a yard like an apartment or condo, you can still take advantage of composting to add fuel to indoor and balcony plants. Depending on the indoor composter you choose, composting can put off a smell, especially on hot summer days. A multi zone thermostat will help you keep your kitchen cooler to minimize smell and can also be set to keep the kitchen warmer in the winter to keep your compost from freezing.
Compost should be layered with scraps and brown for best results. In addition to kitchen scraps, you might also include yard trimmings like grass and leaves and paper trash like junk mail, egg cartons, and cardboard boxes.
Pay Attention to Packaging When Shopping
We all shop a lot more than people did 100 years ago and products come with much more unnecessary packaging, contributing to growing piles of waste. You can reduce energy consumption by being more aware of the packaging containing products you buy since all that cardboard and plastic is produced using valuable electricity and oil.
Next time you go shopping, take a moment to consider your options not just in price, but also in packaging. You'll notice that a single kitchen utensil, like a ladle, may be available for purchase in in either a bag within a box or with just a small bit of cardboard wrapped on the handle. Canned beverages are sold in big boxes or with just a small set of rings holding them together. Electronics may be sold in plastic blister packs or in energy saving, recyclable packaging, like our Mysa smart thermostats. And larger items like furniture, lumber and appliances can often be purchased in a reusable crate, skipping the packaging altogether.
Keep in mind that while online shopping is easy, shipped items all come in much more packaging than the same item bought in store. And when you go to the store, remember to bring those reusable bags!
Recycle All that Packaging and Paper
Speaking of packaging and paper waste, what do you do with all of it?
Paper trash like junk mail, newspaper, cardboard boxes, food packaging, brochures, bills, and old homework add up to an awful lot of paper. These items should always be properly recycled. And, whenever possible, consider opting into electronic notifications instead of physical paper mail.
Many plastic materials like take out food containers, juice jugs, and blister packaging can be safely recycled as can glass beverage bottles. Most recyclables are marked with a label on the bottom or back. If you're unsure, check your local recycling center for a list of accepted recyclables.
You can greatly reduce energy consumption by shopping for everything locally. Every single thing you buy, from that single tomato for your sandwich to a new couch, are all transported, requiring a great deal of gas, logistics, and manpower. Buying products made closer to your home reduces energy and supports your local business owners and employees. Buying from a local shop rather than a further big box store can also decrease your own car's impact on gas consumption and emissions.
However, with the advent of the internet, it's not always possible to get energy saving devices on local shelves. The net savings you get from ordering some cutting edge technology may outweigh the overall footprint caused by using outdated and inefficient technology. Just make sure you're trying your best to be responsible.
Reduce Energy Consumption and Live More Sustainably
Sustainability is more than just a buzzword. It's about green energy, healthier living, and energy savings for every person on this wonderful planet. Living more sustainably starts with you simply being more aware of your consumption of things like water and packaging and making conscious actions to do better like automating a comfortable indoor temperature with a smart thermostat or shopping at a local store.
What else can you do to live a little lighter on our environment? Share your ideas in the comments section below!