If you wanted to be greener 20 or 30 years ago, all you could do is waste less electricity by turning off the lights or waste less water by taking shorter showers. However, today, there are many different, more efficient and practical ways for you to be eco-friendly at home. You can do as little as changing your light bulb or go big and invest in sustainable materials. Here are our top energy-efficient and eco-friendly ways of making your home greener.
If you’re looking to buy furniture for your home, make sure to check the label and look for certified sustainably-harvested pieces or recycled furniture. You can also invest in reclaimed wood. This wood comes from previous constructions and was given a new purpose instead of ending up in a landfill. Additionally, before going to a big furniture store, you can visit an antique shop and maybe invest in a vintage piece instead of buying new furniture.
Another thing you might want to pay attention to is where the materials come from and where the piece was produced. Locally harvested materials and locally made products leave a smaller carbon footprint and they support small businesses. However, the most important thing is to choose high-quality and durable furniture. If your table falls apart in a year and you have to dump it and replace it with a new one, it’s far from being eco-friendly.
Everybody knows that LEDs are much more environmentally friendly than incandescent bulbs, but still, not everyone chooses to invest in them. Many people use the colour of LED bulbs as an excuse for sticking to traditional ones. Yes, LEDs used to have that cool, bluish light instead of warm, yellow-based light of incandescent bulbs. However, today you can get the best of both worlds with Philips SceneSwitch. Now, you can choose between different settings, like daylight, soft white and warm white, without using a dimmer. No more excuses.
Most of regular wall paints contain volatile organic compounds or VOCs. These solvents help the paint look uniform on your wall, but as the paint dries and molecules get released into the air, VOCs are known to cause strong headaches and even lung problems. There are low- and zero-VOC paints that are much less harmful for your health and more eco-friendly.
Many people today are going back to wooden windows. They provide better insulation than UPVC, last longer, and are easier to repair. So, if you can, replace your UPVC windows with natural wood. Additionally, check out double-glazing if you want to be even more energy-efficient.
Green materials used to be quite expensive and quite unattractive. But, today, there is a variety of amazing sustainable materials you can use both for the exterior and the interior of your green home. For instance, bamboo, especially strand woven bamboo flooring is attractive, sustainable and very durable flooring option (it’s almost two-and-a-half times stronger than hardwood). Another great option is cork. Cork is sustainable (harvested from oak without damaging the tree), hypoallergenic, shock-absorbent and a great noise insulator. If you want something really innovative and green in your home, you can check out coconut shell tiles which are super-decorative, sustainable, and quite exotic. Stone can also be a great natural option for your home, and you can introduce it in the form of stone bathtubs, tiles and outdoor pavers. Other green materials you can use in your home are concrete, linoleum, bioglass and many others.
With all those water-shortages all around the world, conserving water is more important than ever. So, think about switching your old toilets, faucets and showerheads for low-flow models that waste much less water. Also, if your water heater is more than 10 years old, it’s time to replace it with a newer model that’s much more energy-efficient.
Now that you have seen that being eco-friendly at home isn’t as hard as it may sound, it’s time for you to join the green club and build a better future for your kids and grandkids.
Guest article provided by Catherine Collins. Catherine is a passionate home design consultant from Melbourne. She loves making homes beautiful and buildings sustainable, but she also like sharing her advice and knowledge with people. That is why she is also a regular contributor to the Smoothdecorator blog. Besides all this, she loves reading and enjoys a superhero movie from time to time.