We’ve asked six eco-experts to share their favorite tips for going green at home. There’s no better time to bring eco-awareness into everyday living!
Top Tip: Skip preheating the oven.
Expert: Taryn Holowka, a LEED accredited professional and director of marketing and communications at the U.S. Green Building Council
“I simply turn on the oven and put the food right in,” says Holowka. “And then about 10 minutes before the food is ready, I turn the oven off and leave the food in there. The oven keeps the heat in really well, and turning it off early won’t affect what you’re cooking. This simple trick saves a lot of energy.”
Top Tip: Use homemade surface cleaner.
Expert: Annie B. Bond, author of Clean and Green and Better Basics for the Home
“This soft-scrubber works for the bathtub as well as sinks, stainless steel appliances and countertops — and it only takes a few seconds to make,” says Bond. Add a few squirts of liquid dish soap or detergent to 1/2 cup of baking soda. (It should have a texture like frosting.) Scoop some of the mixture onto a sponge and start scrubbing, then rinse well. Cost? Thirty-six cents. Quantity? Makes 1/2 half cup.
Top Tip: Reduce kitchen waste.
Expert: Caroline Howell, founder of GreenBeanie.net
“Use reusable cloth towels and napkins,” suggests Howell. She also recommends using reusable stainless steel water bottles instead of their plastic counterparts, and choosing sandwich wraps and containers that can be used over and over for school lunches.
Top Tip: Choose green-wrapped over gift-wrapped.
Expert: Laurie Goldrich Wolf, author of The Lonely Sock Club: One Sock, Tons of Cool Projects
“I never buy wrapping paper anymore,” says Wolf. “I use paper scraps that I have on hand or pieces of bags from department or specialty stores. For storage and shipping, I use old shoe boxes.”
“In the summer heat, we use windows and fans to cool our house instead of just relying on air conditioning,” says Snow. “We open windows downstairs on one side of the house and upstairs on the opposite side to siphon out the hot air. Then we run ceiling fans counterclockwise to push cool air down, and clockwise to suck hot air up.”
Top Tip: Cut down your commute.
Expert: Bruce Harley, author of Cut Your Energy Bills Now: 150 Smart Ways to Save Money and Make Your Home More Comfortable and Green
“Despite the fact that I live in an energy-efficient house, the greenest thing I do by far is working from a home office,” says Harley. “The biggest way I’ve shrunk my carbon footprint is by reducing my travel — ground and air. Over the last 15 years, I’ve gone from over 25,000 miles a year with a pickup, steadily decreasing to less than 10,000 miles with a Prius.”
By Amy Levin-Epstein for Green Goes Simple
Amy Levin-Epstein is a freelance writer who’s been published in magazines like Glamour, Self and Prevention, on websites like AOL, Babble and Details.com and in newspapers like the New York Post and the Boston Globe. You can read more of her writing at AmyLevinEpstein.com.