The Eco Friendly Home – Tips + Tricks to Save Energy

Thank you to Direct Energy for sponsoring today’s post, and encouraging me to share tips for a smarter home! #DEsmarthome
Oh, home ownership. 
It’s been a real trip … the non drug variety, something we looked forward to for YEARS and saved for for many more years. And now we’ve hit the one year mark. One whole year of home ownership.  It feels, dare I say, grown-up. Like something a on-the-verge-of-30 person would do. It feels good.
Well … parts of it. I love decorating and painting furniture, setting up house if you will. The maintenance and unforeseen expenses on the other hand, not my favorite, but they’ll do. I mean, do I have a choice? Good with the bad, ey?
Once we locked into our monthly mortgage there wasn’t a lot of wiggle room in the budget for excess or waste. We prescribed to the 25% of our monthly income recommendation by good ol’ Dave Ramsey, which, for our budget, doesn’t allow for energy wasters. Even more, as a Christian I feel it is my responsibility to utilize the resources I’ve been blessed with and avoid wasting them. This is a big reason why I subscribe to more natural or green options – I feel convicted, the good kind of conviction, to be wise with my family’s resources.
Being green-minded, I’ve taken a number of steps to avoid wasting energy and in many circumstances, to save it. Things on top of recycling (because HELLO it’s 2014 and if you’re not recycling you are living in a tragic state of wastefulness) and energy efficient appliances. Here’s a peek at a few of my staple tips for being responsible with our resources …
I hang dry our cloth diaper covers and a handful of other pieces to save energy and help our diapers and clothes last longer. The IKEA Mulig Drying Rack fits perfecto in the corner of our laundry room. And would you look at that? I was so kind to even show it to you in action … it’s always full :) 

I was going to say that we’ve been cloth diapering for 4 years now, but truly, cloth diapering was a slippery slope into many reusable products – napkins – handmade from upcycled fabric, feminine supplies and grocery bags. Linked to some of my faves! 

Here’s a little soap box of mine … dirt and germs. They are not bad! I feel like everyone is super hyped about “cleanliness” – bathing multiple times/day and washing clothes after one wear. Please don’t! Although water flows freely from our taps, it is far from free and truly one of our greatest blessings in America.

So, use less water – spot clean clothes with a damp rag for small spills before starting a whole washer full of laundry. Maybe consider a no ‘poo routine or allow your hair’s natural oils to acclimate and you may find you don’t have to wash your hair so frequently. My thick locks give me a solid 3-5 days between washings! I shower more often than every 3-5 days though, they’re just shorter showers since I don’t have to wash my hair :) 

Most days I keep the thermostat at 65 degrees, we drop it to the low 60s at night. When we’re cold we put on socks, sweater or snuggle in a quilt.

Home ownership has spurred me to try and implement a greater level of eco friendly choices in our home. Although we didn’t get to choose the energy features in our home, no solar panels here … someday though!, I have been able to modify a number of things to work better for us. 
Now that boxes are unpacked and pictures are hung I have a growing list of new ways to boost our homes efficiency. So far, these are my upcoming goals for the house …
  • PLANT A GARDEN /// Our fence is being built this May and having a garden is on the top of my list! Sustainable, local food choices are a win for everyone!
  • CLOTHES LINE /// Throughout the year I air dry our cloth diapers and a handful of clothes on our indoor drying rack (see above), but with the fence in place I’ll be able to hang my clothes line from our last house.
  • HEAT CONTROL /// Our home does not have air conditioning and last summer we toggled back and forth on the idea of adding one. This year, with the addition of our blinds, I’m planning to really focus on a good schedule for open windows at night and then closing the windows/blinds before things warm up. 
  • SMART THERMOSTAT /// In actuality, our thermostat can help with a lot of my heat control plans. I just need to read the manual and put it to work! Another great option is to invest in a smart thermostat. In the US, Direct Energy offers a Meridian Savings Plan. With this plan you get a competitively priced fixed energy charge, up to three FREE Honeywell Smart Thermostats, plus a smartphone app that allows you to control your thermostat anytime, anywhere. Yep, definitely something to read up on.
  • RAIN COLLECTION /// Even during the summer, we still have rainy days and I’m planning to have a rain barrel to water the garden and other plants.
  • COMPOST /// Yep, digging out the bins from our last house and adding this to our backyard stat.
I don’t want my list to get away from me, so that’s the focus for the coming months. Direct Energy has many more, super easy tips for making homes more eco friendly … things like, how to arrange your furniture and how often to change your air filters for maximum efficiency. Hop over and find the answers and build your own home energy plan! You’ll be making greener choices AND saving money. Two things that make me a happy mama :)
What do you already do to have a more eco friendly home? What’s your next step? Share in the comments or post of Facebook or Twitter and use #DEsmarthome

/// Follow That Mama Gretchen on Facebook and take a peek at this month’s featured sponsor ///
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  1. Sheila says

    We live in the desert so our landscaping is 80% xeriscape and requires no water. We have kids and dogs so we do have some grass in the back yard. Our solar hot water heater has really reduced our monthly electric bills and our energy saver washer and dryer uses less water and energy (especially when we keep the lint exhaust vacuumed and clear of debris). I hope to use more cloth diapers for this new baby but currently we cloth diaper about 50% of the time (not an option for child care).

  2. ThatMamaGretchen says

    A solar water heater – what a great idea and perfect for where you live! And good for you for p/t cloth diapering, still! Not easy to go 1/2 and 1/2!