LIVE - LEARN - WORK - PLAY

Grantee Blog 2020

Ecohouse

Our homes are many things: shelter, sanctuary, investment, but also money saver. How we design and build our home will have big impact on our finances. Wisely designed home, with minimal, or even without any additional financial investment can be saving us good amount of money that we can spend on something else, on healthy food for example. It can also have positive impact on natural environment, what translates to safer and healthier life, and more of good quality fresh produce.

We can save on the cost of heating or cooling if we set the thermostat to the optimal temperature settings, between 72°-78°. In winter months, we can put sweater on, instead of turning up the thermostat. During summer, we can keep the room cooler by pulling down shades, or closing the curtains. We can leave the doors open between rooms in our home, so the air can move between the rooms to keep the temperature at similar level at all rooms. Keeping bathroom door open, while drying hair with a blow dryer, can move the warm air across the apartment.

Decorating rooms with light colors (wall paint, flooring, window coverings and furniture) will help us save on electricity, as lighter colors reflect natural light better. For example, walls painted white will reflect 65% of light, bright red will reflect 50%, and dark blue will reflect only 5% of light. Using one, centrally located lightbulb with higher wattage will consume less energy than multiple lightbulbs with lower wattage, giving us brighter light. Set your washing machine to wash in lower temperature. By setting your washing machine to 140° instead of 200°, you can save about 40% on energy use. Fill your washing machine with larger wash loads instead of more frequent smaller loads. Defrost your refrigerator regularly and avoid storing hot and warm foods in your refrigerator. Defrosting frozen food at the bottom of your refrigerator helps your fridge to stay cooler as the frozen food will slowly absorb the warmth trapped in the fridge. Preparing single pot dishes, using lids and baking multiple dishes in the oven, at the same time, limits the use of energy. Any appliances and electronic devices that require frequent recharging can use less energy if you will use smart and programmable chargers, and ones that use solar energy. If we can, we should clean floors using broom instead of vacuum cleaner.

To save water, choose showering over bathing. In one shower, we might use about 15 gallons of water, while to fill one bathtub we might need approximately 50 gallons. When we open kitchen faucet and wait for the hot water to start coming through the pipe, we can collect the cold water from the first stream in a bucket, and use that water for our plants or pets. We can recycle water from dehumidifier and use it to water our plants or garden. We can collect the rain water to use it for our plants and gardens.  About 3-4 gallons of water can be wasted if we keep the water running while brushing teeth. By cleaning dishes in dishwasher, we will use less water than if we would clean them by hand, under stream of running water.

Shopping can save a lot money, especially if we plan the trip to the store. First we need to decide what we really need to buy, versus what we would like to buy. Going to the store, we can either walk there, use bicycle or use public transportation to get there. We should also bring our own, reusable shopping bags, especially nowadays many retailers charge additionally for single use bags. If we end up getting single use bags, we can recycle them and use as trash can liners. Don’t be afraid buying secondhand items. Exchange clothes and toys with friends and family (always make sure, that they are clean). Unused food and leftovers can be turned into valuable compost, which can be used for growing vegetables and herbs in pots, on patio or on window sill. Buying daily use items and furniture we should look for items that are sturdy and made with natural materials. They will not only last longer but will not pollute if we will have to discard them.

Saving money can go in pair with saving environment.

About the Grantee

County of Bergen, Division of Senior Services

As the lead agency for the Bergen County’s Aging and Disability Resource Connection (ADRC), the Division helps older adults, individuals with disabilities over the age of 18, and caregivers access the complex, long-term care, community-based, health and human services.