Living a green and sustainable life is slowly becoming the common principle among the people of this world. More and more are trying — and succeeding — to live green, to use natural resources, to waste less energy, and to create less pollution. Presently, senior citizens (age 65+) account for 13% of the U.S. population alone, and by 2050, it’s estimated that the senior population will rise to 20.9%.
Seniors vs. Technology
Our senior citizens make up a big and significant part of the society, so why shouldn’t they try to live green, as well? The seniors of today may be concerned with leaving the planet in good shape for their grandchildren. And the current crop of millennials and Generation X-ers are working to ensure a cleaner, greener future when they become seniors in 2050 and beyond.
The misconception about seniors adopting a greener lifestyle is that they are usually wary of new technological developments, and that any kind of progress is usually related to technological advances that they don’t understand. It is true that living green has become easier due to many new and innovative technologies, but technology is not a requirement for greener living. There are many easier, less expensive ways of living green and conserving energy, and fewer obstacles for our seniors to do it, as well.
Check out some tips for greener living for seniors and how it can benefit them – and the Earth:
- Think about lighting and the light bulbs you use. Older, incandescent bulbs are both a safety hazard and a waste of energy. The amount of light they produce is poor and they don’t properly light a room — which can cause slips and falls, in addition to causing eye strain and headaches. Moreover, these bulbs consume a lot of energy and increase utility bills.
Replacing those old bulbs with newer LED bulbs is a simple way to save money and energy, not to mention, it also creates safer living conditions. LED bulbs are low in energy consumption, but high in quality and return on investment. You can slowly start changing the bulbs in the rooms you use most, and eventually change them all when older bulbs burn out. Another great energy-saving option for seniors to consider are motion-sensing bulbs for your stairs and hallways. These bulbs will light up whenever you walk past them and are triggered by movement. In turn, this can save you money, energy, and create a safer environment.
- You can also look to energy-efficient appliances as a way of green home improvement. According to Energy.gov, household appliances such as refrigerators, washers, dryers, and more account for 13% of energy costs. By switching to Energy Star-qualified appliances, these products are approximately 20% more energy-efficient than older models purchased before 1994. Additionally, Energy Star-qualified dishwashers use 5.8 gallons of water per cycle compared to the 10 gallons used by older models.
Not only can these appliances save you on your monthly bills, but making other eco-friendly improvements to your home (including solar panels and geothermal heat pumps) can net you a tax credit equal to 30% of the total cost of your home improvement purchase. This 30% tax credit is available until 2019 and declines a little each year before ending in 2021.
- Many seniors are probably aware that many home cleaning products can be full of chemicals that have negative effects on both health and the environment. Many seniors already use old school, tried-and-true, natural, homemade products that are just as efficient as their commercial-grade counterparts. Things like baking soda, lemon juice, vinegar etc. can be used for many household cleaning chores – for cleaning everything from the floors to clothes. Using these natural cleaning methods will also save you money on buying cleaning products, and create less waste and pollution.
- Saving water is as important as saving energy. You can save both at the same time! When washing the dishes or your laundry, make sure you have a full load. This way it will be more efficient and will save you more water and energy than when washing smaller loads more frequently. If you are in need of some new appliances, be sure to check out Energy Star-certified ones because they are more energy efficient and green.
There you have it! As you can see, greener living doesn’t always require technology, gadgets, or big renovation projects on your house in order to make your life cleaner and greener. If you are caring for an older loved one, try and introduce some of these tips into their daily routine. And if you’re a senior or approaching retirement age, you can see for yourself how some of these simple tips can benefit both your quality of life and your budget.
Author Bio: Matt Reilly is a writer and editor on home improvement, construction, and green technology for a roofing company.