Simple Tech Tips to Make Your Life More Sustainable
Advancements in affordable technology have made it easier than ever for us to adopt environmentally friendly practices in our own homes. While many people associate sustainable living with compromise, we don’t really have to make significant life changes or sacrifice convenience to support the planet. Most eco-friendly tech can even save us time and money in the long run. Here are some simple ways you can use technology to live a more sustainable life.
Replace Energy-Hogging Devices
Many common home electronics—including TVs, DVRs, and satellite boxes—suck energy when not in use. Standby mode allows these devices to perform updates, record shows, and jump to life quickly when you’re ready to use them. While this may be convenient, it can have a dramatic effect on your energy bill. Cutting the cable cord and switching to a streaming device is an easy way to reduce your energy consumption while enjoying your favorite movies and shows. This device plugs into your TV rather than an outlet and offers plenty of channels and apps for your entertainment. Streaming devices use significantly less power than cable TV DVRs both in use and in standby mode. You can also save energy by using the power management settings on any devices that have these features, so they draw less energy when they’re not in use. When shopping around for a device, study several models and check for TV compatibility.
Switch to LED Bulbs
Another easy way to reduce your home energy usage is to switch all of your lights to LED bulbs. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, energy-efficient light bulbs use 25% to 80% less energy and last up to 25 times longer than traditional bulbs. Not only that, but the lifespan of LED bulbs is not affected by the number of times they are switched on and off, so they’re an excellent option for sensor-controlled lights. These bulbs can also be dimmed all the way down to 10% brightness and come in various shades of white so you can illuminate your home however you want.
Install an Environment Control System
Heating our homes accounts for 46% of residential energy usage throughout the United States, according to TreeHugger. Air conditioning and lighting follow close behind. Adjusting your thermostat and being mindful about turning off your lights when you leave a room can reduce your carbon footprint, but if you want to go a step further, installing an environmental management system in your home will optimize your energy usage. Smart home accessories, like WiFi thermostats, smart light bulbs, and remote-controlled outlets will do a lot to reduce the amount of energy you use for lighting and temperature control.
Opt Out of Junk Mail and Paper Statements
If you’re like most people, you’re used to opening your mailbox to find stacks of papers you don’t want or need. If you haven’t already, sign up for electronic statements from your bank, credit card companies, and any other businesses that send you regular updates in the mail. Switching to paperless statements can even help prevent identity theft due to stolen or lost mail. While you’re at it, consider switching from paper to digital magazine subscriptions that you can read on your computer or tablet.
What about all that junk mail? Catalogs and direct mail advertisements make up 5.6 million tons of landfill waste every year! Sadly, the deforestation caused by the annual production of junk mail releases as much greenhouse gas as 3.7 million cars. Opt out of unwanted mail by contacting the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and calling companies directly, asking them to take you off of their mailing list. You can always go online to print out any coupons or promo codes that you want to use in-store, or load them onto your phone using coupon apps.
Eco-friendly living doesn’t have to be difficult. Take advantage of green technology to reduce your household energy usage and cut down on waste. Not only will these sustainable tips help you do your part for the planet, but they can make your life a little easier too!
This is a contributed post from Mark Harris