10 simple ways to reduce your ecological footprint

Earth Day CanadaToday is Earth Day.

Earth Day is about re-evaluating our environmental impact and thinking about ways to reduce it.

When we think of installing solar panels, improving the thermal envelope of our home, purchasing energy efficient appliances and buying electric cars, we often get discouraged by the impact the reduction of our environmental impact has on our wallets.

However, there are a lot of simple and inexpensive things you can do on a day-to-day basis that enable you to reduce your environmental impact.

Here are just 10 simple and inexpensive ways to reduce your ecological footprint (if you’re not already doing so):

1. Drop a couple of bricks or rocks in the reservoir of your toilet (if you don’t have a water saving toilet already), conserving water every time you flush. – Make sure they don’t get in the way of the flushing mechanism!

2. Walk, bike, use public transit or carpool instead of getting in that car all by your lonely self! (Pick up a hitchhiker if you’re driving the car and have room.)

3. Lower your thermostat by 2°C/3.6°F and put on a sweater. Lower your thermostat to 10°C/18°F at night and add a blanket.

4. Install energy efficient lights and turn them off when you walk out of the room. Turn off the stereo, TV, computer and power bars off, too, if you don’t use them!

5. Hang your laundry out to dry instead of using the dryer; they suck energy! Drying racks are pretty cheap.

6. Wash your dishes by hand. Dishwashers use a huge amount of water and energy.

7. Have a compost bucket (and ice cream bucket will do – keep the kitchen sink and create worm composting bin on your balcony or a compost bin in your yard.

8. Disconnect the downspout of the roof gutters from the drain and install a barrel underneath the spout to collect the rain water to water your garden and lawn.

9. Transform your lawn and garden into a xeriscape garden.

10. Better yet, transform your yard and lawn into food producing garden using permaculture principles.

I know #9 and #10 are perhaps not really simple, but it doesn’t have to happen overnight! Work towards it in the next few years!

Happy Earth Day!


Hajo Meijer

Hajo Meijer is the sole proprietor of Ecocentric Design, committed to deeply sustainable architecture. Hajo is a graduate from the faculty of Architecture at the TU Delft in the Netherlands and a certified Passive House Designer. Hajo lives with his family on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. ashima

    this was helpful for me.

  2. Christine Dahyun Jo

    According to an European study(just googled), Unless you’re diligent, hand washing can be extremely wasteful. A European study comparing hand washing to machine dish washing found that hand washers used as much as 27 gallons of water and 2.5 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy to wash 12 place settings, compared with the 4 gallons and 1.5 kWh used by a hyperefficient dishwasher to wash the same number of dishes.

    So I will go with the dishwasher… need to make sure it’s loaded fully.

    1. Hajo Meijer

      Thanks for your insight, Christine!
      I guess it all depend how efficient the dishwashers is – human or machine 😉
      Could you post the link to this European study please?

    2. Hajo Meijer

      I just find this insightfull article on Treehugger which refers to probably the same European study and it points out that dishwashing by hand can be more efficient than a dishwasher provided you are careful about the amount of hot water you use.

  3. Sharee

    This website made it way easier to help save the Earth

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