We all whine and scream about the loss of quality of life caused by environmental destruction, but everyone of us contributes to that destruction on a regular basis in our own comfortable ways. Don’t you think it’s about time you stopped the vicious cycle and began making more environmentally conscious lifestyle choices? You may turn your home into a little piece of sustainable heaven and your future into a safer and greener sanctuary for future generations by adopting the following green habits.
1. Less Is Really More
Investing in an energy efficient home will actually save you money in the long run. Start by replacing traditional incandescent light bulbs with compact LEDs. Although these are more expensive, they save energy and last longer. Avoid turning on the lights if you don’t have to, and if you can’t, provide sensors that will turn on the lights only when necessary. Also consider installing water efficient shower heads and lower flow taps. Whenever possible, switch to cold water washing and save tons of energy.
Weather stripping your doors and windows is another great way of reducing your heating and cooling costs by as much as 15%. Lastly, don’t forget to unplug electric gadgets and household appliances – and, yes, they do consume power even in a standby mode. As a bonus tip, get on the bike in order to stay healthy and commute sustainably. Like someone once said, It’s good both for the waistline and the wallet.
2. Why Eating Mindfully Tastes Better
Becoming an eco-conscious eater means you’ll need to eat less meat, buy in bulk and consume organic and locally grown food. Not only is eating too much red meat bad for your health – beef, lamb and goat production is also a great contributor to the growing carbon footprint. Unlike conventional food, locally grown produce is infinitely fresher, more nutritious and full of flavour. Besides, it is a great way to show some support for your local economy!
You might also want to give backyard organic gardening a try. And the best way to boost soil fertility for future crops? By composting. It is a natural, cheap and environmentally friendly way of reducing kitchen waste, or put simply, A nature’s way of recycling.
3. Green Equals Clean
Keep your household green, chemical-free and sparkling with some homemade cleaning supplies. The four simple, inexpensive and easy-to-use ingredients that can do wonders for your home include baking soda, white vinegar, borax and lemon. While both lemon and baking soda act as great environmentally friendly multi-purpose cleaners and deodorizers, vinegar removes everything from stains to mildew and grease. On the other hand, borax is a powerful cleaning disinfectant and pest deterrent, excellent for keeping roaches, fleas and mice at bay.
By switching to cheap yet effective cleaning products, we are reducing the amount of plastic disposable containers and preventing harmful chemicals from ending up in our water supply.
4. Improve Insulation
Insulation is the foundation of every environmentally friendly home and is the most cost-effective way to make a home less energy-intensive and hence more environmentally friendly. You will quickly gain comfort by decreasing heat loss, while consuming and polluting less.
To go all the way, opt for natural materials like hemp, sheep’s wool, or cellulose wadding, which have the added benefit of being healthier for you while also producing less pollution during production. Be careful; doing other work in a house with poor insulation would be counterproductive! Changing the boiler in a house that appears like an energy sieve, for example, would entail over sizing your equipment and spending excessively in order to get appropriate thermal comfort.
5. Water Is the New Oil
If you want to see an endangered species, get up and look in the mirror. We know all too well that freshwater shortage is already a looming global crisis. On the plus side, there are a number of water storage and rationing practices that can help us save the nature’s precious resource. Anything from fixing leaky water pipes to taking shorter showers means you are doing your best to conserve water.
There are also efficient outdoor water conservation methods, such as rainwater harvesting, the process of collecting and storing rainwater for irrigation, and xeriscaping, i.e. planting drought tolerant plants. Both practices are eco-friendly and quite low maintenance.
6. Use Renewable Energy
If you are concerned about pollution, you can opt for renewable energy to make your home more sustainable. This way, you will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and get energy for heating and hot water without using more polluting fossil fuels.
For example, installing solar panels is an interesting way to make your home more profitable. The idea is to recover the energy naturally present in the air, the sun, the ground or our forests to limit the use of fossil fuels. And thus reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. It is true that it requires an initial investment, but in the short term, you can improve the efficiency of your home by reducing air pollution.
7. Fully load your washing machine and your dishwasher
Some people run a washing machine when they only have one towel and one pair of pajamas. In a day, they may run 3 washing machines with a very low load when, in reality, they could wait until they have more laundry to do a single wash.
Avoid pre-washing too, and use cold water whenever possible – it saves more on the bill! The same goes for the dishwasher. It is worth waiting until you have more dishes and glasses to fill the appliance and use it as little as possible.
8. Reduce, Repair, Recycle & Reuse
Finally, strive for a more simplified, minimalist lifestyle. Buy less in order to waste less. You can tell how high a society is by how much of its garbage is recycled. Therefore, whenever you can, recycle, repair and reuse. From using a refillable water bottle to printing paper on both sides, there is a lot you can do to start saving your personal and Earth’s natural resources.
Instead of throwing things away, try repairing, modifying or repurposing them. Ultimately, practicing minimalist style is not about what you have, but about the lightness of being – Joy is not in things, it is in us.
It is a relatively straightforward task to achieve sustainability, and it does not require special upkeep after construction.
Sustainable housing makes efficient use of resources and energy while having little environmental impact. Still unsure about making your first sustainable household step? Living a planet-friendly life really is the least you can do for the future of humanity. Just like an old Kenyan proverb says, Treat the Earth well. It is not inherited from your parents, it is borrowed from your children.