Eco-Living: 5 Steps to a Sustainable Home
Why not transform your home into an eco-hub? By making small changes to your home design and maintenance, you can significantly reduce your carbon footprint and create a healthier living environment. According to the US Energy Information Administration's (EIA) Monthly Energy Review, energy-related CO2 emissions from the residential sector in the United States totaled approximately 953 million metric tons in 2020. In this post, we will mainly talk about using smart light, recycling, energy-efficient appliances, home insulation, minimizing water use, and switching to eco-cleaners. Whether you're a homeowner, renter, or just looking to make a difference, these tips will help you create a sustainable home that benefits both you and the planet.
Step 1: Shine Brighter and Smarter
To use lights in an eco-friendly and cost-effective way, there are 3 steps we like to follow.
First, consider using light-emitting diodes (LEDs). LEDS use significantly less energy to produce the same amount of light, which means lower electricity bills and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. LEDs last much longer than traditional bulbs, which means fewer replacements and less waste. LEDs don't contain harmful materials like mercury, which makes them a safer and more environmentally-friendly lighting option. Start replacing your lights with the ones that go out.
Second, remember small habits can accumulate over time to make a big impact. Wearing layers before turning up the heat is a great way to conserve energy and reduce your heating bills during the colder months. Opening your curtains during the day is an easy way to let in natural sunlight and brighten up your home. If you're working from home or spending a lot of time indoors, try to position your workspace near a window or in a room with plenty of natural light.
Third, be mindful of how much light you actually need. Using high-wattage bulbs when lower wattage options would suffice is a waste of energy and money. Consider the amount of light required for each room or task and choose bulbs accordingly.
Fourth, look for the Energy Star label. This label provides useful information about a bulb's brightness, color temperature, lifespan, energy usage, and running costs.
Step 2: Transform Your Home into an Energy-Saving Haven
Energy saving is one of the key elements of a sustainable home. We have 5 tips for you to make your home more energy efficient.
First, consider solar as an energy source. Solar does not produce greenhouse gasses, which helps to combat the negative effects of climate change. Plus, solar makes you energy independent, and saves money. This is a longer term switch to make, but will pay off over time.
Second, invest in energy-efficient appliances. At first they may seem expensive but think about the appliance's price over its lifetime. Some examples of energy-efficient appliances include refrigerators with high-efficiency compressors, front-loading washing machines, and electric kettles with variable temperature control.
Third, use smart thermostats. They can help you save money and reduce energy waste by allowing you to monitor and control your heating and cooling. Even if you don’t go with solar energy, adding a smart thermostat is a great way to take full advantage of your energy use.
Fourth, seal air leaks. Especially in older homes, air can make its way through openings in the ceilings, walls, floor, and window edges. You can save on your monthly heating and cooling costs by caulking, sealing, and weatherstripping all openings and cracks.
Fifth, line dry your clothing. The household dryer is one of the biggest energy consumers in your home. By choosing to air-dry your clothes, you can reduce your household carbon footprint by nearly 2,400 pounds a year.
Step 3: Master in the Art of Recycling and Composting
Recycling and composting are two essential practices for creating a sustainable home. Recycling reduces landfill waste and conserves natural resources, while composting transforms food and yard waste into nutrient-rich soil. Here are some small tips to get started:
First, set up a recycling station in your home. Remember to have clearly labeled bins for paper, plastic, glass, and metal. Rinse out containers before recycling to prevent contamination.
Second, use reusable bags, bottles, and containers. By this way, you can reduce the amount of single-use plastic in your home.
Third, compost food scraps, leaves, and yard waste. Start with a kitchen compost container to collect food scraps as you go. These containers are typically small and can fit on your countertop or under your sink. Once your container is full, you have two options. If you have a backyard, consider starting a compost bin. You can purchase a compost bin or make one yourself using materials like wood pallets, wire mesh, or cinder blocks. If not, take your food scraps weekly to the local compost community close to you.
Compost helps to improve soil structure, retain moisture, and suppress plant diseases. For more information about composting materials and know where to start, you can check our guide on composting.
Step 4: Make Every Drop Count
There are a lot of ways to decrease your water consumption at home. Here are some tips for you to make it easier.
First, learn about water-saving practices. Small changes to your daily routine can add up to significant water savings over time. For example, take shorter showers, turn off the tap while brushing your teeth or shaving, and only run the dishwasher or washing machine when you have a full load.
Second, install a greywater system. Greywater is wastewater from sources like showers, sinks, and washing machines that can be recycled for use in irrigation or toilet flushing. Install a greywater system to capture and reuse this water.
Third, if you have a backyard, landscape wisely. Consider using drought-tolerant plants and xeriscaping techniques in your landscaping. These methods can significantly reduce the amount of water needed to maintain a healthy garden.
Step 5: Switch to Eco-Cleaners
Many conventional cleaners are made with petroleum-based surfactants derived from non-renewable sources that are enemies of your sustainable house. By using eco-cleaners, you will make a huge change for a safer and more environmentally-friendly cleaning experience.
There are plenty of options to make your cleaning eco-friendly for every part of your home. To choose the right cleaner, consult Cleaning responsibly.
Building your home with sustainability in mind can not only benefit the planet but also provide you numerous advantages, and save money. From cost savings on energy bills to increased home value, they have several advantages. As technology continues to advance, we can expect to see even more innovative sustainable home designs and practices in the future.