7 Ways to Make your Home More Efficient

We talk a lot about reducing plastic. We cover it pretty much exclusively on our Instagram feed as well as writing numerous blog posts about it like 7 Easy Ways to Reduce Plastic From Your Life

But, I want to encourage you to take it further. We briefly covered other ways to take your activism deeper in this post, but I want to get into the nitty-gritty of making your space more sustainable - even if you live in an apartment or rent! 

It can be easy to think, "I rent so I can't make a difference with my space!" But, that couldn't be further from the truth. 

1. choose LED light bulbs:

The first thing I did when I moved into my rental was to switch out alllllll the light bulbs.

Instead of using the old school halogen bulbs that came with the place, I switched  to LEDs. Now, these LEDs are a little fancy. They're the kind you can control the color and hue, but I love them so much.

Making this switch, of course, lowered my electricity bill and is much more eco-friendly. Since LEDs are a little spend, I keep all of the halogen bulbs in a box under the sink and will swap them back when I move out. 

2. low flow: 

Who’s got two thumbs and swapped her wasteful shower head out for a very efficient one!? THIS GIRL.

JK. My husband did it. We have a Nebia Spa Shower which uses 60% less water than a conventional shower head, but doesn't sacrifice water pressure one bit!

This is very important to me because high water pressure = big hair. I’m from the south and you know how we like our big hair. Volume baby.

We saved the original shower head and will swap it back once we move. Switching out showerheads takes around 15 minutes. It's such an easy swap and you'll be saving water AND money. Win-Win.

3. catch it:

There are several ways to catch and repurpose water. You can, of course, install a gray water system. 

If I build/renovate/buy a home, I would love to install one of these systems, but since I rent I can't see that happening in the near future. A few ways I like to save water is to: 

1. Keep a bucket in the shower! Catch all of the cold water while you're waiting for the shower to warm up. 
2. Place my house plants outside when it rains
3.  Keep a large tin (think a roasting pan) in the sink to soak dishes 

RELATED! Get our Top 10 Tips to Save Water

4. solar baby:

If you own a home, you should look into getting solar panels installed, but just because you can’t get solar panels installed on your apartment doesn’t mean you can’t switch to renewable energy.

Companies like Arcadia Power and Clean Choice Energy are energy suppliers.

When you sign up, they work with your existing utility company to make sure all of the energy you use is supplied by clean energy sources. This doesn’t cost anything extra for you and in fact, you’ll probably see your electricity bill go down!

5. regulate:

Regulate the temperature in your home, especially when you're not even there! After all, there’s no need to waste energy heating up and cooling down your home if no one's going to be there.

When it's warm wear a tank top and open the windows to allow some natural breeze in. When it’s cold throw on a blanket and draw the curtains.

There’s no need to hit the thermostat for every small fluctuation in temperature. Below are the ideal temperatures for both the summer and fall to save electricity and some cash. 

For the Winter: 65° F when not home and 68° F when home
For the Summer: 80° F when not home and 77° F when home

If you own your home, consider installing a programmable thermostat like Nest. It knows when you’re home and when you’re not. It learns your habits, knows the weather, and will help maintain a schedule to keep you comfy, save on those energy bills, and give the environment a big high five.

6. insulate:

If you own your home and are looking to make some major insulation changes, could I recommend upcycled denim? Also, consider switching out older single pane windows for more efficient double-paned windows.  

If you have an apartment, things can get a bit trickier since all of the changes have to be temporary.

Get thick curtains to help insulate a room blocking drafts and retaining heat in the winter. They also help to shade the room from the sun in the summer which will keep it cooler.

And, if you've got quite a bit of space under your doors get a weighted blocker to stop drafts plus you can easily take with you when you move.

7. unplug:

Phantom electricity is scary. “Nationally, phantom power accounts for more than 100 billion kWh and more than $10 billion in energy costs each year.” (source)

This is the energy that’s being sucked from devices plugged in but not in use so if your laptop charger, phone charger, kitchen aid mixer, or curling iron are plugged into the socket but not being used, it’s still sucking power from the grid.

Unless it's vital for it to stay plugged in, like the fridge, go ahead and unplug it.