Guest post by Helen O'Keefe
Green living doesn’t require a large-scale overhaul of our day-to-day habits. By implementing a few minor changes which are quick and inexpensive to activate, we can drastically reduce our carbon footprint, leading to us feeling healthier and happier for knowing that we’ve done a bit to contribute to a greener environment. What small yet significant steps can you take to make your home a more eco-friendly place?
Thin, hollow walls hemorrhage heat out of a living space, most of the time without us realizing it. With winter not far away, now is the perfect time to research how you can improve the insulation of your home’s walls.
How many times do you walk around the house and see lights left on in rooms that are unoccupied? It’s a terrible habit and one that churns energy and adds unnecessary amounts to your utility bills. You only need to have a light on when it’s dark outside and when there are people in a room; otherwise, switch it off! Also, investing in energy-efficient LED bulbs will lead to reduced lighting costs in the long-run, even though they may seem more expensive than standard fluorescent bulbs.
Even when the main lights in a room are off, red dots could be puncturing the darkness. These are from electrical appliances that may seem to be switched off, but are still active at the source and using electricity. Switching them off fully saves power and money and it only takes a minute or two for them to get back up and running the next day. Using a power strip for multiple appliances makes switching them off and on again easy.
We buy furniture as a long-term investment for our homes, so it’s worth thinking about the long-term when it comes to judging what represents good value. Investing in quality furniture now will end up costing you less than opting for a cheap piece of furniture that falls apart within a few months and forces you to go shopping again. What’s even better? Choosing furniture made from reclaimed wood)
Simple actions like drawing the curtains after dark or turning down the thermostat slightly improve heating efficiency, although it’s worth considering longer-term tasks such as replacing your boiler if it is more than a decade old, or adding solar panels to your roof if that it feasible.
Yes, baths are incredibly soothing and luxurious, but they use twice as much water as a five-minute shower, so the latter is the preferable option for regular washing. Low-flow showerheads will ensure a more efficient wash, too. With appliances like dishwashers and washing machines, wait until they are full before using. When merely half-full, a lot of water is needlessly purged. Using appliances made for compact loads, or purchasing full-size appliances equipped with inserts and settings for small loads is worth the initial added expense if you need to wash small loads on a regular basis.
A little greenery inside and outside your home not only looks pretty but helps the environment also. Indoor plants help to filter the air, while outside composting reduces waste output, lessens waste disposal charges and shrinks your contribution to landfills.
By implementing even some of these suggestions, along with a few more included in the infographic below from EZ Living Interiors, you can turn your home into a haven of eco-friendliness, if it isn’t already one. It doesn’t take a superhuman effort to actively contribute to a healthier environment. These are simple changes that will pay off handsomely in the long run, both for you and for Mother Earth.
Helen O’Keeffe works for EZ Living Interiors, a home furnishings retailer based in Ireland and the UK. She frequently writes informative content about interiors and home living and she is committed to implementing best environmental practices in her own home.