Making your home more sustainable could be easier than you think. There are several small changes you can do which will make a big difference. They don’t need to break the bank either, so they could be as good for your pocket as they are for the environment.
If you’re designing a new home from scratch, opting for sustainable materials and thinking about the carbon footprint of what you intend to use are simple ways to create a more eco-friendly space. Alternatively, if you wish to adapt your home to include more environmentally conscious products and ways of living, then that can also be achieved without too much trouble.
What are the benefits of creating an eco-friendly space at home?
Perhaps one of the main benefits at the current time is that having energy-efficient appliances and introducing loft or cavity wall insulation will considerably reduce your bills.
There are many types of insulation that can be used which are sustainably produced, including wood wool, sheep wool, hemp, and cork. For walls, cellulose insulation is relatively cheap but has thermal properties to rival rock wool, as well as being particularly environmentally friendly.
Having sustainable materials in your home is often better for your health. Many other types of materials contain chemicals that can be toxic, which have been part of the manufacturing process and continue to emit invisible fumes when in position. The very reason sustainable materials are eco-friendly is that they don’t include these chemicals and have been manufactured more considerately.
People are now opting for more eco-friendly houses, so you could find that making changes to incorporate more sustainable choices will not only future-proof your property but will also see the value of your home increase.
How to make a home sustainable
As mentioned above, sourcing ethical materials is the first step to designing a sustainable home. This doesn’t just stop with building supplies, however. Furniture, fixtures, and fittings are just as important and there are many companies out there that specialise in eco-friendly products.
Fixtures like kitchen worktops can also be provided more sustainably. By choosing solid oak wooden worktops from a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified supplier, over laminate or other materials, you can be sure that everything has been done to the highest standards to provide an environmentally-friendly product for your home.
Having commodities of this calibre, which are also attractive and built to last, in your home is a quick and easy way to make sure you are doing your bit for the planet and making ethically conscious decisions.
What are the best eco-friendly design tips?
When choosing the aesthetics for your home, there are lots of design factors to consider. Paint is one of the most obvious choices for decorating your home, and there are now several eco-friendly paints on the market to give your home the makeover it deserves. These are kinder to the environment in the way they are manufactured and contain fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which produce the fumes.
Lighting is another area that can be achieved fairly simply. LED lighting reduces energy use and cuts down on natural resources, providing little wastage but still plenty of illumination. Installing water-efficient shower heads, and even using wood-fired or air-source pumps to heat your water can reduce water usage and gas or electricity by up to 70%.
Adding greenery into your home not only looks great but is good for the environment, with houseplants producing carbon dioxide and oxygen and purifying the air around you.
What are the most common green home practices to consider?
Washing your clothes in cold water, rather than cranking up the temperature, is now often just as effective as using hot water. Many washing machines nowadays have been manufactured to give a decent wash in cooler water, combined with detergents that offer the same promise. If you can then dry your clothes on an indoor airer or outside line, that will also considerably decrease energy consumption.
Use natural cleaning products rather than those with harsh chemicals, or try making your own with vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice to get out even the most stubborn of stains and leave your home sparkling.
Window blinds and curtains not only block out the light and keep people from looking into your home, they also naturally regulate the temperature, stopping warm air from escaping and cold draughts in the winter. This means you don’t need to have your thermostat as high and can save energy as well as keeping you cosy.
Instead of buying new objects and accessories for your home, use reclaimed or salvaged items and upcycle them to create something unique and beautiful.
Recycling and composting waste is not a new phenomenon and remains one of the best and easiest ways to have a green home. Councils all around the country are encouraging people to recycle whatever they can, with weekly or fortnightly collections. Composting food waste is great for your garden too, saving on buying expensive and chemical-ridden fertilisers.
Green living is an effective way to combat climate change on a small and personal level. Adopting some or all of the environmentally friendly practices in this article will put you one step ahead and ensure you are doing the best you can do, for your own well-being and that of the planet.