We’ve all seen the dreary news about climate change affecting our country, and maybe you’ve even noticed it in your daily life. Fortunately, a positive environmental change is not out of reach. Ann Arbor is a great community to begin this journey in. Yes, it may seem intimidating, but a more sustainable lifestyle is as easy as making some simple day-to-day changes. Not sure where to start? Read on for some easy tips to reduce energy consumption in your home.
If you live in the City of Ann Arbor, you get free composting bins. This is an easy way to reduce landfill waste. Simply email or call the customer service number and they will provide you with all the steps. Plus, if you garden, composting will make your soil stronger and more efficient! University of Michigan Environmental Health Science PhD students advise you to compost “fruit and vegetable scraps, whether fresh, cooked, frozen, or completely moldy”. If you’re not sure if something is compostable, Google is filled with information on what to include and what to avoid. If you don’t use soil, composted scraps have a much smaller carbon footprint than regular waste, which gathers bacteria and becomes toxic.
Wash your clothes in cold water
When you buy a new shirt, you may think most of the waste comes from the material and machinery used in making it. However, the most wasteful portion is actually washing it. One simple way to decrease the waste is to use cold water. 90% of the energy used by a washing machine is spent heating water. Using cold water can also help keep your clothes bright and less wrinkled! This simple change will make a big difference over time. Take it a step further and buy your clothes used! Luckily, Ann Arbor has lots of great used clothing shops. You can purchase from the local Salvation Army or PTO Thrift Shop.
Use LED light bulbs
There are tons of benefits to LED light bulbs! Importantly, these bulbs are better for the environment than fluorescent and mercury light bulbs. They are able to produce more light using less watts. In other words, this efficiency means you will save lots of money over time. Ann Arbor has a drop-0ff area for recycling LED light bulbs, so disposal is hassle-free.
Buy sustainable furniture
Decrease the amount of materials consumed by choosing used furniture. According to The EPA, furniture waste was over 12 million tons in 2018 – and over 80% of this waste went to the landfill. Used furniture can still be very high quality, and you will save money too. Invest in nice pieces that will last many years. Ann Arbor has lots of places to find used furniture, such as Westside Furniture Consignments Emporium or the U-M Property Disposition, which offers up used furniture from the University of Michigan. When your time with the piece is done, donate it rather than tossing it.
Switch to energy efficient appliances
Buying energy efficient appliances will reduce your energy usage, and you’ll save money! Look for ENERGY STAR certifications because this means the product meets certain governmental energy standards. According to Energy.gov, these products typically have the lowest life-cycle costs. A win-win situation! If you’re considering buying a new home, remember these homes will have new, efficient appliances. This will help keep ongoing maintenance costs down, and keep your Ann Arbor home more environmentally friendly.