With the reality of climate change now hitting home, making eco-friendly choices is something we cannot ignore.
Eco-friendly living should start in our homes, seeing it is where we spend most of our time. Creating an eco-friendly home may sound like a mission impossible, but it is such a fulfilling thing to do.
What is an eco-friendly home?
An eco-friendly home is a house that is designed and built using sustainable materials and with technology that reduces its carbon footprint and consumes less energy throughout its lifecycle. It is also known as a green building.
An eco-friendly house aims to reduce the environmental footprint. A bonus benefit of sustainable housing is money saving, as utility bills are significantly lowered.
Key elements of an eco house: what makes a home eco-friendly?
An eco-friendly house will have the following features:
It is built with environmentally friendly materials
Incorporates natural lighting
While most of these features are usually incorporated during a house’s design and construction phases, it is still possible to incorporate them in a home you already live in.
You can make the house you are already living in more eco-friendly. This article explores 18 simple tips to make your home more eco-friendly.
Tips to make your home more eco-friendly.
Making your home eco-friendlier shouldn’t be difficult. Start with making small changes and then gradually move to larger projects such as renovations.
Here are ways you can make your home more eco-friendly without costing you any money.
1. Stick to the 3 R’s of zero waste.
In all honesty, we consume a little too much, which adds to the amount of trash we generate. Think of all the items in your house that you bought and have never used. How many times have you purchased food only for it to go bad?
As an eco-conscious person, it’s time to pause. Before you purchase anything, ask yourself whether you really need it. Will you need it? Practice delayed gratification.
Also, find other ways of creating less waste, for example, carrying your containers or reusable bags when buying food or groceries. Carry your water in a reusable water bottle instead of buying water in plastic bottles.
By so doing, you will not only save money but also save the carbon emissions that come with a product or its packaging.
Before you throw away an item, find a new use for it.
If you have clothes that you no longer wear, donate them to friends, family, or even charity organizations.
Reuse glass jars to store items or make them flower vases. Give new life to those plastic bottles by using them as bird feeders. You can use the old towels as rags.
Consider having a garage sale if you have electronics, furniture, and other items you no longer use. What you no longer value might be someone else’s treasure. And you will make a few bucks!
If you still have items you can’t reuse, it’s time to recycle. Recycling is an excellent way of creating an eco home. Have a recycling bin conveniently placed in your house.
Newspapers, cardboard, aluminum cans, glass containers, and even plastics can all be recycled. Direct them to your recycling bin.
Use eco-friendly or DIY cleaning products.
Most cleaning products come in plastic bottles, which you throw away after the products are finished. Let’s not even mention the harsh chemicals that are in these products.
Find eco-friendly cleaning products that come in eco-friendly packaging and are ethically made.
If you can, make your own (it is not as complicated as you think). You can tweak recipes to your liking. This way, you know exactly what is in your products and don’t have to throw any plastic bottles away. Plus, you save a lot of money. How to clean with vinegar is the complete guide.
Consider taking a shower instead of a bath.
On average, a person takes 8 mins to shower, and a standard showerhead uses 9 liters of water per minute. On the other hand, filling a bath requires 100-150 liters of water, which means a shower uses 50% less water than a bath and could be more if you take less time in the shower.
Consider baths as weekend or occasional treats, and stick to showers. The amount of water you will save by just doing this will surprise you.
Compost your food waste
According to EPA, food scraps make up more than 30% of the trash we throw away. This trash ends up in landfills, releasing methane, one of the greenhouse gases responsible for global warming.
Composting is a great way to lower your carbon footprint and divert waste from landfills.
Making a compost pile isn’t difficult. If you have no space, consider indoor composting using a compost bin or drop off food scraps at a community compost location near you.
Grow your own vegetables and herbs
Growing your herbs and vegetables is excellent. It saves you money, and you enjoy fresh-from-the-farm produce, which tastes way better than dried herbs.
Also, plants take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen, reducing carbon emissions in the atmosphere.
If you have a compost bin, use the manure for gardening. Your plants will thrive so well.
And you don’t need a lot of space for gardening; use what you have, even if it’s only a balcony. Consider recycling plastic containers and using them as planters.
Line dry your clothes.
Dryers are super convenient, I know. But have you ever thought about their environmental impact? Dryers use 5-10 times more energy than washing machines. According to The Guardian, a single drying machine cycle produces approximately 1.8kg of carbon dioxide.
An eco-friendly alternative is air drying which will not cost you anything and will save tons of greenhouse gas emissions from being released into the environment. The sun is also great at killing of baceteria bad odor, making your sheets and clothes fresh and clean.
Harvesting rainwater is another great way to create an eco-friendly house. It helps conserve water and minimize surface runoff near your home. You can use the water for your lawn, garden, or indoor plants.
You only need downpipes and rain barrels or tanks to start rainwater collection.
If you are concerned about using rainwater on edible plants, consider installing a first flush diverter to prevent the first flush of rainwater from entering the tank. You can also test the water to clear any doubts.
