Sustainable living sounds hard, but it doesn’t have to be.
So much of sustainable living and caring for the environment is not about adding more things to our to-do list or our responsibilities, but about rethinking the way we are already living life. We are constantly making choices that have an effect on us and on the world around us. All it takes is some intentional decisions to re-form these daily choices, replacing absentminded choices with sustainable ways to care for creation — and in so doing, allowing our souls to flourish as well.
As we learned in the first post of this series, our union with Jesus Christ as the maker and restorer of all things is the basis for our desire to create a sustainable life. Creation care is a crucial intersection of the gospel and our daily life, and for that reason, we must pay attention to the practices that are forming us.
We have made it to the last part of this Sustainable Ways to Live a Sustainable Life series. Throughout this series, we have been talking about how we can make simple, sustainable changes to our daily choices that will have a loving and lasting effect on our environment and our souls as we steward God’s creation well. If you’re just jumping into this conversation, we have addressed recycling and reducing our plastic waste in previous posts.
Today I would like to share some simple ways to reduce both energy and water use within the household. Some of these things may be surprising, and you can easily practice them as ways to steward well the gifts you’ve been given.
- Wash clothes in cold water to reduce the use of energy from the hot water heater. Also, make sure you change the settings each time to match the size of the laundry load.
- Raise or lower the thermostat depending on the season, whenever you are out of the house for the day, out of town or going to sleep.
- Switch to new light bulbs. Walk down the light bulb aisle, and you’ll see all kinds of new light bulbs, such as energy-efficient halogen incandescents, CFLs and LEDs. If you switch to these, you could reduce your energy use by as much as 80%.
- Turn off all lights, appliances and electronics when you’re not using them. In addition, you can stop phantom energy use bt unplugging phone and computer chargers when you’re not using them, as well as hairdryers, hair straightens, etc. If you have too many items to unplug, consider a power strip, which can turn off multiple items at once.
- Use ceiling fans all summer to reduce the use of A/C. Even when ceiling fans are running on high, they use less energy than a running A/C.
- Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth and washing your hands.Water flows out of the average faucet at 5 gallons a minute. Don’t let all that water go down the drain while you brush! Turn off the faucet after you wet your brush, and leave it off until it’s time to rinse.
- Take showers instead of baths. It takes about 70 gallons of water to fill a bathtub, so showers are generally the more water-efficient way to bathe.
- Around 22% of your indoor home water use happens when you do the laundry. Adjust the settings to the proper load size before you wash clothes to save water.
- Only about 2% of your water footprint involves dishwashing, but you can still find small ways to conserve. A surprising fact: Washing dishes in a machine (which uses about 6 gallons of water) is actually more water efficient than washing by hand (which uses about 20 gallons).
See how well you are doing with your Water Footprint by taking this Water Calculator quiz! The results can be truly surprising, and can inspire you to put these practices in use!
Living a sustainable life doesn’t have to be hard. Simply re-forming your everyday habits about water and energy use can make a big difference and glorify God.