Most of us are aware by now that living green has benefits not only for our lifestyle and our bank account, but for our planet. It behooves us all to stay mindful of the ways in which we can take steps daily towards green smart living with the understanding that each step contributes to a healthier environment. Green energy is cheaper than fossil fuels allowing us to spend less while protecting our natural resources.

Here are ways to live green at home and beyond. We cannot change our current lifestyle over night, but we can begin with each step.

• Replace your old appliances with Energy Star appliances to conserve energy at home, and take advantage of tax rebates for doing so.

• Consider replacing your current how water heater with a solar hot water heater to use the energy of the sun and to save you money.

• Install automatic motion and sound sensors on lights inside and outside your home. It is too easy for lights to be left on especially in a large household. Installation of these outside helps create a natural environment while increasing your savings.

• Keep track of your utility expenses while you implement mindful energy saving practices to see what is working. Keep tweaking your green methods to obtain your goal. Consult your local utility company if needed for extra advice on how to reduce your costs.

• Run your dishwasher only when it is FULL.

• Use a clothesline when possible to conserve the huge energy consumption of the dryer.

• Recycle, reuse and start composting!

• Adjust your thermostat settings to reflect seasonal temperatures, and be willing to wear more sweaters in winter and sweat more for your health in summer. Install ceiling fans for summer cooling as well as circulating rising warm air in winter. Programmable thermostats can help you regulate temperatures throughout the day and night.

• Consider solar panel installation to heat your home. You will need to determine if your climate produces significant sunshine, and if your home is situated to take advantage of the sun’s energy.

• Consider the use of monitors to measure the watts of your appliances to determine which ones use the most energy so you can replace these first.

• Make your own ice the old fashioned way with ice trays, and simply keep a bucket full of ice in the freezer. Ice makers use way more energy than is necessary, and are prone to leaking.

• Lean toward light colored walls as opposed to darker walls which require more lighting of the space after dark. Lighter colors make your home feel brighter naturally.

• Explore geothermal heating and cooling systems if solar systems are not suitable for your home or location. Geothermal is a very efficient system that relies on steady ground temperatures.

• Carpool whenever possible, whether taking turns with other parents to transport children to and from school or share rides with a friend to run errands.

• Research your local and federal tax rebates and deductions for using green energy in your home. There are many government incentive programs along with upcoming energy companies that offer free solar and wind installations.

• Choose a green interior designer if you are looking to redecorate your home. They will be up to date on all the various sustainable home products and options to help you live green.

• Job opportunities in green energy and technology are on the rise. Consider a new career which can become a meaningful path for making a difference.

It is only a matter of time until we are all living green. Why not begin green smart living now, and become an example to others of how to live in harmony with nature.

Green Living: A Sustainable and Smart Approach to Modern Life. We live on such a beautiful planet—Earth—our home, and yet as we look around we know that we have not taken care of our home in the best of ways.