You want to be greener. But you don’t want to give up your creature comforts. Rest easy—with some small hacks and swaps, you can lead a more sustainable life.
Now sing with me. I’m so fancy, you already know. I’m a senior just trying to green my home. I’m so fancy and I can reach this goal, if I up my green game. Let’s go-o-o-o-o-o-o-o.
1. Inspect Your HomeHave a professional assess your insulation level. Many people unknowingly pay good money to heat the outdoors or cool their garage. Owners of older homes should schedule an insulation and energy audit. The original builder should be able to provide basic information for new homes.
2. Be a Greener CleanerRun only full loads of dishes or laundry (not together). Now, let them air dry. Remember to use cold water. Double down on green and go old school with sustainable cleaning products. Feel free to buy your supplies from leading stores or create your own at home. Baking soda, lemon juice, oils, borax and the Internet are your best friends.
While you’re at it: homemade soap bars make amazing gifts that your friends will love.
3. Let Your Lights Shine, Not WarmReplace old bulbs with energy efficient LED bulbs. They are bright and beautiful without wasting energy on releasing heat. This hack is so simple it’s “like you’re giving lessons in physics.”
4. Impress Your Friends with Smart TechnologyConvert your appliances to smart appliances. The fancy side of you will love that you can turn your lights on and off from a remote application on your phone. The green side of you knows that your smart house can do the green work for you. From the lighting to the temperature, everything adjusts just how you like it. It will feel “so good getting what you want.”
5. Use ReusablesPaper or plastic? Opt out of both by bringing your own cloth bags to the store. For storage and transport, use reusable crates instead of cardboard boxes.
6. Change Your DrivingKeep your car in tip-top condition. Drive slower and inflate your tires. Reduce the junk in your trunk for better gas mileage “from L.A. to Tokyo.”
7. Switch Into the Fast LaneSplurge on a new hybrid or electric car for some serious swagger. From the Prius and the i3 to the Leaf, Tesla and the Chevy Spark, you will find a car that fits your lifestyle. Your friends will ask “Who that, who that?” as you drive by.
8. Purge Your PaperUnsubscribe from junk mail. Switch to electronic versions of your favorite magazines and newspapers. Scan your old files and receipts and recycle the originals. Try applications like Evernote and OneReceipt. You can make your electronic copies more organized than the paper versions ever were.
9. Do a Digital DietWhen leaving your home, unplug your appliances and electronics. This reduces phantom loads—energy use from idle electronics. Use power strips to turn everything off with a single button. Look for smart strips that turn off the power flow when the appliances are off. You don’t “ever have to turn down nothing.” Take the next step and go screen-free for a day. Then try it for a week.
Luxury and comfort, meet sustainability. You’ll get “the whole world asking how I does that.”
Tracy Layden is a Certified Aging in Place Specialist. Born and raised in Silicon Valley, Tracy leads the marketing efforts at Alert-1, a personal safety technology and consulting firm dedicated to helping seniors live safely and independently. Tracy holds a degree in mathematics from Scripps College and is an accomplished ballroom dancer and equestrian.