How to Make Your Home Friendlier to the Environment
There was a time when not too many people cared about the environment. Its rapidly-declining state over the last decade or so, however, has alerted many to the fact that not taking care of the environment is tantamount to not taking care of ourselves and future generations. Because frankly, how can we expect to live on a planet where the ecology is out of whack?
Some may say it’s a case of too little, too late, but it’s still heartening to know that many among us are now making an effort to live greener lives, starting with turning their houses into more eco-friendly homes. If you’re planning a home remodel or even a new home construction, here are some of the ways you can make your home a much greener place.
Concrete is one of the most commonly used materials in construction, but there are materials out there that are better than concrete when it comes to eco-friendliness. Bamboo, for example, is excellent for floors and walls. Another type of sustainable material that is growing in popularity is recycled plastic, which, when added to concrete, fortifies it. Of course, wood is also a great sustainable material for any construction project.
Also, don’t use paint or wood treatment products that contain solvents and other substances that may harm the ozone layer.
If you want your home to be as eco-friendly as possible, talk to a sustainability consultant who can guide you as you explore your options. You can also hire home builders that specialize in sustainable structures.
If you want to make your home as energy-efficient as possible, then make sure it’s adequately insulated. When you have well-insulated walls, doors, windows, roofs, and floors, you can prevent heated or cooled air from escaping, and that should improve the energy efficiency of your home.
Are you dependent on artificial lighting to brighten up the interior of your home during the day? You can end that dependence by installing skylights, which would let sunlight into your home and illuminate everything for free.
Aside from illumination, letting more sunlight in your home through skylights provides health benefits as well, including improved vitamin D production and better sleep.
Energy-efficient light bulbs
Speaking of illumination, you are still going to need artificial lighting at night. However, forget about incandescent bulbs. Switch to compact fluorescent lamps instead. Better yet, go for LED lights, which use up to 75% less electricity and are long-lasting as well.
Water-efficient plumbing systems
Water wastage is an everyday fact. When our plumbing systems are of the older type, we tend to waste a lot of water simply because they weren’t designed to conserve precious water. It’s a good thing then that manufacturers saw fit to develop and produce water-efficient faucets, showerheads, and toilets designed to conserve water. Have them installed in your home and watch your water bill drop because of them.
Many homeowners add plant life outside and inside their homes for aesthetic purposes, but plants do more than just beautify the place. They also release oxygen and filter the air for added measure. With houseplants, you are going to have improved air quality indoors.
Appliances that carry the “Energy Star” logo use up to 10 to 50 percent less electricity than those without it. So go for refrigerators, AC units, and other appliances that bear the mark to ensure better energy efficiency.
Recycle and upcycle
Your home will be a much eco-friendlier place if everyone who lives in it practice recycling and upcycling at all times. They are the easiest way to cut overall waste. Buying tissues, paper napkins, and other products made from recycled material will also get a nod of approval from the environment.
Use microwave ovens
Many among us use conventional ovens when cooking, but did you know that microwave ovens are actually more eco-friendly? Microwave ovens use 50% less energy, they don’t emit heat, and many of its components can be recycled.
Of all the tips for making a more eco-friendly home, this one is probably the one that requires a significant investment. Yes, installing solar panels for your home still costs a pretty penny, but think of its long-term benefits.
Electricity will inevitably become more expensive with each passing year, but when your home is partially or fully-powered by the sun, you won’t have to worry about huge energy bills anymore. The sun, after all, is one of the cleanest and freest energy sources of them all, and it will still be around for a couple billion years or more. It may cost some money, but it will mean incredible savings in the long run.
Solar power also means you can reduce your dependence on conventional energy sources, which are typically more expensive, harmful to the environment, and extremely limited.
There is no magic bullet to fix the environment, not with the harm we have inflicted on it for the last 200 years. Still, we can contribute to that goal in our own little way, starting with making our homes more eco-friendly.