Although you may not realize it, the choices you make during the home buying and moving process can have a large impact on sustainability. The house you choose to move into can have varying effects on your carbon footprint depending on its energy consumption. Then once it becomes time to start the moving process, there’s the potential to create a lot of waste if you’re not careful. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to ensure sustainability throughout the home buying and moving process. No matter what stage you’re currently in, these are some of the ways that you can be more environmentally responsible.
Look for a Green Home
At-home energy consumption is one of the biggest contributors to each individual’s carbon footprint. Some of the factors that could affect the total energy usage include the sources of energy (natural gas, electricity, renewable source, etc.) and whether or not the home is deemed energy-efficient. So when looking for a home with your real estate agent, make sure that you’re asking plenty of questions about energy consumption. Are there any sources of renewable energy? Is the home certified “green” by ENERGY STAR or LEED? You can also inquire about past energy bills that you can review to familiarize yourself with typical energy usage. Being able to compare the home’s energy usage with local and state averages will give you an idea of whether or not your home is greener than the rest.
Pack Using Recycled Materials
Buying all new packing materials for your move is a quick way to create lots of unnecessary waste. Try to repurpose materials that you already have on hand or ones that you can easily acquire through friends and family. Old cardboard boxes, newspaper, plastic storage containers, blankets, and towels are just a few of the many options for green packing materials. If you do need to purchase new materials like bubble wrap or packing tape, make sure that you’re choosing options that are either made from recycled goods or biodegradable sources. Once you’re finally moved in, don’t just throw everything away, either. Put your materials into storage for future moves, donate them to someone else who is moving, or simply recycle what you can.
Donate Unwanted Items
The moving process is a great time to evaluate all of your belongings. As you begin to pack things up, decide whether or not each item is something you truly need to bring with you. The less you transport to your new home, the fewer trips you need to make and the less waste you’ll produce. Not to mention, you’ll also save money on moving costs. The first thing that may come to mind is donating large furniture items, which is a great place to start. However, whether they’re large or small, there are several ways to donate household goods while moving. Food, clothes, books, electronics, and many other items are great items to donate to local charities.
Hire Green Moving Companies
As people are striving to be more eco-conscious, so are moving companies. Whether you’re renting a truck and moving on your own, or plan on hiring the full services of a moving company, try to find a local option that practices moving in an environmentally friendly fashion. Moving trucks require a lot of gasoline and create a lot of emissions, especially if you’re moving long-distance. Therefore, try to find a moving company that offers trucks that run on biofuel. You can also seek out movers that use eco-friendly materials or reusable bins that you return after moving.
The home buying and moving process isn’t exactly conducive to being environmentally friendly. However, with a few easy adjustments and an eco-conscious mindset, it’s easy to act more sustainably every step of the way.