An increasing realization that we need to live in harmony with our surroundings and lessen our impact on our environment is spurring many of us to change our homes and behavior.Creating an eco-friendly home doesn’t mean reducing our level of comfort or convenience. Rather, ways to create an eco-friendly home include increasing comfort while reducing our impact on natural resources and our wallets.
Natural Resources And Energy
When it comes to creating an eco-friendly home, our thoughts move toward energy consumption, but this is just part of the puzzle. Water, gas and electricity consumption can all be reduced with a little thought. Installing a smart meter in your home can help you understand how you use gas and electricity and find ways to reduce it, along with your power bill.
Smart meters are increasing in popularity in America. Around half of electricity users have already installed them. These devices wirelessly send data about energy consumption to the utility provider, negating the need for regular checks and enabling them to predict optimal and lower demand levels so they can adjust their output accordingly. For energy users, smart meters allow them to understand their consumption and adjust how and when they use appliances.
Energy efficient light bulbs can further reduce energy consumption. Installing solar panels may produce enough energy for your home and in some climates enable householders to sell some back to the grid too.
Gas and electricity aren’t the only resources you should try to reduce consumption of. Just 3% of the water on Earth is freshwater and just 0.5% is available for drinking. Conserving water minimizes the effect of drought, can prevent political conflict, rising costs and preserves our environment. Consider installing a low-flow shower head in your bathroom and keep the tap off when shaving or brushing teeth to minimize water use.
When it comes to deciding on how to furnish your home, there’s a wide range of eco-friendly choices that are both good for the environment and stylish. When it comes time to replace the sofa, buy a new desk, or get a dining table the whole family can sit at, consider the materials used to construct it. Looking for FSC certified woods, or choosing bamboo is a great place to start.
Bamboo is a versatile and durable material. As it’s the fastest growing plant on earth, it’s the most environmentally friendly wood you can get your hands on. If you have your heart set on hardwood for furniture or floors, consider reclaimed materials to reduce your environmental impact.
Our mattresses should be replaced every seven to ten years.This is to maintain optimal comfort, health and sleep hygiene. Around 20 million mattresses end up in landfills or incinerators each year in America. When the time comes to replace your mattress, consider making the effort to take it to a recycling plant. Metal springs can be melted down and refashioned into other items, latex and foam can be used in the manufacture of industrial carpet underlay and the wadding can be utilized in the fiber blending industry in replacement of virgin materials. Once you finish patting yourself on the back for your effort, replace your mattress with an organic version that’s good for you and the planet.
Keep It Clean
The cleaning products, medications and personal care products we choose have a massive impact on our environment. In recent times, reports of polluted waterways and toxic rivers from household products have begun to appear in the media. While the singular use of your favorite perfume, bathroom cleaner or the antibiotics your doctor prescribed has little to no effect on the water or air in your area, times that by every other consumer who makes the same choice and suddenly you have a problem.
Choosing natural products with citric acid, vinegar and bicarbonate soda instead of harsh chemicals for cleaning is a more environmentally friendly choice and will still keep things clean around the home. When it comes to personal care products, avoid microbeads, BHA and BHT, triclosan and synthetic fragrances. If you have unfinished medication in the home, don’t flush it down the loo or the sink, take it to a pharmaceutical take-back location for responsible and environmentally friendly disposal.
While we can lessen the impact of our homes on the environment with better insulation, solar panels and reducing our energy consumption wherever possible, the biggest and easiest change we can make is through our own behavior and purchasing decisions.
If you want your home to be environmentally friendly, don’t expect a complete lifestyle change overnight. If you’re reading this article, you’ve already taken the first step! Adopting this lifestyle may take time, so start small and work on expanding to bigger and more impactful projects – and remember, every little bit counts.