Greening Your Home – Quick Tips and Resources

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by: Molly! Goodyear, Executive Director

If you missed the first Fireside Chat last week at the ERC here is a recap on best practices about greening your home!

  1. Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot (from Bea Johnson’s Zero Waste Home).
  1. Be mindful and aware of your daily resource use. Be thoughtful in your choices.
  1. Water –
    • Use two hands. By this I mean that when you are running the faucet to fill up a glass or brush your teeth or rinse a plate, have one hand on the handle and one on the item you’re rinsing and don’t let it run in between rinsing or filling up or while brushing
    • Use less in the kitchen and in your bathroom sink by running the faucet at a slower rate or install a mesh screen in the faucet
    • When you use a glass in the morning, save it for use in the evening.
    • Don’t rinse every bit of leftover food off your plate. The dishwashing soap has enzymes that need some food in order to clean the dishes.
    • If you put food down the disposal, use a minimal amount of water to grind it up.
  2. Energy –
    • Turn your thermostat down. If you don’t like a cold home, just try 2 degrees and see how that feels. If you heat/cool your home with gas, go to Idaho Power’s website (see below) and see how much power you use for heating, lighting, hot water, etc.
    • Change your light bulbs to LED. Yes, it’s an investment, but you will see an immediate reduction in your energy cost and the bulbs will last you up to 20 years!  (It’s true!)  If you can’t afford to convert your entire home all at once, install an LED every time another bulb burns out.  Write the month and year on your bulb when you install it and see how long it lasts.
    • Have an energy audit. This will help you find leaks and areas in your home where you can make changes to save money.  There are several local energy auditors.
  3. Chemicals and Toxins –
    • Vinegar – there are an amazing array of uses for vinegar from disinfecting cutting boards to removing pen marks from the wall. See my handout or I am happy to email you a list of ways to clean using vinegar.
    • Read the labels, follow instructions.
    • Educate yourself about harmful ingredients in personal care products. These may be harmful to you and/or the environment.  See Environmental Working Group website (see below) and go to their Skin Deep page.
    • Avoid using plastic for anything. No plastic bottles, plastic utensils, plastic containers.  Plastic leaches into your food and is a known endocrine disrupter and has never been proven to biodegrade fully.
  4. Food Waste –
    • Plan your meals and buy thoughtfully. This will help curb your consumption and eliminate food waste.  Think about how much food doesn’t get used every day in your home.  Work with your kids to use less milk in their cereals, especially if they leave most of the milk in the bowl (like my kids).
    • Eat your leftovers. How many of us don’t eat the ends of bread?  (I don’t know why so many of us are averse to eating those ends.)  Make bread crumbs with them.

The Fireside Chat Series takes place on the third Wednesday of the month from 6:00 – 7:00 pm at the ERC! Mark your calendar for Wednesday, February 18 for the next Fireside Chat on energy. For more information about this program click here.


Environmental Resource Center:

Zero Waste Home:

Inspired Everyday Living – Simple steps to a happy home and life:

Idaho Power – Create a login and see on a daily basis how much energy you are using:

Environmental Working Group – Nonprofit consumer resource group:

Treehugger –Dedicated to driving sustainability mainstream:

Grist – Environmental news, commentary, advice:

Earth911 – More ideas, less waste:

Stanford Alumni Magazine – Food waste article:

Hadley DeBreeGreening Your Home – Quick Tips and Resources