No doubt, sustainability is trending among homeowners in 2022. From home design to material sourcing and gardening, sustainable practices will prevail. A sustainable home offers distinct benefits – it improves your health, saves money, and provides a cleaner environment for you and your loved ones.
As a homeowner, you don’t have to break the bank to apply eco-friendly materials or save energy. The following tips and examples will reveal how you can make your home more environmentally friendly this year.
Select eco-friendly materials
If you intend to remodel part of your house, consider repurposed materials. Why? Renovating a home produces a large amount of waste. Always remember the three “R”s: Reduce, recycle, reuse.
Choosing repurposed materials allows you to reduce waste by recycling reclaimed materials. You can find reclaimed materials in specialty stores that stock eco-friendly materials.
Look for reusable wood beams, doors, copper wires, and old cabinets. You may even choose to recycle fixtures and furniture in antique stores.
Also, remember to use eco-friendly finishing materials. Paint readily comes to mind here. Avoid choosing any paint that gives off VOCs. Ensure that the manufacturer clearly states that the paint contains safe and renewable materials.
Cultivate a garden
Planting a garden should be one of your priorities. It does not matter how big or small it is.
The benefits of cultivating a garden include:
• Air purification: Plants absorb carbon dioxide and other air pollutants. They also produce oxygen and clean air.
• Soil improvement: Weeds and garden plants prevent soil erosion. Some plants like clover, peas, and beans serve as “green manure” to enrich the soil.
• Wildlife conservation: Flowers attract insects like bees to pollinate them. Your garden plants may even become a suitable habitat for endangered small animal species.
• Provision of fresh food: A well-organized garden can provide fresh veggies, fruits, and nuts to nourish your family.
• Health: Working in a garden is an excellent way to keep fit. Staying in your garden also improves your mood and reduces stress.
Manage green waste
If you have a large yard or garden, you should learn how to handle the green waste Taking proper care of your yard and food waste can reduce one-third of your domestic waste.
Recycling or reusing this waste has a massive impact on the environment. It will reduce the waste sent to landfills significantly.
A smart way to recycle yard waste is to create a compost bin. Put those fruit peels, coffee grounds, and grass clippings together in a compost pit. When they decompose, use them to fertilize your garden.
Treated potable water costs energy to produce. So, you should conserve and recycle it.
To conserve water, you should:
• Use a low-flow water closet. The traditional design takes 3 to 4 gallons of water, while the low-flow design can reduce water usage by 50%.
• Recycle grey water. Use water from your kitchen to water your garden.
• Harvest rainwater. Collect water from your roof and use it to irrigate your yard or clean your car.
Most of the energy we use for lighting, heating, and appliances comes from burning fossil fuels. Even if yours comes from renewable sources, you still need to reduce energy use at home.
You can conserve energy by:
• Improving insulation around windows, doors, and attic.
• Switching off lights when you leave a room
• Installing motion sensors to control security lights
• Using a programmable thermostat to control your air conditioner
Energy conservation goes beyond saving the environment, it leaves more money in your bank account.
Use LED lighting
If your home still has old fluorescent tubes or incandescent lights, you should replace them with LED bulbs. They are more energy-efficient. And they could pay back the replacement cost within a year through lower energy bills.
LED lights come in various shapes, colors, and sizes. You will find different designs for ceiling lights, wall lights, standing lamps, and spot lights.
Seal or upgrade doors and windows
Those tiny gaps between windows and walls account for a great loss of home energy. But you can prevent this.
First, reseal the windows and doors with caulk or weather stripping. Use a lit candle to detect the drafty windows.
Next, plan to replace old windows with new energy-efficient windows. These windows have double glazing and can drastically reduce energy losses.
Use solar energy
Solar energy is less expensive today than it was a decade ago. You can take advantage of this renewable energy source in different ways:
• Install solar panels on your roof
• Cool your attic with solar-powered fans
• Use solar water heaters to reduce your energy bill
• Install solar lights outdoors to illuminate your yard and garden.
With these tips and ideas, you can start building a sustainable home. Review them again and make a plan to implement at least one idea before the end of the year.