If you plan to update your home, do it so both you and the environment will benefit from it. It’s a burning issue that our planet is suffering from all the polluting and mishandling of its natural resources. The consequences are apparent in the climate change throughout the world which already caused quite a damage to the life on Earth.
Your contribution to preserving the environment may be small but could be significant. And contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t have to cost a lot or take a lot of your time. So, if you plan to update your home, here are several eco-friendly ways to do it.
1. Use eco-friendly cleaning products
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Cleaning products are probably the easiest thing to switch by simply choosing the ones that are labeled eco-friendly. You can also make your own cleaning products with white vinegar, lemon and baking soda that you probably already have at home. Many cleaners contain VOCs which stands for volatile organic compounds that is one of the biggest air pollutants, especially in the cities.
“When you think about how much of those products you use in your daily life, it doesn’t compare to how much fuel you put in the car. But for every kilogram of fuel that is burned, only about one gram ends up in the air,” explains Joost de Gouw, from the University of Colorado. “For these household and personal products, some compounds evaporate almost completely.”
2. Be responsible with lights
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There are several ways to control the lights in your home and how much energy they use. First of all, replace them with LED lights. They last longer, don’t emit heat and spend less energy than even the other eco-friendly lights. Where you can, install solar lamps and depend on the sun to give you light even during the night.
When it comes to turning off the lights when you leave the room or are not at home, you can use smart solutions for that and control this from your phone. If that is expensive for you, then simply create a reminder on your phone to turn off the lights before you go to sleep or do regular checks that you did so. In time, it will become a routine and you wouldn’t even notice that you’re doing it.
3. Fix your windows
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Good windows will make a lot of difference in the household like keeping the temperature at the desired level without creating bigger bills. However, if the windows are poorly insulated they can cause the constant use of the HVAC system since the air is constantly going in and out of the house through the cracks.
Gas emissions from the AC units and the excess consumption of energy are responsible for the greenhouse effect and bigger monthly expenses. By taking care of this, you will not only improve the quality of air inside your home but also contribute to the healthier environment outside.
4. Use your outdoor space
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Gardens are a great way to help the environment. By planting certain flowers, you will attract natural pollinators like bees and butterflies, but you will also cool off your home. Take into consideration the climate and use your backyard to add an eco-friendly feature with respect to that.
“Many things can be done that provide shading and also enhance the aesthetics of the house, or fulfil another function at the same time: a porch that also gives shelter from rain, or a pergola that also provides extra outdoor living space. This is a better use of resources and money,” says Shaila Divakarla, architect and Standards & Technical Manager at Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA).
So it doesn’t seem as a surprise that pergolas Sydney citizens use for backyards are ideal to create a second living space outdoors or a kitchen that can turn into an eco-friendly behavior. Namely, this can decrease the energy use for AC units and lower the gas emissions.
5. Use energy efficient appliances
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When you decide to buy new appliances, look for the ones which are energy efficient. This especially applies if you have appliances 15 years or older since they considerably increase your monthly energy bill. A new appliance may be expensive, but it is something that will pay off after a while when you save the money on your bill and invest it in another appliance.
Older appliances emit more heat and gasses like carbon monoxide and Freon which pollute the environment and contribute to the greenhouse effect. When buying a new appliance, make sure they have a label showing their energy star rating, but also use them responsibly when you can. It’s the new technology paired with our determination that will change the planet for the better.
Before you start with eco-friendly solutions, make a list of all the things you can change in your home and available green counterparts. If you plan the eco-friendly way to update your home, you will be able to arrange the expenses so they are agreeable with your budget. The most important thing is not to give up since the consequences to the environment are urgent matters in need of efficient and functional solutions.
Hannah Thomas, the author of this post, is gardening and home decor enthusiast.