Bringing Sustainability Home

Using environmentally sustainable technology isn’t just a way to conserve resources, it can also help save you money.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average family of four in the United States can use as much as 400 gallons of water every day, and numbers from the U.S. Energy Information Administration show that American households consume hundreds of billions of dollars in energy each year.

Installing solar panels or building a rooftop garden may be out of your budget range, but thanks to some new developments in green tech, bringing sustainability home doesn’t have to be expensive.

###1. Occupancy Sensing Light Switches

Several brands (Leviton, Maestro, Zenith) make affordable versions of these light switches that come equipped with motion sensors, ensuring usage (and your home’s energy output) doesn’t increase when you’re not around.

###2. EcoFlow Shower Head

These low-flow shower heads from Waterpik offer solid pressure while saving water (and money).

###3. Nest Thermostat

The Nest thermostat actually programs itself to “learn” your daily schedule, so that the temperature in areas of your home is only adjusted when you’re actually in them. Nest can be controlled through smartphone and tablet apps that also monitor energy use and savings. It’s a little expensive, but if used properly, it can pay for itself.

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###4. Rubber Mulch

Made from recycled tires—that, thanks to you, won’t end up in a landfill—rubber mulch from companies like GroundSmart provides a green way to bed gardens (it allows easy water flow and prevents weeds) or create an outside play surface that’s more forgiving than gravel. It’s more expensive than wood mulch, but it can also last a lot longer.

###5. Java-Logs

Java-Log firelogs are made from discarded coffee grounds and burn with more energy than wooden logs. They divert 12 million pounds of coffee grounds from being trashed every year and create less than half the amount of carbon monoxide as traditional logs.

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