Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Guest Post- Benefits of "Greener" Self Sufficiency

This guest post is presented here by Ryan Halston. Ryan is a recent graduate of the University of Central Florida, with a Bachelors in English. Welcome Ryan and thank you!

The Benefits of “Greener” Self Sufficiency

Going green and beginning on the path to self sustenance can seem like an incredibly intimidating project. However even with just a few subtle changes and no need to rebuild your home, or drop completely off of the power grid, one can see the wealth of benefits that can come along with a self sufficient lifestyle. Growing your own fruits and vegetables in a garden and changing the type of light bulbs you use to inspecting and ensuring that your home is properly insulated are just a few in a multitude of ways anyone can start on the path to self sufficiency.

At first glance it would seem that changing out the light bulbs in your home would be the easiest of the examples I listed, and that speculation isn’t too far off. Replacing incandescent lighting with more energy efficient compact fluorescent (CFL) or LED lighting is a great way to reducing your energy dependence. Energy efficient lighting can save you around $110 per year, and almost never need replacement, not to mention save a ton of carbon dioxide. Just make sure to be careful of the mercury content in fluorescent lighting if you do decide to change them over.

Another incredibly easy way to improve self sufficiency is to start your own garden and compost. Not only can this process help in the reduction of food miles, it helps reduce the dependency of having to buy your fruits and vegetables, as well as providing you with the freshest and most affordable product possible. You control every part of the product from the seed to the actual produce, and this process can save you some money cutting out the middle-man as well. Before beginning gardening however, make sure to have soil tests performed to minimize the possibility of lead contaminated soils.

One of the biggest sources of power grid dependency is heating and cooling, thus making insulation one of the most important changes that you can make in both going greener and becoming more self sufficient, and for multiple reasons. Many utility companies will inspect your home’s insulation for free along with the regular services they offer, and it is wise to do this to insure energy is being maximized and being used efficiently. A house that is properly cam save you thousands on power expenses, but more importantly can inform you if your house has been insulated with asbestos, a deadly toxin used throughout the 1970’s. Asbestos still exists in many older homes and has been known to link to diseases like leukemia, asbestosis, and mesothelioma. These diseases are incredibly fatal and can be directly link to asbestos exposure, so at the sake of both your health and your wallet, this is one of the most benefits of engaging in green and self sufficient living.

Though met with more recent criticism, the benefits of a self sufficient, green lifestyle are apparent, and even something like these three small steps can set you off in the right direction. Without much work you can start living in a nice clean house, breathing healthy air, living off of your own greens, and keep a lot more of that green in your wallet as well.

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