Sustainability at Home

Create a more sustainable space with efficient electric and convenient solar options for seasonal household improvements.

Sustainability at home starts with energy conservation and efficiency. Now, with an increasing number of efficient electric and clean energy options for household items, there are other opportunities to grow your sustainability efforts—and shrink your environmental footprint.

Electric mowers

Electric Mowers

Trading in your old gasoline-powered mower for a new manual model or electric mower could save you money and help the environment.

If your idea of an electric lawn mower involves a long, inconvenient cord attached to it, think again. Times have changed. Many of today's electric lawn mowers are powered by rechargeable batteries. Most battery-powered mowers run 30 to 70 minutes on a single charge—more than enough time to finish cutting the average yard.

Like electric vehicles, electric mowers are cleaner, quieter, easier to start and require less maintenance than traditional gas-powered mowers. Electric mowers plug into an outlet to charge, which means no running out at the last minute for fuel or storing gas in the garage. No gas or oil means no emissions from your mower. And, since electricity is cheaper than gasoline, electric mowers can save you money on fuel costs.

Solar Lights

Solar lights

If you're looking to add outdoor lighting to your backyard or a path to your home, take advantage of the sun. Several styles of solar-powered LED lights can illuminate your porch, garden, patio and walkways efficiently and effectively without impacting your energy use.

Energy-efficient landscaping

If landscaping is on your to-do list this spring, plant strategically. Smart landscaping can save up to 25% of the energy a typical household uses during a hot summer, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

For example, large, leafy trees help block the sun, especially in the summer if you have windows facing west. Shading windows is more important than shading walls because windows let in more unwanted heat. Broad-leafed trees and vine-covered trellises both work well.

Investigating which plants work best in a particular area also can help reduce your need to water in the summer, which is another part of creating a more sustainable home!

Practice sustainability—and safety

If you happen to live near power lines, MGE has a Tree Choice and Care database where you can search for trees and shrubs that can be planted safely near or under power lines. The online tool provides suggestions based on the location, type of soil, growth rate and other factors you specify.

Finally, remember to call Diggers Hotline before you dig this spring. This free service identifies buried lines on your property, enabling you to dig safely, preventing equipment damage and avoiding costly fines. Call Diggers Hotline at 811 at least three days before beginning any project that requires digging.

published: 03-02-2018