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Going Green at Home: Easy Ways to Start

Going Green has earned its place as the buzz phrase that captures the principle for a sustainable, energy-efficient and safe lifestyle. However, it doesn’t have to be as complicated as rocket science. Instead of looking at the idea of going green as a project that would cost you millions of Naira, you can go the easy way.

Consider breaking things down into simple bits that take you closer to going green one step at a time. Your end goal should be to gradually cut down your carbon footprint (the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of the activities of a particular individual, organization, or community) until you have made a significant change in this direction.

To make a really big difference, start today by making a lot of minor changes, which we will share in the lines that follow.

Electric Lawn Mowers Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
The idea of going green is rested on the fundamental principle of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere and this is precisely what you achieve when you settle for an electric lawn mower as opposed to one that is powered by gas.

If you carve out some time to reflect on all the things that you have that leave a carbon footprint, two of the biggest items on your list will probably be your car and your generator. If you own a lawn and you use a gas powered lawn mower, you should add it to your list. The reason is simple. Lawnmowers consume well over 800 million gallons of gas annually.

This explains the rise in the preference for electric lawn mowers over those powered by gas. Electric lawn mowers are more energy efficient and despite also leaving a carbon footprint, they are a mere fraction of the carbon dioxide you release when you use gas-powered lawn mowers.

Gas-powered lawn mowers also use oil and changing the oil means the used oil has to be taken out, which ends up contaminating the environment when spilt. The only way to avoid spilling the used oil is to destroy the oil; a process that requires a lot of heat, which still leaves you with a high carbon footprint.

Cancel Your Newspaper and Magazine Subscription
Do you have a running newspaper or magazine subscription especially for hard copies of these publications? If your answer is yes, consider cancelling these subscriptions.

Newspaper subscriptions mean you probably have a collection of both read and unread newspapers and magazine on your shelves at home. Your goal here should be to reduce your paper waste.

The manufacturing of paper requires fuel inputs and paper waste disposal can contribute to emissions of the potent greenhouse gas (GHG) and methane (CH4).

Going green – shut down PC

Drop the Habit of Putting Your Laptop on Sleep Mode
When you put your laptop or computer to sleep, it means it’s not shut down and still consumes power but at a slower pace. This means you’ll probably still have to charge it after some time; thus consuming more electricity than it would have needed if you had shut it down.

Going green can only be achieved when you make the little changes count. Don’t leave your laptop sucking energy when you can actually shut it down and reboot it when you’re ready to use the device. Cultivate the habit of shutting down your laptop at the end of each day.

Going Green – Cover the swimming pool

Cover Your Swimming Pool
Do you have a swimming pool at home? If you do, consider covering it when it is not in use. When you cover your pool, you achieve two things – First, you keep your pool cleaner. Secondly, you protect the water from evaporating at a faster rate, which in turn means you won’t have to refill as frequently as you do when it is left open.

Always remember that the idea of going green is to conserve resources and energy.

Plan Your Errands
Planning your errands means that you would you will cut out all trips to the mall or store for a quick fix. let us put this into perspective – If you drive to the mall 6 times a month to buy bits and pieces of things you need at home, you would leave a larger carbon footprint when compared to planning ahead and buying everything you need in one or two trips to the mall.

By planning your errands, you save time and fuel and leave a lower carbon footprint on your trail. Consider buying in bulk when you go shopping.

Going green – Take a break from the TV

Take a Break From the Screen
Are you a TV or movie addict? Consider spending some time outside to help you burn calories and save the energy you would have spent with your TV on.

The idea here is to get you away from electronics and gadgets that are powered by electric energy. In Nigeria, such an indulgence comes at a cost; you will leave your generator on, which means you will burn more fuel and leave a larger carbon footprint.

Going green – Use solar panels

Consider Using Solar Panels as a Way of Going Green
Electricity in Nigeria remains as epileptic as it has been in previous years. The result of this is that you probably have a generator or even two with one serving as a backup. Running a generator means you will use up quite a large amount of fuel or diesel.

Did you know that using a Using a generator indoors can kill you in minutes? In 2014, generator fumes killed a family of 7 while they slept. In 2017, a businessman and his son died from inhaling fumes from their generator.

Experts have advised keeping generators far at a reasonable distance from your home to avoid inhaling lethal fumes. Generator exhaust contains high levels of carbon monoxide (CO), a poisonous gas you cannot see or smell.

The moment you can perceive the smell from a generator’s exhaust, you are inhaling CO. One way out of this is to get solar panels, which will help you burn less fuel and reduce your carbon footprint.

Plant Tree Around Your Home
When you plant trees around your home, you create shade for your home. They also help you clean the air. Did you know that trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30 percent and save 20-50 percent in energy used for heating?

Trees planted around your home provide a natural home to birds, insects and other animals, which brings you closer to going green. Trees also increase the value of your property positively especially in a neighbourhood that is largely residential.

Going Green at Home (4)

Use Bulbs That Save Energy
Some bulbs use up less energy than others. For instance, compact fluorescent light bulbs help you save money as well as energy. Did you know that compact fluorescent light bulbs use around 75% less energy and last 10 times as long as incandescent bulbs?

Compact fluorescent light bulbs are not the perfect solution but on the measure of energy consumed, they beat incandescent bulbs.

Final Thoughts
Going green requires elements of discipline and an understanding of how your little actions add up to make your home more energy efficient. It helps you reduce waste and save money.

It also helps you ease into the culture of recycling. For instance, you can reuse old paint tins at home when decorating your house.

You should also be looking at the concept of green building if you prefer a more expansive foray into going green.

Samod Biobaku

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