What Is Sustainable Living? 7 Ways To Start Living Sustainably

The Clean Energy Life uses its own conceptual framework to help ease the transition to The Clean Energy Life, known as, concern, assess, reduce, electrify, and sustain (CARES).

The final plank of that acronym, and arguably the most important, is sustainability, which ties all of our energy goals together. 

The global push for sustainability may be an ambitious and radical one, but for the individual,  sustainable living is a moral, social, and economic win-win-win. 

Thanks to energy-efficient technology, we don’t have to let go of the things we love to live sustainably; we can simply upgrade our existing appliances and amenities to become more sustainable. 

Ultimately, we can all access and benefit from sustainable living with a few simple upgrades to our lifestyle. 

What Is Sustainable Living?

Sustainable living promotes an ethically-based view of living, which seeks to reduce the consumption of our world’s limited resources as much as possible while consciously  maximizing the efficiency of those abundant natural resources we do use.

In simpler terms, sustainable living is both a collective and individual movement to promote greater awareness and connection between humanity, climate and our impact on scarce resources. Sustainable living aims to help us keep our current standard of living while doing as little harm to the planet as possible. 

A practical example would be transitioning from fossil fuels to solar-electric powered appliances that are cleaner since they use abundant cleaner renewable energy, are more energy-efficient, and emit less carbon. 

However, sustainable living encompasses many areas of our lives, from the foods we eat to the devices we use to power our homes. 

Broader definitions divide sustainable living into three planks (economic, social, and environmental), but for the sake of brevity, we limit its definition to practical terms that individuals can access. 


Sustainable living is often compared to net-zero living, although these are slightly different. Sustainable living is more of a broad-ranging goal to reduce our carbon emissions, while net-zero living seeks to eliminate them entirely.

Many people can infer some of the benefits of sustainable living, but it’s still important to discuss why sustainable living is so important. 

Why Is Sustainable Living Important?

On some level, we all understand the need for sustainability in moral and economic terms. If humans did not believe in sustainability, we would not plant new crops each year or continue to breed new livestock. 

On a collective level, sustainable living is important because it helps future generations receive the same access to wealth, technology, and resources that we enjoy today. 

Right now, over 40,000 different species face the brink of extinction, and UNICEF estimates that 1 in 4 people could be displaced by water scarcity by 2040. The best way to avoid these catastrophes is for individuals to adopt sustainable living. 

On an individual level, sustainable living is important because it provides long-term economic benefits and ensures you will always be able to access valuable resources into the future. 

As fossil fuel prices continue to increase and energy becomes more volatile, it will become much more profitable for individuals to adopt sustainable energy tactics, like switching to renewables. 

Nevertheless, this is often insufficient to compel people to switch to sustainable practices that benefit them. For this reason, the best way to convey the benefits of sustainable living is to visualize them fully. 

What Does Sustainable Living Look Like? A Day in the Life

When most people picture sustainable living, they think about people living in huts with no running water or electricity and growing all of their own food. However, sustainable living can simply mean leveraging new and efficient technology to your advantage. 

For example, you might imagine waking up in your home to a fully charged EV that was powered by your solar battery backup overnight. Then, while you’re at work that day, your solar panels will get back to work, powering your home and storing any excess load back into your battery, which you can then use to charge your car.

You still get to travel the country and even around the world, except you can make it most of the way in an EV that is powered primarily by renewable energy. And for those times when gas-powered transport is unavoidable, you can offset your costs by investing in a renewable tree project nearby that is replanting forests near your home. 

The food you eat is ethically sourced, local, and seasonally grown (for the most part), and all food waste is disposed of in proper containers, with some of it even composted. 

All in all, your home and source of travel are completely powered by renewables, and you are grid-independent and self-sufficient. You even treat yourself occasionally with high-priced lattes and silly purchases, all the while knowing you are not paying thousands of dollars annually for energy costs and are doing it all cleanly. 

So do you want to access the benefits of sustainable living? Read on for seven ways to get started with sustainable living below.

7 Ways to Start Living Sustainably

1. Reduce Your Energy Consumption

The first step toward sustainability is reducing our energy consumption and carbon footprint. We recommend everyone calculate their carbon footprint using a carbon footprint calculator for the most accurate results. 

From here, you can research ways to cut your energy consumption via travel, diet, or home energy usage through any number of changes.

For homes, we recommend getting an energy audit and 

upgrading your appliances to EnergyStar ones that use less electricity. We also recommend improving your insulation and making small changes like converting to LEDs.

Transportation may be more difficult, but it could encompass steps to reduce your gas emissions by taking public transportation or upgrading to an EV.

2. Reduce Waste

An overlooked aspect of sustainability we forget about is maximizing the utility of the resources we have. In other words, it means reducing our waste. 

There are several ways to reduce waste in different areas of our lives, including:

3. Go on a Diet (An Easy One!)

We like to call The Clean Energy Diet the easiest diet you will ever go on because its goal is not to reduce your calories but your carbon. 

A study published in Nature showed that cultivating animal-based products doubles the carbon emissions of plant-based products. It’s no secret that nearly ¾ of the world’s agricultural land goes to livestock, so reducing our reliance on meat can make a big difference. 

Even slowly incorporating more plant-based meals into your diet can make a huge difference, as well as watching what you eat.

Other tips include buying locally grown food that doesn’t travel as far and buying seasonal foods that don’t require chemical preservatives to store. 

4. Electrify Your Home

Next, you should transition all gas-powered appliances, lawn equipment, and heating equipment to energy-efficient electric varieties. Not only do battery and electric-operated appliances emit fewer emissions, but many are also eligible for energy tax credits–making them far more affordable.

Additionally, many of these upgrades will save you significant money in the long run, whether upgrading to solar panels or electric space heating/cooling equipment. 

5. Switch to Renewables

Renewables are the gold standard of sustainable energy, offering a nearly unlimited power source for your home or car. Solar panels are the easiest to access, though wind, geothermal, and hydroelectric systems are becoming increasingly available.

For those without the money to install their own solar panel, you can also invest in a solar community program. Many utility providers in deregulated states offer renewable energy sources that homeowners can access without installing the technology themselves. 

6. Become More Energy Independent

The end goal of all of this is to become entirely sustainable and self-sufficient on your own. Investing in a solar battery backup and making yourself self-sufficient from the grid will allow you to achieve a net-zero lifestyle that is cheap and abundant. 

7. Tie It All Together

Finally, let’s tie all of this together and review different ways you can achieve sustainable living. 

Again, sustainable living is an ethos and a movement, not necessarily an end goal. As long as you are taking steps to reduce your carbon emissions and waste, you should see positive benefits for your wallet, health, and lifestyle.

For more information about sustainable living and The Clean Energy Lifestyle, read about Ways Switching to Clean Energy is a Lifestyle Upgrade.

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