How families can go green together
Interest in eco-friendly lifestyles has long since spread beyond environmentalists and activists and has become a goal for people from all walks of life. Going green can even be done as a family.
Families have multiple incentives to embrace an eco-friendly lifestyle. Going green can protect the planet for younger members of the family who will have to confront the consequences of today’s decisions for decades to come. Going green also can save families money the moment they decide to change their lifestyles, providing a more immediate incentive.
Families interested in making their efforts to be more eco-friendly a team effort can embrace the following strategies.
• Wash clothes in cold water. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, heating water accounts for roughly 90 percent of the energy washing machines require to clean clothes. By washing clothes exclusively in cold water, families can drastically reduce the energy their washing machines consume, and clothes will still be clean at the end of each wash cycle.
• Wash only in full loads. Whether washing clothes or washing dishes, families who want to go green together can resolve to only run their washing machines or dishwashers when both are full. The EPA notes that only doing full loads of laundry can save more than 3,400 gallons of water each year. When washing dishes, do only full loads but avoid overcrowding the dishwasher. Overcrowding might mean some dishes are not thoroughly cleaned, which may require running another load or washing them by hand, both of which can be wasteful.
• Turn off the faucets when brushing teeth. Another way families can pitch in to conserve energy and save money together is by turning off the faucets when they brush their teeth. Parents of young children can brush their teeth with their youngsters in the morning and at night, explaining to them how brushing without the faucet running can save untold gallons of water every year. This will conserve water and lower the monthly water bill.
• Hang energy saving curtains. Energy-saving curtains reduce the amount of heat that passes through windows when the weather outside is cold, keeping more warm air inside and reducing the need to hike up the thermostat. In the summertime, heat from the outside may pass through window glass easily, but it’s far more difficult for heat to pass through fabric. By hanging energy-saving curtains together with their children, parents can explain how the curtains are more than just decorative; they are also a helpful ally in protecting the planet.