Of all the environments humanity has taken for their living needs, the desert is perhaps the most fierce, at least in the public imagination. The word “desert” conjures images of windswept ruins, dangerous animals, and endless thirst. Anyone who’s visited more urbanized desert locations like much of Arizona can attest that this is not the case. In fact, modern deserts can make for a cozy and happy home, albeit one which requires some thought about energy use and lifestyle. Below you’ll find some tips for making your desert home as green as possible.
Image via Flickr by Alan English CPA
Reducing energy use is key to living a greener life. Solar panels mounted on the roof of your house are a way of decreasing your reliance on power from the public grid, which may use less than environmentally ideal practices creating that energy. Although the cost of installation may seem prohibitive, energy savings bolstered by the sunny desert climate, coupled with various tax credits from an alternative energy-friendly government, can help defray the amount spent on the investment.
Modern air conditioners can reach a peak of efficiency that older units only dream of. As climate control is one of the largest expenses in maintaining a home in any environment, let alone a desert, the reduced energy expenditures of an efficient AC unit are a crucial part of managing costs. On top of that, lower energy use means a lower carbon profile. Technicians can help you pick the best appliance for your environment, both personal and global.
Dry Clothes in the Heat
Another, lesser energy cost in a modern home is the cost of operating household appliances. One prime example would be a clothes dryer. Thankfully, the heat of the desert sun can offer a handy alternative to these energy hogs. Just hang your clothes on a line during the day, and nature will do the work for you. The consistency of the climate in most desert environments also helps, by ensuring there is no time of year in which hanging clothing is impractical.
Plant a Desert-Friendly Lawn
One mistake made by many moving to the desert is attempting to keep up a lawn more suited for a temperate environment. Most grasses make a poor showing in the desert heat, requiring an extreme amount of water and draining local reserves — not to mention driving up your water bills. Instead, look at desert plants like certain succulents, as well as carefully curated rocks. A true desert lawn, with cacti and arranged stones, can carry an arid beauty all its own, blends in with its surroundings, and cuts down on water usage at the same time.
Green is not the primary color one thinks of when picturing the desert, but your desert life does not need to exclude it. This is true in any sense of the word green — greenery, environmental friendliness, or even personal finances. Put some thought into your home, and turn your own square of desert land into a beautiful garden.