Going Green at Home Incrementally

One of the great aspects to going green at home is that there are so many diverse ways we can be more sustainable. Going green is not a label exclusively earned by those of us that live off the grid, or don’t own a car. The simplest of eco-friendly changes can add-up to significant financial savings, if we are prepared to make enough of them.

Small Change, Small Benefit

One of the common objections to going green at home changes is the small cost saving. For example, changing light bulbs from incandescent to CFL‘s and LED’s. This does require an up-front investment, and the immediate monthly electricity savings may only be a few dollars. This is not enough of an impact for many to move to action.

A better approach to making a green transition is the incremental method. By making many small changes, one at a time, the savings from each will aggregate to a significant sum, especially over the long-term.


I liken this approach to pulling levers. Imagine 100 levers on a wall, each representing a simple change towards a greener lifestyle, and a marginal financial benefit. Pull a single lever, and you may not even see a difference. Pull a dozen levers and there is a noticeable impact. Pull 50 levers and you have made substantial change and are realizing a huge financial advantage over those that are less proactive.

H 2 O

Let’s use water as one example for going green at home. Water is expensive, so this makes it great place to look for savings. Conservation options abound: bucket wash the car, shorter showers, have the kids share bath water, plant a native garden that needs less manual watering, and so many more. Efficiencies can also be found: low-flush / dual-flush toilets, super low-flow shower heads, water sensitive dishwashers, recirculating water systems that provide immediate hot water and avoid wasting bucket-loads every time you turn on the tap.

Each simple change represents you pulling a small lever, and making a simple change in lifestyle. The cumulative benefit will be substantial, from an energy and resource perspective and a financial one. It simply makes sense to use less of a resource if you can when you are going green at home.

Beyond water, applying incremental conservation, and efficiency improvements, and seeking alternatives for other major resource areas, can realise even greater savings. Electricity, natural gas, and transportation are areas that we can make several quick and easy changes and realize the benefits.

Our House

We have enjoyed some success reducing our electricity costs every year since we moved in three (3) years ago. The lights were the first change, CFL’s and LED’s are the obvious low-hanging fruit. When renovating our kitchen, energy-efficient appliances were a top priority. We improved the insulation, to reduce the load on our mechanical heating and cooling systems. This year we replaced the air conditioner to one that is more than twice as efficient as the older model. We are also constantly making the children aware of the importance of closing doors properly as they enter and exit the house. I hope to find more efficiencies while we continue going green at home, but I don’t know if I can reduce our costs every year indefinitely.

Your Experience of going green at home.

Do you approach “going green at home” incrementally, or do you go all-in?

21 thoughts on “Going Green at Home Incrementally

  1. We have been making a gradual change as well. Like you said little things like light bulbs and not using paper towels and napkins. Now we are doing the composting and rain barrel thing. We are just trying to be mindful of our “greeness”.

  2. I really like your analogy of levers. I think this is a great way to accomplish anything you want to do, besides being green. It helps show the stepping stones along the way so one can celebrate the small successes which add up to the big successes. Great way to keep people motivated. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks Miss T. This is a strategy that professional athletes use when preparing for a major competition. Each small step towards preparedness amounts to winning. I can be overwhelmed with seemingly massive undertakings, so this incremental strategy appeals to me.

    1. Transitioning is expensive; an investment is usually required to purchase more efficient technology. It makes sense to spread this out.

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