These days, more and more Nevadans are environmentally conscious and wish to live a sustainable lifestyle. They want to lower their use of the planet’s resources and reduce their carbon footprint in order to contribute to a healthier planet for future generations.
There are many ways to accomplish a more sustainability-minded lifestyle, from altering transportation habits to reducing household energy consumption. Some lifestyle changes are easier said than done, but adjustments you can make right here at home can go a long way.
The University of Nevada Cooperative Extension offers some great tips to take advantage of the benefits of sustainable living around your home.1 These include planting fruit trees and vegetable and herb gardens, and having deciduous trees on the south and west side of your home to help cut cooling bills. If the weather’s nice, consider hanging your clothes on a clothesline to dry instead of using an energy-sapping clothes dryer.
To use less water in your yard, switch from grass to “water-smart” landscaping using materials native to your area. In Southern Nevada, you may even qualify for a rebate of $2 per square foot for replacing your thirsty lawn with plantings that require less water.2 You can also save water by collecting rain water in containers, and using a bucket to save the water that runs down the drain while you’re waiting for the shower to warm up.
When it comes to sustainable transportation, there are five elements to consider, according to Shrink That Footprint, an independent research group.3 These are: fuel economy, occupancy, electrification, “pedal power,” and urbanization. Fuel economy is about getting the same mileage while generating fewer emissions. Occupancy is about getting more people in the same vehicle (and thus reducing the number of vehicles in use). This could come in the form of public transportation, carpooling, or ride-sharing. Electrification, of course, refers to electric vehicles as opposed to gas-fueled vehicles. “Pedal power” refers to using bicycles in place of automobiles, since they eliminate carbon emissions. Urbanization refers to living in an urban environment to reduce the amount of driving you have to do to get from one place to the other.
If you get a chance, you may wish to pay a visit to the NV Energy Foundation Sustainability Gallery4 in the Desert Living Center at Springs Preserve in Las Vegas. This is a place where visitors can learn about living an eco-friendly lifestyle by experiencing interactive exhibits, including a complete house full of sustainable appliances, fixtures, and decor, which is sure to give you some ideas.
“This exhibit includes the major areas of a typical Southwest home – kitchen, bathroom, living room, laundry room, even patio and landscaping – showcasing sustainable building materials and resource-efficient products for homeowners and renters,” the center’s website explains. “Featured items include sustainable flooring, low-flow bath fixtures, energy-efficient lighting and appliances, stylish furniture made from recycled materials and an oversized thermostat that lets visitors set it to their desired temperature and see how the changes affect seasonal energy costs, as well as recommending ideal settings.”4
The gallery even includes a simulated Las Vegas neighborhood, with focuses on recycling, composting, alternative energy, sustainable construction, and water conservation. As visitors take all of this in, they also encounter “Smart Shopper” kiosks, which provide additional information on making eco-friendly choices. This only scratches the surface of what the gallery offers, though. Other features include sustainability video games and a “Garbage Truck Theater,” which is literally a life-size garbage truck made of recycled materials that doubles as a theater and shows a movie about the difference between “trash” and “treasure.”
Sustainable living may seem like it requires a great deal of effort, and it’s true that some aspects of it can. If you’re talking about making physical changes to your home or mode of transportation, these can require some major lifestyle modifications. However, quite a few areas of sustainability require no more than a decision to change and the determination to follow through on your decision.
The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank, a division of ZB, N.A.
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