If you are into self-improvement you might want to consider developing greener habits. When you hear the term ‘self-improvement’, what comes to mind? It may be reading more books, working to get to the peak of your career, or making use of your dormant gym membership. These are all great ways to improve yourself, but what if you could do them and do them all while thinking ‘green’? Helping the world around you while improving your bad habits can be a rewarding feeling.
Self-improvement and greener habits
How then, can you marry self-improvement and greener habits? It’s about being more environmentally conscious when going about your daily life. Educating yourself so you know how your actions impact the environment could also go a long way.
Below, you’ll find out how sustainable living and smart home connectivity can help your self-improvement efforts.
Cleaner Energy is Healthier
If living a healthier life is at the top of your self-improvement list, then using cleaner energy is a way to start. By using clean energy, you’re reducing your exposure to harmful emissions and wasting fewer natural resources. For the most part, renewable energy means better quality air and water.
So what kind of renewable energy forms are there, and which ones can you use? The U.S. generates several electricity sources and some are cleaner than others. A few worth mentioning are fossil fuels and nuclear energy. There are also renewable energies like solar power, hydropower, and wind. Solar power, in particular, is on the rise as at least two million homes in America are using solar panels. This may not seem like that many homes, but when you consider where we’re coming from, it’s notable progress.
If eating clean is part of your self-improvement agenda, using a solar oven cooker is a greener way to do it. This is especially ideal if you aren’t ready to power your entire home with renewable energy. Solar ovens work by harnessing rays from the sun to cook your food. If you have time to pass, you can leave your solar oven outside for several hours to slow cook your meals. A faster alternative would be to change the position of the oven every 30 minutes so that it’s facing the sun.
If you’re worried about whether your renewable energy system will work on cloudy days, it will. This is because solar energy requires daylight as opposed to direct sunlight.
Clean Energy Can Save You Money Long-term
If one of your self-improvement goals is to save more, consider converting to clean energy. This could help you save a lot of your dough, as renewable energy is currently the cheapest source of energy generation. Although the outright cost of installing renewable energy systems could range from $16,200 to $21,400, there are ways to reduce this cost. Two viable options you’ll read more about below are green loans and energy-efficient tax credits.
Green loans were first introduced as government initiatives. The goal was to encourage people to make energy-saving improvements in their homes. It is also accessible to businesses that want to operate in a greener way. To get a green loan, try a government-insured FHA loan or a conventional loan. In case you’re wondering what you can use green loans for, home remodeling, installing solar panels, and green landscaping are a few examples.
Energy-Efficient Tax Credits
Energy-efficient tax credits allow you to claim a tax credit for home improvements that boost your energy efficiency. The good thing is that unlike a loan, it doesn’t have to be paid back so it reduces the overall cost of installing solar energy systems. Below is a list of a few tax credits you could consider.
- Solar Energy: the Federal Solar Tax Credit is ideal for those who want to use solar energy. You’d be able to deduct 30% of the cost of installing a solar energy system from your federal taxes. This means if you spent $17,000, you’d get $5,100 back.
- Geothermal Heat: if you choose to install a geothermal heat pump system at home, you could get a tax credit. You’d be eligible for 30% off the amount you spent on purchasing and installing the system.
- Small Wind Energy: The Investment Tax Credit for wind is targeted at those that use a certified wind turbine for energy. You could get a tax credit equal to 30% of your expenditures.
- Alternative Fuels: If you drive a car that uses alternative fuels, see if you’re eligible for the Alternative Motor Vehicle Credit. Another option is to use a plug-in electric car. Seeing as motor vehicles contribute to 75% of carbon monoxide pollution in the U.S., switching over would help the environment.
You should note that from January 1st, 2020, the percentage you can deduct will begin reducing. It will go down from 30% to 26% for systems put in place between January and December 2020. From 2021, it will go down to 22%. Perhaps you would like to begin to develop these greener habits sooner than later.
Automation Can Help You Develop Greener Habits
According to Psychology Today, a study found that it could take up to 66 days to form a habit. This may be shocking to those who believe the saying that it takes 21 days to form a habit. If you’re worried about how you can change several habits within this timeframe, perhaps tackle one at a time. Using automation to help you develop better habits could also help with consistency.
For instance, if your goal was to recycle more, you could use home automation tools like Google Home or Alexa. Their reminders or calendars can ensure you don’t forget to do things like recycle. Reminders can also be set for you to follow the European model of grocery shopping every time you go to the store. This means you’d only buy what you need for a couple of days at a time to reduce food waste as well as save money. If you tend to have a lot of food waste, why not start composting as a way to dispose of vegetable waste and fruit scraps?
Another example would be using automation to help you save money. Automated lighting makes it possible for you to control the lighting of your home remotely, which means you can turn off lights that aren’t in use. Aside from lowering your energy bill, this is a way of reducing your carbon print too. Using a smart home thermostat is also a green way to save as you can control heating, water, and A/C temperatures. A final example would be to reduce the amount of energy your home security system uses. You can do so by choosing green outdoor lights to reduce energy consumption and help the planet.
Share Your Self-Improvement With Others
Some people include positively impacting others as a self-improvement goal. If this is the case for you, share your journey to self-improvement through greener habits. For instance, you could practice your eco-friendly habits at work as well as at home. A way to do this would be to use your Google Home Assistant to remind you to recycle in the office. Another eco-friendly reminder would be to buy a new mug for your drinks instead of using plastic cups. Sharing your journey via a blog would also be nice if you have IT skills. It’s a way to circulate information on personal development and greener habits.
Self-development is a continuous process of improvement that never ends. However, the rewards can far outweigh the sacrifices, especially when you’re improving yourself and the planet.
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