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5 DIY projects to save money and the environment

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Our increasing carbon footprint is having profound, negative effects on our environment. Every second of the day, the sun is sending energy to the earth. The earth absorbs this energy and heats up. Unabsorbed energy goes back into space, which causes the earth to cool down. Nature has put this system in place, however, we impact this process with our carbon emissions.

So why should we reduce our carbon footprint? Carbon emissions absorb energy, which slows or prevents the transfer of energy from earth to space. When this occurs, the earth holds onto heat and temperatures rise. Rising temperatures and shifting precipitation patterns are changing the growing patterns of our plants, sea levels are rising, habitats are being destructed and species are going extinct. Fortunately, you can learn how to reduce your carbon footprint at home with these 5 DIY projects.

Create a compost bin to feed your garden.

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Most of us use fertilizer to feed our gardens. However, we often don’t think that products such as fertilizer are major producers of greenhouse gases. Why not replace your fertilizer with compost? This will cut down on carbon emissions and also help your garden be as green as it can be. Building a compost pile is easy! Gather some carbon-rich materials (such as dead flowers or shredded newspaper), some nitrogen-rich materials (such as grass, vegetable peels and fruit rinds), some garden soil and some straw. Choose your compost site and spread the straw at the bottom of the pit. Next, add the nitrogen-rich materials followed by a layer of soil. Finish with the carbon-rich materials and then repeat this process. Don’t forget to water each layer as you go and to turn the pile twice a month.

Replace your old thermostat with a programmable thermostat.

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You can reduce your home’s heating and cooling costs by about 15 percent with a programmable thermostat. It automatically keeps the temperature at a comfortable level when you’re home, but switches to an energy-saving level when you’re away or asleep. Programmable thermostats will work with most gas or oil furnaces and central air conditioners. However, heat pumps, electric baseboards, and a few other systems require special features. CNM online have a fantastic range of programmable thermostats, ranging from simple programmable models to more expensive thermostats with various options. Be sure to read the packaging to make sure the programmable thermostat you buy is compatible with your heating and cooling system.

Install Low-Flow showerheads.

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As an average homeowner, about 20-25% of your home’s water usage comes from showering. This amount of water uses a whole lot of energy, which in turn increases your carbon footprint. However, you can now purchase low-flow showerheads to eliminate this problem. Remove your plumbing fixtures from your existing showerhead and take them with you to your local hardware store to ensure you purchase the correct size. There are two basic types of low-flow showerheads: aerating and laminar-flow. Aerating shower heads mix air with water, forming a misty spray. Laminar-flow showerheads form individual streams of water. Choose the model that’s right for you and be on your way to helping save the environment!

Shade your home.

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Shading is the best way to save energy in the summer months. Shading saves energy by blocking out the direct sunlight that is responsible for about 50% of the heat gain in your home. Most of it strikes the roof and works its way through the attic, then down through the ceiling; the rest comes in mainly through windows. You can take a harder DIY route by upgrading your attic insulation or buying light-colored roofing next time you reroof. Both of these options will stop the majority of roof heat. However, you can also take some easier low-cost steps to shade your home. Planting trees where the sun hits your home is a great way to provide natural shading. You can also attach awnings or extend roof overhangs to shade the most vulnerable south-facing windows.

Change your bulbs.

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In a typical home, lighting accounts for around 10-20% of the electricity bill. Why not change your traditional incandescent lighting to a more energy efficient option and save money on your overall energy bill. Installing five low energy light bulbs will cost about £15 and could save you as much as £32 a year. It’s also important to consider your external lighting and think about swapping your security floodlights for energy saving floodlights instead!