By Leigh-Ann Pogue, Executive Assistant
With the advent of the new year comes resolutions large and small – ranging from physical fitness to economic growth, stronger relationships to overcoming fears. At Hirons, we not only believe in working in a sustainable environment but also living a sustainable lifestyle. If you are still looking for the perfect resolution (and it’s never too late to start), here are five small changes that can make a huge impact on our environment.
- Buy and Eat Local
Supermarkets give consumers the advantage of getting fruits and vegetables year-round. However, this uses an enormous amount of resources. Buying local not only decreases the amount of fossil fuel energy used to transport locally out of season produce but also puts money back into your local economy by creating jobs and competition in the marketplace. And while you’re at it, make sure to pick up reusable grocery bags.
- Use Alternative Transportation
Bikes are not just for triathlon enthusiasts anymore. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 26 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are caused by the transportation sector. If you live close to work, consider walking or biking during fair-weather months. In winter, consider carpooling with friends, family or co-workers or research your local public transportation options.
- Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
Do you have an old college sweatshirt sitting in the back of your closet or a book on your nightstand that you know you’re not going to read? Clothes, as well as other items, that are no longer useful to you can be donated to your local shelter or through organizations such as Goodwill or The Salvation Army. Also, think about ways to give items around the house, such as bottles, Mason jars and cans, a new life. Just check Pinterest if you need #UpCycle inspiration. Most of all, remember less is more. Practice being a conscious consumer by researching the hidden costs behind purchases and reducing the amount of products you buy with plastic packaging.
- Conserve Water
This step is pretty simple: Find ways to reduce the amount of water you use on a daily basis. This is not only good for the environment but also good for your wallet. According to National Geographic, you should opt for showers over baths as baths can take up to 70 gallons of water. Switching out standard shower heads for low-flow models can save up to 15 gallons of water during a 10-minute shower. Other simple ways to conserve water include turning off the faucet when you brush your teeth, fixing leaks, taking quick showers and not running the dishwasher until it is full.
- Maintain an Energy Efficient Home
The U.S. Department of Energy recommends conducting a home energy audit to determine how your home uses energy. This will help you determine where energy efficient upgrades are needed – whether it be a new water heater, new furnace filter, more insulation, low-flow toilet or simply a complete switch to LED lightbulbs. Keep in mind that upgrading your home could save 5 percent to 30 percent on your energy bill, which is some serious cash.