Some of the most significant sources of pollution globally are carbon dioxide and single-use plastics. In the UK, 12% of carbon emissions come from domestic and residential buildings. The good news is that many people in the UK and worldwide, are becoming more environmentally conscious. Since you spend most of your time in your home, why not start making a difference there? Not only will you be protecting the environment by adopting sustainable measures, but you will also save money in the long run. Here are some ways you can make small sustainable changes to make your home greener and more eco-friendly:
Use energy-efficient light bulbs
As inefficient halogen and incandescent light bulbs are being phased out of the market, it is time for energy-saving bulbs to ‘shine’ through. These new light bulbs are more durable (lasts 12 times more), emit brighter light, and as their names denote, reduce the amount of energy required to power them up, as well as your home’s carbon footprint. That means it will lower your electricity bills at the end of the month. Some of the most common energy-efficient lightbulbs are compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). When you are replacing your bulbs with more environmentally friendly ones, look out for three major factors: its colour, lumen value, and type.
The colour of your lightbulb majorly depends on your personal choice. If you want a more natural feel to your home, use bulbs that are soft white. For rooms that require more light, use lightbulbs that are pure white. There are several other colours to choose from. The lumen value is the newest way to determine the brightness of energy-saving bulbs because original light bulbs were measured in wattages. Since they no longer require much energy, it may not be practical to measure in watts. The lumen value is, therefore, more accurate.
Finally, the type of bulb you will use depends on where or how you would like to use it. Outdoor lighting systems typically include using CFLs and LEDs.
Change the way you wash and dry your clothes
Your washing machine uses the bulk of its energy for hot water. That means you are emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. What you can do instead is skip the hot water and opt for cold water. Not only will cold water require less energy, but it will keep your clothes in top shape, as hot water can cause your clothes to lose colour quickly. At the very least, if you are not entirely comfortable with the idea of using cold water to wash, you can use the warm water option. That is still better than using heated water, although the colder, the better.
Once your washing is done, try to skip using the dryer as much as possible. It would be best to hang your wet clothes over a drying line during the hotter periods in the year. Not only will it be more energy-efficient, but the sun’s UV rays kill bacteria that might have survived during your wash. If you do not have a backyard, you can buy a drying line rack and set it up on your balcony during the warmer months to let the sun dry your clothes.
Use the shower more often
You might have heard this at some point in time; most eco-friendly proponents advise that you take showers, especially since you might spend less time in there as opposed to using a bath. That’s true, but it also depends on how long you will typically spend in the shower. The shortness of the time you spend in the shower might vary in understanding among different users. However, generally, if you want to be more environmentally conscious, you should spend about five minutes in the shower. Taking shorter showers have their benefits. By reducing your water consumption, you will be saving costs on your energy and water bills. If you want to make a difference, why not use cold water to shower during the summer since hot water requires more energy?
Use natural cleaning products
Natural home cleaning products work just as effectively as mass-produced supermarket cleaning products, and they do more than only clean; they protect the environment! Store-bought cleaning products contain harmful chemicals, which, when washed away, can enter your home’s water supply. On the other hand, you can use natural cleaning products like vinegar and bicarbonate of soda for your daily cleaning activities. The downside to these products is that they might be more costly to purchase, but you can whip up your own homemade cleaning products using everyday kitchen items if you are feeling creative.
Decorate your home with potted plants
Houseplants make your home look more beautiful. But there is more to them than just the aesthetics. Plants breathe out oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide. This reverse action helps to clean up the air and remove harmful toxins. Apart from that, studies have shown that having houseplants in your home can boost productivity and improve your life quality. Plus, if you want to try your hand at a little gardening, you can plant some fruit and vegetables indoors. If you do not have a garden, you can set up a makeshift garden on your rooftop or your windows, as long as you have access to sufficient sunshine. Crops like tomatoes, mandarin oranges, lemons, and carrots grow well indoors. Another bonus is that it will reduce the amount of money you spend on fruits and veggies at the supermarket.
Invest in a smart kitchen
Upgrading your kitchen appliances might be an expensive endeavour, but it is one that could potentially save you from wastages and energy costs. If your home has old model kitchen appliances, it might be time to make that switch to modern energy-efficient equipment. Refrigerators account for nearly 15% of your home’s energy consumption. Fortunately, there are new energy-efficient designs that beat the government’s energy consumption standards. Depending on the brand and size, you might be able to find one at an affordable rate. When upgrading your kitchen or making it more eco-friendly, it would be best to consider the size. Bigger appliances might be more convenient, but they consume a lot of energy. Ideally, it would help if you opted for smaller devices.
Manage your waste better
Most homes produce lots of waste, which ends up in landfills that pollute the environment. If you are determined to make your home eco-friendlier, there are a few measures to adopt. One of the most common ways to manage your waste is to set up a classification system. Separate all sorts of waste products your home generates. Ensure that you separate all recyclable, organic, and hazardous waste into separate bins. To make it easily identifiable, you can label or colour code your waste bins. Contact your local waste management services company if you want to purchase additional bins. They might be able to help you find the right-sized bins and the type you need based on the kind of waste you usually generate.
Make your compost
To be more eco-friendly, you must not immediately discard all organic waste and leftover food. You can turn it into compost. Composting is excellent for gardening because it adds valuable nutrients to the soil. It also helps the solid retain water for better plant growth. Composting also reduces waste at landfills. Yes, your waste might decompose at a landfill site, but you can make better use of it. Plus, it is excellent for the environment since you would not need to purchase fertilizers and chemicals, which are sometimes harmful, for your garden.
Take advantage of solar panels
If you want to have an eco-friendly home, you might have considered getting solar panels installed. Solar panels are relatively costly but are a long-term investment that gives you value for your money. Plus, you can even make a small living from your solar panels. Solar panels provide you with clean energy to power your home, and if you make surplus amounts, you can sell it back to the grid. Solar energy is long-lasting; since we are likely to always have the sun, it is impossible to run out.
Get a smart metre
With the colder weather fast approaching, you might crank up the heating in your home to keep you warm and comfortable. But heating takes a significant amount of energy in your home. Because it is not regulated, it could lead to a lot of wasted energy and expensive bills. What you can do to control your heating is to install a smart metre. These metres are designed so that it regulates heating around your home, especially during times when you and members of your household are not around. You can set up your smart metre at certain times of the day, such as when you are a couple of minutes away from home. These devices are worth investing in, especially for people looking to reduce their carbon footprints and reduce their energy bills.
If you are concerned about the environment and how to protect it, these steps will help you start. Going green has numerous benefits. Aside from protecting the earth, it will also help reduce your household costs, therefore making you save better.