10 Ways to Make Your Home More Sustainable
It's Earth Day! Have you hugged your favorite tree today? Whether you are looking to renovate your home or make some lifestyle adjustments, there are always ways to improve your carbon footprint on the earth. In honor of this worldwide event, I've come up with 10 ways to celebrate year-round.
Making smart swaps to your building materials and finishes will make your home more sustainable, add property value, and add style. Wool and wood fibre are both non-toxic alternatives to conventional foamboard and Thermawrap insulation. When updating finishes in your home, choose materials made from renewable resources like bamboo and cork.
Recycle and Reuse
I'm not talking about the normal recycling, which we should all be practicing daily. I'm talking about building materials, extra paint, and household materials that are no longer needed (yes- even toilets!) Architectural salvage facilities are in the business of taking these goods and finding new homes for them, ensuring they don't end up in landfills. Here in the Bay Area, Urban Ore is a beautiful local salvage and thrift center located in Berkeley. Check and see if you have one of these gems in your area, and if you plan on recycling products- always check their drop off rules ahead of time. If you plan to shop, bring gloves and make a day out of it!
Create a compost bin
When we toss out organic food waste it goes straight to a landfill with the rest of our trash. While it's decomposing, it produces methane gas, which is a greenhouse gas. While landfills have technology to take care of these gases, we can offset them by not creating them in the first place. Instead, recycle organic waste by turning it into something you can reuse. Simply defined, compost is food and yard waste broken down to become food for plants. Getting started may seem a bit daunting, but the pay off is great. EarthEasy has a great guide on how to get started with composting.
Get the kids involved
Springtime is the perfect time to get outside and teach your children the fundamentals of gardening. Not only does gardening allow for children to explore and use all their senses, it allows you to show them the cycle of life through plants while providing them with environmental awareness. Apartment dwellers? Try a vertical garden, or hit up your local community garden and make some like-minded friends at the same time.
Install Smart Devices
Smart devices (like thermostats, sprinkler and lighting systems) track when and how you use them and then help make adjustments to save energy, water, etc. On top of this they can be turned off and on away from home, so essentially, you are streamlining how your house functions with your routine. Smart devices are not for every home, depending on a number of factors. If you plan on moving before you've had time to make your money back, then you will be better off saving this for down the road. But if you are planning on staying in your home for a long time- a smart thermostat or home system could definitely be beneficial to you.
Refrigerators are the biggest power consumers in the home. Upgrade them and other appliances by choosing models that are energy star rated. When shopping for your new appliances, compare the energy guide that comes with every appliance to see how they rank. Find the energy efficient rating- the lower the number, the better. Also, be sure to look for the scale of similar models, to see where your particular model matches up. Here, you will see a big pay off by spending more on a quality, energy efficient product.
Clean with earth-conscious products
The benefits of cleaning with organic products or ones you make yourself need little explanation. The benefits of using these kinds of cleaners mean you really know what is going on to your counters, floors and windows- thus into the air, your lungs and skin.
Not only does shopping at your farmers market support local businesses and economy, it also provides a wealth of sustainable benefits. Shopping local keeps packaging, processing, and travel costs down to get food from the farm to your table, which in turn greatly decreases it's environmental impact. Not having to ship inventory out also means that farmers can focus their time on food production and produce more food.
House plants not only add style to your home, they have many health benefits as well. Keeping plants indoors help purify your air with photosynthesis. We inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide- plants do the reverse. Plants help clean the air and improve air quality by removing pollutants through the leaves. The rule of thumb is 1 plant/100 sqft. of indoor space.
Interested in making your own home more sustainable?
Get more eco-friendly home design inspiration on my Pinterest Page!
Peace & Love,