It’s easy to love Maui’s laid-back lifestyle and enjoy the bountiful beaches, tropical forests, calming waters, and varied microclimates of the Valley Isle. Living in such a diverse landscape is a dream come true, but also comes with great responsibility. The more we cherish our environment and the beautiful place we call home, the more important it is to protect it.
Attaining a greener lifestyle and an eco-friendly home doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. Some minor lifestyle adjustments can actually reduce living daily expenses and have a positive impact on your health and quality of life. Making your daily routine more sustainable can be as simple as learning some green basics, modifying your habits, and making informed choices.
Here are 15 simple ways to achieve a more eco-wise lifestyle at home in Hawaii:
1. Use Energy Star appliances.
These are certified energy efficient by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and could end up saving you up to 40% on electric bills! Click here for more info on how to choose the right products that help you save energy.
2. Regularly defrost manual-defrost freezers and refrigerators.
Frost buildup decreases the energy efficiency of the unit. Don’t allow frost to build up more than one-quarter of an inch.
3. Install a solar water heater.
Using solar energy to heat up water means less fossil fuel or natural gas being used and released into the atmosphere from traditional electric or gas water heaters. Making the switch means you’ll help save the environment in addition to lowering your gas or electric bill.
4. Use natural window coverings with filtered light to keep rooms cool instead of overworking your AC.
5. Turn off fans when you leave the room.
Fans cool people, not rooms!
6. Seal window drafts to keep the hot air out, and cool air in.
7. Change the filters of your air conditioners often for more cooling efficiency.
Generally, you should change them about once every month or two, especially during periods of high usage. Have a professional check and clean your equipment once a year.
8. Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent ones.
Compared to traditional incandescents, energy-efficient lightbulbs such, as halogen incandescents, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and light emitting diodes (LEDs), have the following advantages:
- Typically use about 25%-80% less energy than traditional incandescents, saving you money!
- Can last 3-25 times longer than incandescents. Learn more here.
9. Landscape with low maintenance and low watering varieties of plants. Save water and conserve natural resources by choosing plants that require little maintenance.
Watering early in the morning makes the water more available to plants throughout the day, and using mulch will help lock in moisture. When possible, use native plants for your landscaping. Learn more here.
10. Buy non-toxic cleaning supplies, or make your own!
One of the simplest and most effective cleaners can be made by combining one part of white vinegar with one part water, lemon rind, and rosemary sprigs.
11. Run full loads of dishes in the dishwasher and laundry in the wash.
This helps reduce the amount of times these machines are run per day saving energy and water, and ultimately money on your utility bills.
12. Air dry your dishes.
Most of the energy used by a dishwasher is for water heating, so avoid using the “rinse hold” on your machine for just a few soiled dishes. It uses 3-7 gallons of hot water each use. Let your dishes air dry.
13. Compost your food scraps and keep them out of the landfill.
Yes, you can compost even if you live in a condo! Read more here.
14. Put a stop to unsolicited mail
Sign up to opt-out of pre-screened credit card offers and help reduce paper waste.
15. Call a certified GREEN real estate professional if you would like to work with someone who has the same sustainability goals and can help you assess energy usage in your home before you list, or assess a home you are looking to buy.
Check out this post for more sustainable living tips!