Despite the term “sustainable living” having been around for ages, we’re hearing it more and more these days as the drought continues throughout Southern Nevada. Many are realizing that if we don’t start making proactive changes to our ways of life now, our future will be much different than we’ve come to know. However, even with this knowledge, most people don’t know where to start when it comes to living a sustainable life. It can become overwhelming to make considerable changes to your day-to-day life with no guidance on how to do so effectively. So ultimately, many find themselves giving up before they even start. Luckily, making sustainable tweaks to your lifestyle doesn’t have to be a daunting task. In fact, there are many ways you can create impactful change without any major hassle.
Conserve Your Water
One of the best ways to lead a more sustainable lifestyle is to be mindful of your water usage. We use water for so many different things throughout the day that we can begin to overlook how much we’re actually using. Thankfully, there are actually lots of ways that you can be more mindful of your water use without tracking every drop. One of the easiest ways is to remain cognizant of how much water you actually need when washing hands, brushing your teeth, or taking showers. I guarantee it’s actually less than what you are currently using because tap water waste is significant, but also avoidable. Instead of leaving the water running, turning off the tap while you’re brushing your teeth, washing your hands, and washing dishes can save up to three to four gallons a day. Think of how much water you can save annually (and how much more mindful you become) using this simple tip!
Another way you can save water is by keeping your lawn care in mind. Specifically for those of us living in Las Vegas, this can be tough because one way or another, you will have to deal with arid weather conditions. That in itself makes it hard for any landscape to thrive which in return makes it tough to conserve water as well. So, while you’re completing some DIY projects for your new home, try to pick lawn grass that requires little to no water and can withstand the drought since you’re unable to rely on rainfall.
When mowing your lawn, be sure to choose the right height setting for your mower. Proper mowing heights allow for deeper roots to grow and help your lawn withstand the classic wear and tear and heat that comes along with living in LV. Additionally, you may want to keep some grass clippings on the lawn after you mow. Lawn clippings will actually break down pretty quickly and return nutrients back into the soil; which can be beneficial as you cut back on water. Each of these concepts can be key to maintaining your yard and by doing so your lawn will start to maintain itself, which will help it to thrive even without excessive water usage. With a little planning and conscious effort, your lawn can look its best all the while conserving water.
Invest in Solar Panels
One of the greatest ways to live a more sustainable life is to go solar. Getting solar panels for the home significantly decreases your carbon footprint almost immediately and reduces the amount of greenhouse gas emitted into the air. Why is this helpful? Well, when these gases are emitted, they can cause climate change by trapping the Earth’s outgoing energy in the atmosphere. This in combination with the gas’s contributions to wildfires and pollution makes solar panels worth the investment.
In fact, when it comes to pollution in particular, an analysis by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) found that solar power adoption can drastically reduce air pollutants such as nitrous oxides, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter emissions—all of which can cause health issues. The NREL also found that solar power directly results in fewer cases of chronic bronchitis and other respiratory problems. However, even aside from the many ways they benefit our air quality, solar panels are considered more sustainable than other energy sources because they don’t require any water usage. Solar panels actually pull their energy from the sun, while coal mining and fracking require water in their processes which has a huge negative impact on the environment.
Another benefit of solar power is that solar panels increase the value of your home and in return, this added value would allow you to increase the asking price should you ever decide to sell. In today’s market, many buyers like the thought of living green, and homes with solar systems tend to sell faster than homes without. Ultimately, this leaves buyers with the benefit of an eco-friendly home and sellers a profit from the increased value.
While solar panels may provide numerous benefits for homeowners and the environment, they are typically a bit pricey upfront. Fortunately, the cost of solar panels has decreased over the last decade and they don’t require much ongoing maintenance. They have a long-term return on investment as well so the amount of money you’ll save in the long run offsets their upfront costs. In other words, you can receive thousands in additional savings over the course of a solar panel’s lifetime.
Smart Home Systems
Another way you can lead a more sustainable lifestyle that many people aren’t aware of is by installing a smart home system for your house. Not only can it make your home more eco-friendly, but it can also provide a source of entertainment, keep you and your family safe and allow you to be more productive—all while controlling your system from your fingertips.
Residences in Las Vegas typically demand that people rely on air conditioners to keep themselves and their homes cool. Unfortunately, AC units use a lot of power in order to consistently cool your home. A smart home system, however, makes it easier to regulate the cool air that’s being consistently pumped in. The system can be programmed from your smartphone so that it will only be active when someone is in the house and turn itself off when everyone is gone. This, of course, can help save unused energy and money on your utility bill.
In addition to smart cooling, smart home systems also allow you to control your home’s lighting from a phone. Electricity leaves a huge carbon footprint so reducing electrical consumption is a major sustainability win. Like water usage, electricity is also easy to waste. I’m sure we all have forgotten to turn off a light before leaving the house for work and over time, this can have a substantial impact on the environment. Fortunately, being able to control your lighting from your smartphone gives you peace of mind in knowing you can turn off those forgotten lights from the car, the office, or any other place you may be. That makes one less thing to worry about when leaving your home.
Even the smallest of sustainability-focused changes can make a huge difference. Whether you’re able to incorporate one or all of these changes throughout your lifestyle, you’ll be doing your part to clean the environment. A little planning and conscious effort can go a long way toward making a huge impact.