With Earth Day approaching, it makes sense to evaluate your contributions when it comes to protecting the environment. While investing in solar power or driving a hybrid vehicle are often the most talked about ways to go green, just a few small changes around the house can create a big impact with little or no cost to you.

Better Habits, Better Environment

Fortunately, one of the simplest ways to cut down on your carbon footprint can also save you money. A genuine effort to reduce your utility consumption can start by developing some new habits at home.

Rather than flipping the light switch, consider opening up your blinds and curtains to take advantage of the natural light and longer days this time of year. And, instead of reaching for the thermostat, make the most of your ceiling fans and open up the windows to enjoy comfortable springtime temperatures. For a relatively small investment, you can upgrade to one of the many smart thermostat options and ensure your HVAC system isn’t running unnecessarily when no one is home.

Smart Recycling

Many neighborhoods now offer curbside recycling. While this is an obvious way to contribute to the green movement, be sure you are familiar with the rules of what can and cannot be recycled in your community. Being careless about what you add to the bin could ruin an entire load of recycling, and do more harm than good.

If a green thumb is part of your go green plan, creating a composting program can reduce waste and improve the soil for your yard and garden. Details on how to get started with this win-win initiative are available from the EPA.

Wasteful Water

Mother Nature will also thank you for cutting down on your water usage. Your first step is to make sure there are no leaky faucets or running toilets in your home. While these may seem minor, they can waste an enormous amount of water in the long term.

If you have a sprinkler system, make sure it’s only running during the coolest parts of the day and that you’re not overwatering your yard. Similarly, rain barrels or other rainwater-capturing efforts are an inexpensive way to keep your plants happy all summer long.

Green your Mailbox

Another tactic that you don’t need to be an environmentalist to appreciate is reducing the amount of paper showing up in your mailbox. Enrolling your accounts in paperless billing can replace a monthly statement with an email.

You can also opt out of pre-screened credit and insurance offers for free at www.optoutprescreen.com. For a small fee, you can restrict your mail even further via www.dmachoice.org

Happy Earth Day, from Open Mortgage. We’ll have more stories about green initiatives throughout the month, and how they could impact you. In the meantime, our lending experts are ready to answer your mortgage questions, so contact us today.

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