Tips for a More Eco-Friendly Home
Not that humans in general have totally changed when it comes to treating our environment, but at least many of us are now aware of the environmental crisis we’re facing.
Treaties to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are being signed, people are segregating their trash, and our concern for wildlife has grown over the last few years. And while we can’t help but feel that we’re jumping into action a bit too late, we should at least take comfort in the fact that we’re actually doing something to reduce our impact on the environment.
We have no idea how long it would take for our proactive measures to yield positive results, if at all. But as the cliché goes, hope does spring eternal, and we’re not losing hope that the environment will recover for the sake of future generations.
Helping the environment is helping ourselves, and doing so should start at home. Let’s make our home as eco-friendly as we can make it. Here are some tips that can help you do just that.
Why should we depend on electric bulbs and lamps during the day when there’s plenty of sunshine outside? Put up skylights in your home and let all those rays in. The inside of your home will be so much brighter, all without using up electricity. Sunlight doesn’t just help our home become more eco-friendly; it also helps improve our health by helping our body’s production of vitamin D, improving our sleep, and disinfecting our homes naturally.
Harness solar power
Speaking of sunlight, harnessing it to power your home is one of the most environmentally-friendly things you can ever do. It just so happens that it also requires a significant investment on your part. To this day, installing solar panels is still an expensive proposition. But with all the benefits that come with it in the long term, you might want to consider getting solar panels for your home.
One of those benefits is the fact that you will no longer depend that much on the local grid for electricity. With a home running partially or wholly on solar power, massive energy bills at the end of the month will be a thing of the past. The solar panels may cost you, but the sun’s rays are for free, and will stay that way for a few billion years more. The sun is also one of the cleanest sources of energy we have available.
Use energy-efficient lighting
If there are still incandescent bulbs in your home, get rid of all of them because they are not energy efficient. CFLs or compact fluorescent lamps fare better as far as energy consumption is concerned. But if you want even bigger energy savings, switch to much longer lasting LED lights, which use up to 75% less energy than incandescent lights.
Install more efficient plumbing systems
If the toilets, faucets, and showerheads in your home are old, they aren’t likely to be as water-efficient as the new models available today. So if you can replace them with these plumbing systems designed to conserve water, then go for it. You will help save a very precious commodity, and see a drop in your water bill as well.
Proper insulation is crucial to making your home as energy-efficient as possible. You’re spending money heating and cooling the air inside your home, but you would just be wasting a lot of that money if you let them escape because your walls, doors, windows, roofs, and floors aren’t well-insulated. So seal those gaps, and enjoy the heat and coolness from your HVAC system using less energy.
Buy energy-efficient appliances
Speaking of energy efficiency, you would want your appliances to have the "Energy Star" logo emblazoned on it. That’s because refrigerators, AC units, and other appliances that bear the Energy Star logo use up to 10 to 50 percent less electricity.
Homes that have plants inside the house look nice, but they aren’t there just for aesthetic reasons. As our biology teachers had taught us when we were kids, plants use a process called photosynthesis to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen. Aside from giving us more air to breathe, houseplants also filter the air. Our air quality inside our homes is going to be better if we put in some greenery indoors.
Use microwave ovens
Microwave ovens need only half of the energy that conventional ovens use. They also don’t emit any heat, so it won’t make your AC system work harder to keep everyone cool. Add to that the fact that you can actually recycle many of its components, and you have a cooking tool that is so much friendlier to the environment than your traditional oven or stove.
Use sustainable materials
When building or renovating a home, it would be great if you incorporate sustainable materials for its construction. Bamboo is a great material for walls and floors. So is wood. And to further emphasize sustainability, try to go for concrete fortified with recycled plastic. And if you can avoid paint or wood treatment products filled with solvents and other ozone layer-harming substances, then you’re on the right track.
It would also be great if you can discuss your goal of having a highly eco-friendly home with a sustainability consultant. Home builders who are specialists in constructing sustainable structures can also help you explore your options.
Encourage everybody to recycle
Making your home eco-friendly would be a very difficult thing to achieve if you’re the only one in the household working toward it. Get your entire family involved by encouraging everyone to recycle and upcycle so you can contribute to the reduction of waste. It’s also a step in the right direction if you decide to buy only tissues, paper napkins, and other products made from recycled material.
Considering the shape the environment is in, efforts like making your house more eco-friendly seem like a very steep uphill climb. But we have to try, and our home is as good a place as any to start caring for the environment.