Most people like the idea of sustainable living. But when it comes to actually putting these beliefs into practice, it can be overwhelming and hard to know where to start. In this post, we want to talk about two strategies of sustainable living that can help reduce your environmental footprint. Going solar and eating locally sourced foods are two attainable ways to start doing so.
In the past, having solar panels on your roof was reserved for only the truest environmental radicals. But now, going solar is becoming more accessible and common. Tax incentives and potential savings for home and business owners are making going solar a reality.
The Solar Power Rocks website has the mission of making people’s solar power aspirations a reality and they offer an amazing comprehensive guide to going solar. They rate different aspects of going solar with letter grades and help you estimate how much money you could save on going solar depending on the size of your home, your current energy bill, and your zip code.
Their overall grade for the state of Illinois (where My Green Mattress is based) is a C—ranking 18th in the nation. Some areas Illinois scored well are RPS law and net metering. Some trouble spots still include lack of rebates and sales tax exemptions. If you are one of our customers that does not live in Illinois, Solar Power Rocks offers a state-by-state guide for you too. Click here to find out more.
Especially if you are in a home you plan on being in for a while, solar is a great investment in your home and in sustainable living. You reduce the use of fossil fuels in your home and depending on which system you use—Solar Power Rocks recommends the 5-kW system for Illinois—your panels will pay for themselves in about 13 years. Not to mention, sleeker designs and the increased popularity in solar energy make them less of an eyesore and something that adds value to your home. Cost of Solar even suggests solar panels add $1 to every $20 of the value of your home.
Eat Locally Sourced Foods
While going solar may not be a viable option for everyone who wants to live more sustainably, one thing everyone can do is be more thoughtful about food sources. In an article by Dummies (as in the books series, and the one referenced in this article “Environmental Science for Dummies”) two ways to be more thoughtful about the food you eat is to eat local and plant your own food.
In this country, most people have the option to go to a grocery store and buy food grown all over the globe. Buying fruits and vegetables that are not in season here in the United States or in your local market uses an incredible amount of fossil fuels. Even if you shop at regular grocery stores, versus natural food stores or farmers markets, you can looks on labels to see where the item was grown. If the item says, “grown in (insert foreign country here)” perhaps switch up your meal plan and make something with more ingredients grown here in the states.
Planting your own garden, no matter how small, will also give you a greater appreciation for where your food comes from. It will decrease the amount of food you need to buy from the store as well. Even a small raised bed or plot along your driveway can provide you with herbs, fruits, and vegetables during the summer and fall.
If you want to learn more about eating locally sourced foods, CMAP (the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning) has some great resources to check out. If you don’t live in Illinois, just a quick Google search for local farmers markets and sustainable restaurants is a good place to start.
If you want to make steps towards living more sustainably, looking into solar power in your region and doing your best to eat local, seasonal foods are great places to start. If we each do what we can to reduce our environmental footprint, the world will become a better place little by little.