Does your home need some upgrading? If yes, consider renovating with these eco-friendly ideas.
Think renewable energy
One of the ways to create an eco-friendly home is by switching to renewable energy.
Solar energy is one of the most accessible sources of renewable energy. Solar panels convert the sun’s energy into electricity through photovoltaic technologies.
Solar power is cheap and reliable. Unlike conventional energy, which uses fossil fuels, renewable electricity does not pollute the environment with carbon emissions.
You can have a professional install solar panels on your roof. Unless your roof is too old or has excessive shade from trees, rooftop solar panels are good to go.
If you don’t own a home yet, or your roof is unsuitable, you can still enjoy solar power through community power. The program allows a group of people to use a single shared solar power source installed on or off-site.
Other sustainable sources of energy include geothermal energy and wind energy. These may not be easy to access unless you build your own home.
Renovate with sustainable materials
Renovating your home with environmentally friendly materials improves indoor air quality and significantly lowers your home’s carbon footprint.
Revamp your floors with eco-friendly flooring materials such as reclaimed wood, cork, and linoleum.
Repaint your walls and cabinets with low or no VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints, such as water-based paints. Not only are they eco-friendly, but they also offer more aesthetics and a variety of colors.
Renew your worktops with recycled materials.
Insulate your home
Insulating your home is one of the most innovative ways to save money. Heating and cooling can take almost half of your home’s energy consumption.
Insulate your walls, under floors, and the roof to keep your home airtight and limit any heat loss. One of the most eco-friendly insulations is recycled insulation, such as recycled glass or paper.
Also, consider double or triple-glazed windows for maximum insulation.
Add Natural lighting to your home
Using natural daylight allows you to slice your energy bills significantly. If your house doesn’t have large windows, or you have a windowless room, consider installing skylights to allow more daylight.
Another way to allow natural lighting is by carefully positioning mirrors and reflective surfaces that will allow light to bounce back into the room.
Create a Green roof
Green roofs are another way to cut your home heating and cooling costs, and they are perfect for the thermal regulation of your house.
Installing a green roof also increases biodiversity around your home. The good news is that you can incorporate it with solar panels.
Invest in energy-efficient appliances and electronics
Appliances and electronics take up a huge chunk of your home’s energy bills. To save money and the environment, consider investing in energy star-rated appliances. Energy star-rated appliances are more energy efficient and release fewer greenhouse gases than standard appliances.
Also, switch off all appliances and electronics that are not in use and unplug from the socket. It may seem like nothing, but you might be surprised by the electricity wasted when an item is not in use.
Switch incandescent bulbs with led bulbs
Led/low-energy light bulbs are more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs.
Although energy-efficient bulbs may be a bit pricey, they use 75% less energy and emit very little heat than incandescent lighting. This significantly lowers their carbon emissions. They are also very durable, lasting 25 times longer than their counterparts.
For even more energy savings, consider buying energy star-rated bulbs. Also, using controls such as dimmers and timers can help save electricity.
However, most incandescent bulbs are not recyclable; consider disposing of them only when they stop working.
Important tip: always switch off lights when not in use.
Invest in a smart thermostat
A smart thermostat helps you improve your home’s energy efficiency as it controls your home’s temperature. At least you don’t have to worry about remembering to switch off your air conditioning.
Unlike the standard programmable thermostats, you can remotely access the smart thermostat. Also, some smart thermostats will track your energy usage and even give you tips on how to optimize your usage.
Invest in energy-efficient HVAC systems
If your home’s air conditioning system is old or hasn’t been maintained for quite some time, it’s probably time to install new systems.
Though it may be costly, getting a new AC system will reduce energy consumption and increase your home’s value. Consider energy star-rated HVAC systems for more efficiency.
Another way to switch to eco-friendly heating and cooling is by using new central heating systems, such as installing a heat pump. Central heating systems can run on renewable electricity, which is better for the environment.
Save water with low-flow bathroom appliances.
A regular toilet flush requires 13 liters of water, which is a lot! To improve water efficiency around your home and lower your water bill, install low-flow toilets and shower heads.
You can also consider installing a dual flush toilet for more water efficiency.
Also, install eco-friendly water faucets. Watersense labeled products guarantee more than 20% water savings for your home.
Also, Lookout for any leaks in your plumbing system and repair them.
Pro tip: When brushing your teeth, turn off the water and only turn it on when rinsing the mouth.
Buy Eco-friendly furniture
Lastly, when you have made everything around your house eco-friendly, it is only to fill it up with eco-friendly furniture.
You can opt for reclaimed furniture that would otherwise go to landfills. There are antique shops and numerous online shops to buy from.
If you have to buy new furniture, then look for furniture made with eco-friendly materials such as recycled materials and sustainably sourced timber.
If you are looking into buying a home, look for one that has eco-friendly features. The cost of eco-friendly homes may be slightly higher than a traditional home. Still, the lifetime savings are unmatched, and your carbon footprint will be low.
What other ideas have we missed out on that you are using to create a sustainable home?