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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

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Green Living

“It’s not easy being green,” sings a frog named Kermit. This may be true for a frog, but it’s certainly not true for my eco-friendly family.

Long before kids, my husband and I started making inexpensive, simple changes to what we thought was going to be our starter home. Fast forward 16 years and now as a family of four, we’ve made a green living choice to stay put. Keeping a smaller home means a smaller footprint on the earth, while using less resources such as heating/cooling and the need to furnish more square footage.

Without spending a lot of time or money and with very little effort, we’ve been able to make our home even more eco-friendly. These are some of the cheap and easy ways my family has effectively cared for our planet.

Install a programmable thermostat that regulates your home’s temperature according to your preferences and plans ahead of time. Most notable benefit: it cut down our energy usage and lowered our electric bill.

Switch to LED lights to reduce your environmental footprint. Light-emitting diodes cost less to use and have longer life spans than incandescent bulbs, keeping more dead bulbs from landfills. LED lights also produce less heat, which helps to keep our air conditioner from fighting warmer inside temperatures during the summer.

Collect and use rainwater. It’s amazing to think that you could’ve saved 200 gallons of water from last night’s rainfall. Use this water collected in rainwater barrels to water your lawn and garden for free. By cutting the amount of water we buy every month, we are ultimately helping the planet.

Plant a backyard vegetable garden. Homegrown fruits and vegetables have the best taste because they are freshly picked. We also are saving the environment by not using trucks to get them to the store.

Compost. Instead of throwing almost spoiled fruits and vegetables in the trash, we built a composter to help break down these fruits and vegetables to make compost for future garden plants.

Don’t turn on lights. Open curtains and let in natural light. If you do use lights in a room, turn them off when you leave the room (how is this concept difficult for my family to understand?).

Pay bills online. Save the cost of stamps, reduce paper by going paperless, and. as a greater bonus, it saves my sanity!

Reuse paper and envelopes. My kids love upcycling used paper from the recycling bin for crafts.

Make your own detergent. We’ve saved hundreds of plastic containers from the landfill over the years.

Lower the temperature on your hot water heater. We did this over 12 years ago and it not only saves money but prevents my children from scalding themselves when taking a shower.

Start today by choosing three of these ideas and make them a habit, and you will be on your way to preserving the environment for a better tomorrow.

Nikki Ducas
Nikki Ducas is a freelance writer and for the past 8+ years writes the money column for Fredericksburg Parent & Family Magazine. She has lived in Fredericksburg for 16 years with her husband and is a homeschooling mom to their two boys. Nikki enjoys hiking, knitting and her other side hustles of pet sitting and event management.

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