Whether you want to help save the environment or just save yourself some quick cash there are plenty of easy to do green projects that you can do yourself with little knowledge or experience. Some of the projects will require more experience then others, and some will cost more then others but no matter what you expertise there is a home project here for you that will help lower your carbon footprint and save your pocketbook too.
1. Make a clothesline. A clothesline is a great way to save some money on the gas bill by not using your dryer or limiting the use of it. Some people prefer the way there clothes feel when dried in the sun if you are not one of them don’t worry you can toss your clothes in for only a few minutes to get the wrinkles out and have that regular dryer feeling you are used to. A clothesline is simple and inexpensive. You can use whatever materials you want but you will need two large sticks of some kind for poles. Then you tie a line between the poles and put your clothes on the line. It takes a little more work but its saves a little money and reduces your carbon footprint too.
2. In the summer an easy way to reflect some of that nasty heat is to get aluminum foil and place it shiny side facing outside. This will help cool down the house inexpensively and save you lots of money and energy. Some people make there own aluminum foil curtains, or you can glue the foil to a board, you can be creative with how you want to use the foil. If you fill silly having the neighbors see the aluminum foil in your windows you can always just place them in windows that the neighbors wont see. Every little bit helps after all.
3. Placing a brick in your toilet to lower the amount of water that you use every time you flush is easy. Just saving the amount of water that brick takes up will save you plenty of water by the end of the year.
4. You can buy a low flow showerhead; just taking a shower instead of a bath saves a lot of water. If you are going to take an hour shower then you are not saving water but a regular shower of 10-20 minutes uses less water then the average bath. Low flow showerheads are easy to put on just follow the simple directions on the package and they are inexpensive and can be found at hardware stores or stores like Wal-Mart or Target.
5. Make or buy a solar water heater. If you have some simple plumbing skills you can attach a solar water heating system to your house easily. If you are more adventurous home made ones are often almost as good as the professional thing but at much lower cost. You can find plenty of sites online telling you how to make your own. One of the simplest options is to get black hose and coil it and put it up on your roof, it might seem simple but on a hot day you might be able to get most of your water needs with something so simple. Heating water takes about a third of the energy used in your house including heating laundry water, dishes, and bathing even a makeshift 5 gallons of free heated energy will help out a lot.
6. If heating is what you need then a good choice is a trombe wall. The trombe wall is a simple wall or room next to your house that will pull heat into your house. You can use various materials such as a rammed earth wall right in front of your wall a couple of feet to a small greenhouse that is a few feet away from your wall. How a trombe wall works is by directing the flow of heat, one of the most efficient features is keeping heat in during the night as it acts like insulation.
7. Switch to CFL bulbs. Doing this is as easy as putting in new light bulbs. You can also buy LED light bulbs which last almost forever and take a far smaller amount of power to run but they require a larger investment while many electric companies offer discounts for CLF’s making them as cheap as regular bulbs. LED’s can cost $20 just for one bulb but that bulb will last you your whole life and will save you lost of electricity over its life.
8. Solar power is becoming a more realistic option then it had been a decade ago. Solar is still expensive. You will most likely need to buy a kit that comes with a power inverter. If you do not know a lot about electronics you should not buy solar cells if you don’t get a full kit. Solar cells need to be mounted on a roof or on the ground. Then the DC current they produce needs to go to a power inverter that will convert it to the AC that your house uses. From the inverter it should be plugged into your house. Now if you have no idea what we are talking about DC, AC, inverter etc then you probably should not be thinking about getting a solar system it is not as simple as an appliance you just plug in and it is a big investment.
9. If solar seems to expensive then wind energy might be for you. Wind energy is more economical in other words you get more power for less money. A great new company has started this year that offers the best price for generators with 2kw generators going for only $150 currently they are constantly improving the design and after selling in Europe for the last 6 months they are now ready to sale in the US (they are an American company and made in America). These generators do require that you have some knowledge of electricity though, but if you know about electronics then the zephyr wind generator for only $150 giving a max output of 2kw, which is roughly, twice the average home use is a great choice. The same rules apply to solar and wind, you are getting DC power that will need an inverter unless you live off-grid. One great advantage to wind is you get all day long and are not limited to the day, though you will not get the same level of power all day long. Solar also does not get the same amount of energy, at different times of the year more or less power will be available and you will lose power in the shade.
10. Buy an emergency washing machine and you will use less water and electricity. Emergency washing machines need little water and soap and no electricity. It might sound like a lot of work but they only need to be turned a few times. They are also inexpensive to buy it cost about $20 to get an emergency washing machine. If there is a problem such as the electricity gets shut off then you still have your washing machine. They take up much less room then a traditional machine and also take less time to get your laundry finished washing which is particularly helpful if you are drying laundry outside as it gives you more time for clothes to dry. The price is also great if you find you are going to have to buy a new washing machine.
These are just a few of the many easy DIY home improvements that you can make that will save you money and help save our planets resources.