So many of us are looking for ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle. It’s easy to think that small changes won’t make a difference, but the more households that adopt eco-friendly practices, the greater the benefit for our precious resources and future generations. As we usher in the new decade, it’s the perfect time to reassess home habits. We’ve compiled 10 easy steps to a more eco-friendly home that will help save energy, save the environment and save you money on bills.
Lights are one of the biggest consumers of energy in households, responsible for up to 40%. Energy-efficient light bulbs use significantly less energy and last considerably longer than the old-fashioned incandescent bulbs. This is an easy switch that you can do yourself. There are even government schemes that will send someone around to do this for you and for free.
Having adequate insulation means you use less energy to heat and cool your home. Look at places where the weather may be sneaking in, such as ageing windowsills. Replacing them or even upgrading to double glazing will protect your interior from outside temperature fluctuations. Similarly, thicker window furnishings will help to moderate the inside temperature and rugs will minimise cold coming up through cracks in the floorboards or chilly tiles.
Solar panels allow for completely clean energy. They significantly reduce household power bills and in some cases they will make enough energy to sell back to the grid. It’s a long-term investment, but a wise move for an eco-friendly home and one that will help save the planet while adding equity to your property. If you can’t afford the whole kit and kaboodle, consider solar hot water.
There are lots of ways you can save on water, such as fixing any leaks in your home and not running the tap when you brush your teeth. Take shorter showers and install a low-flow shower head. Put a bucket in the shower to collect the excess water while you’re waiting for it to heat up then use it to water your veggie garden later. You could also look at connecting rain tanks to your household grey water to flush the toilets and run the washing machine.
A very easy step to a more eco-friendly home is to forget the power-hungry clothes dryer and hang your clothes on the line instead. Alternatively, hang them on a clotheshorse on castor wheels and position it in the sunshine. When unexpected rain comes (it always does!) you don’t have to do the mad dash to the line and unpeg all your smalls. You can just wheel the clotheshorse back into the house so your clothes can dry indoors.
Heating and air-conditioning are also huge energy consumers in homes. It’s too easy to leave these devises on for longer than intended, wasting energy and money. A smart meter can be set to turn units on and off automatically, such as just before you get home from work and at bed time. They’re a must for those looking to reduce their carbon footprint.
Many people don’t realise that harsh chemicals are harmful to the environment. When you wash them away, they go into the water supply, which means further purification is needed before it’s safe to use again. Choose earth-friendly cleaning products or make them yourself. Vinegar, bicarbonate of soda and lemon juice are great cleaners with zero chemicals, which means they’re also better for you and your family.
Major supermarkets and many retailers have cut back on single-use plastic in recent years. Take it even further by avoiding produce wrapped in plastic — get reusable mesh bags instead. All of your soft plastic, such as pea packets and cereal liners, can be recycled at a drop point in major supermarkets. You can also switch many of your plastics for eco-friendly alternatives, such as bamboo toothbrushes, washable beeswax sandwich wraps and eco laundry strips to name a few.
Rather than adding to landfill, get a compost bin to recycle your kitchen leftovers into some nutrient-dense food for your garden. Many local councils are starting to provide free compost bins and food-waste curb-side collection. You can also search for a composting workshop in your area to learn how to turn your food scraps into a worm farm to produce fertile soil for the garden.
Buying recycled is better for the environment as it conserves resources. Who Gives a Crap sells recycled toilet paper made from old textbooks and office paper and they deliver the box right to your door. No trees are cut down to make it and they donate 50% of their profits to help build toilets and improve sanitation in the developing world. When updating your home, you could also look for furniture made from recycled materials, such as the Reclaimed Teak Cross-Leg.
Don’t forget to check out our story on stylish, sustainable and eco-friendly products we stock, including cushions made from recycled plastic drink bottles and sustainably sourced timber furniture.
We’d love to hear your tips to a more eco-friendly home. Comment below and we’ll share your ideas! 🌱