YouRepair has been reading a lot of info about Earth Day and much of it is removed from our own families and homes. Many of the ideas are great and if you have the resources and time to do it then you will be helping but others are pretty useless.
So far we have seen suggestions of adopting turtles or other wildlife (this is fine but how much really ends up helping them). We have also seen people suggesting that you email or write paper companies and other industries asking them to change their production process. Well that is also nice but writing paper letters to a paper company must just get them really really excited for more sales rather then actually making a difference.
So we thought we might give you a few real ideas. Things that you can see happen around your home an not only will they help the Earth they will probably help you by saving money or making your home more enjoyable.
Lets start off easy then add the harder stuff at the end.
Plant a Garden
Planting a garden no matter how small or large will reduceCO2 in the air because the plants you grow will give off Oxygen. Not only that if you grow vegetables you will save on money for trips to the grocery store. You will also reduce the transportation needed to get vegetables from the farm to your supermarket.
The Biggest benefits of growing your own vegetables is that you get to enjoy eating them. This reduces your cost to purchase produce money that can be spent on other things like compact florescent light bulbs.
If you have children they will also enjoy watching the flowers and vegetables grow and preparing them in the kitchen.
Even if you live in an apartment you can purchase a tomato plant and grow some herbs or flowers.
Planting Trees and Bushes
If you have a larger property you may want to add a tree or bush in your yard. They say that it takes one large oak tree to offset the green house gasses from a single person. If you have room you may want to plant a bush or tree for each family member.
They don’t have to be Oak Trees although the squirrels will love you for the acorns. You could plant flowering trees like a crab apple that provides food for animals or you could plant fruit trees that you can eat.
Another great choice is to plant a tree that loses its leaves in the winter near your outside seating area or in your Southern / Southwest view. Deciduous trees can provide shade for your home reducing your Air Conditioning needs in the summer.
Pine trees can be planted to guard your home from winds. They hold their needles year round and can reduce the cost of heating your home if placed correctly. Northern sides of homes get less sun in the winter. Planting a Pine in this area will not reduce your homes absorption of the suns heat.
Install a Rain Water Capture Tank
Capturing the rain that sheds off of your roof will reduce your need to purchase water from your local public water system. This also means you will reduce stress on both the water company supply and the runoff that often ends up in the waste water during storms.
You can start small with a clean never used 55 gallon drum that catches water from your gutter downspout. Or you can install a larger system that can capture the thousands of gallons shed from your roof in a typical 1″ rain storm.
Small barrels can be fitted with a hand or low voltage pump to water your flowers. Larger tanks can actually provide all of the water that your home uses.
Note: You should not drink rainwater or use it in your vegetable garden unless it has been correctly collected and prepared for drinking. Bacteria and other things can cause problems but you can definitely use it on your flower garden or grass.
Use Mulch or a Ground Cover Plant like Ivy
Planting a bed of ground cover plants like Ivy will not only make your home look nice it will reduce your need to water and maintain grass. Ground cover plants can withstand warm dry periods pretty well and mulch will reduce your need to manage the area all together.
There are a number of different ground cover plants and they grow at different rates usually requiring one pruning a year to keep them within the boundary you set.
Mulch comes in many different types. There is shredded wood and barks if you like a natural look or you can install stone of different shades from white brown gray black and all shades between.
Rubber mulch shown here is good for playgrounds because it is soft and easy to maintain.
Stone will reduce your need to manage large sections of lawn area but it will not eliminate it. You may also want to install some potted plants to brighten the area.
Compact Florescent /LED Lighting
If you haven’t already converted to a compact florescent light in your home you can purchase them in bulk to reduce your costs. You should also look for any special events from your electric company or local municipality that could offer coupons or free bulbs.
Compact Florescents are different today then even a couple years ago. They come in many sizes and although we have not tested them some are dimable.
LED lighting is rather new on the market however here is an idea how about getting a nice looking garden light that you can position near a window to capture sun and then use it as a night light. If you put one in the kitchen you could probably make it to the refrigerator at 3am without anyone knowing.
Ok this is one of the harder projects but since the Government provides rebates for a few hundred dollars of insulation every year that you can take off your taxes its an offer you shouldn’t pass up. The $300 rebate that you can get will buy you a few rolls of insulation that you can place in your attic.
Place the insulation over your bedrooms to start to keep you warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
Not only will you feel better you will also reduce emissions of green house gasses and reduce the need to buy the fule to make them in the first place.
But the best part is It is free. So if you can then do it every year.
A full house attic fan will reduce summer temperatures in your attic around 50F maybe more depending on your location. By reducing the heat in your attic you will reduce your need for fans and air conditioning in your house. You will be amazed how well they work the first day you get it.
Cost is about $50 to $125 if you need to hire someone to install it.
Well those are a few Ideas
Planting a garden, a few trees or just throwing mulch to create a nice area you wont have to water or cut grass on are pretty easy things to do.
If you involve the kids they will love the fact that they planted a flower or tomato plant and watched it grow.
These things you can do with your family and they will make a difference not only in your quality of life but they will improve life for everyone when you reduce your use of fuel and the associated emissions that come with it.
You should never look at things as a Diet or a Burden because then you will never do them.
If you don’t use these ideas then find your own.
Ride your bikes to the supermarket once a week, Car pool with that hot girl or guy that works in the building next to yours. Find ways that not only improve the environment but your own life and you will enjoy making a difference.
The YouRepair Store has all the items you need for your home projects