Eco HouseIt’s easy to buy things that you know are good for the environment, or to do things you know will lessen your carbon footprint—but what about your home? Some people decide to take the plunge and buy an entire home that is great for the environment. The rest of us may not be in a position to do that, but there is still a lot we can do to make our homes more environmentally friendly by mimicking some of the things others are doing.

Use all the space

Wasted energy happens when we maintain and keep up space in our homes we never use. A lot of our wasted space comes from good intentions, such as keeping the backyard open for the kids, or keeping a guest bedroom. Instead, use this space for something productive—try growing some easy vegetables in the backyard rather than just having grass. You’ll be amazed by how much energy and money you’ll end up saving.

Set up solar panels

People may think they’re ugly and useless, but solar panels will bring you so many positive things. For starters, it’s a great way to give back to the environment with minimal effort. Once they’re installed, you don’t have to do much more. In addition to that, they’ll end up decreasing the amount of money you pay every day in energy. What’s better than making money off of doing something good for the environment?

Reuse and recycle

Before buying anything new, see if you can either make it from something old, or if someone nearby is giving it away. Looking online for ideas of how to make something is a great start—there are so many websites devoted to repurposing or recycling what would seem to be garbage. Plus, if you just look around long enough, you can usually find something worth a great deal of money that someone’s giving away for free.

When in doubt, go back to insulation

Most of our money goes towards heating our homes every winter. If you’re spending a great deal of money, you’re also wasting a lot of energy heating something that isn’t maintaining the heat. Instead, go back and fix your rooms so that the heat you put into it stays there. Fix windows and walls for any drafts or problems in insulation. Even though this seems like a huge pain in the butt, you’ll be infinitely happy when your home is both environmentally friendly and cheaper to maintain. Maybe with all that extra money you can finally go on that vacation you always wanted?

Fix your lighting

Everyone seems to already be on board with changing their bulbs to more energy efficient ones, but they forget that they’re still running those lights longer than they need to. Opt to have motion sensor lights rather than the traditional switch lights. This is great for two reasons—one, if you forget to turn the lights off, you don’t have to worry about them never going off on their own. The other reason is when you’re finally ready to call it a night, you won’t have to get up to turn them off, just go to bed and enjoy the pleasure of helping the environment, while still being comforted.