For most of us, your home is more than just your castle. It’s more than just a place to where you can retreat after a long day, kick off your shoes, let down your hair, pour a glass of wine and relax. It’s also a statement. It’s a reflection of who you are. Every wall, every surface tells a story. It shows guests a little bit about where your design tastes lie and the photos you put on display provide a window into your memories. The way you decorate your home, just like the way you dress, the way you do your makeup and the way you style your hair is an exercise in self expression.
So, what kind of person do you want to be?
No matter how meticulously you decorate your home, no matter how gorgeous, clean and tidy you make it and no matter how carefully you choose what you hang on your walls, your home could be saying something very unflattering about you without your even realizing it. It can paint a picture of someone who isn’t doing as much for the environment as they could. We live in an age where we can no longer turn a blind eye to the difference our consumer choices make to the world around us. The UN has issued warnings that in just over a decade, our impact on climate change could reach the point of no return and even the late Stephen Hawking suggested that we could make the planet uninhabitable within a century.
The good news is that you don’t need to carry out expensive retrofitting or undermine your home’s gorgeous aesthetic. Just implement a few relatively small but super impactful changes!
Energy efficiency and the environment
There’s really no reason not to take steps to make your home a little more energy efficient. The less energy our homes use, the less we use our planet’s finite resources to generate that energy. Of course, you can help a lot by switching to a greener energy provider, but reducing your energy use can also save you a lot of money, day in and day out.
Your windows and doors- A lot of us lose a lot of heat energy through our windows. Replacing them with energy efficient double glazed alternatives can save a fortune and massively reduce your energy use. For extra efficiency, use windows with thermally broken frames. You could also be losing a lot of heat through your doors. Don’t worry, you don’t have to spend a fortune replacing them, just fit draft excluders to help them keep the heat in.
Your attic insulation- As well as literally going out the window, a lot of the heat energy you pay for can escape through your roof. Take a look at the state of your attic insulation. If you see puddles of moisture, droppings or signs of burrowing, it’s got to go!
Your lighting- Old fashioned incandescent light bulbs waste 90% of their energy on generating heat and only 10% on lighting your home. Replacing them with energy efficient bulbs could save you around $45 every year.
Your bathroom- Okay so water isn’t energy, but it’s easy to forget that it’s a finite natural resource. Everything you can do to reduce your home’s water use can make a difference. Even little and affordable things like fitting low-flow shower heads and taking fewer baths can make a big difference. If your toilet was only recently installed it may have a low-flush function that hasn’t been activated that could save you both water and money!
Get a little more green in your refrigerator!
Not many people know that animal husbandry for meat and dairy products is one of the world’s leading causes of climate change. In fact, animal agriculture causes more CO2 emissions than the entire transportation industry. What’s more, 70% of the world’s soy crops are grown for feeding livestock.
If you’re looking for one place in which you can make your home greener, start with your refrigerator. Nobody’s saying that you and your family have to become overnight vegans, but eating more plants and less of everything else can help to make a huge difference to the planet… And it might just make your family a little healthier too!
Do you really need all those cleaning products?
Take a look at all those cleaning products under your sink. Now, how many of those do you really need? We’ve been conditioned to believe that we need one kind of products for floors, another for surfaces, one for the bathroom and another for the kitchen… And it just isn’t true. Not only are all these cleaning products a waste of money, they can leak harmful compounds into your water system when they’re used.
The simple fact is, there’s very little that can’t be cleaned with bicarbonate of soda, spirit vinegar and water. In fact, a multi surface spray made from equal parts water and spirit vinegar with a little lemon juice and some essential oils for scent is enough to clean almost everything.
Rethink your garbage
Most households think that they should be recycling more… But Bea Johnson, author of Zero Waste Home thinks that we should all be recycling less. Mrs Johnson argues that we should use recycling as a last resort and never throw anything into landfill. By refusing single use plastics, reusing and repurposing wherever possible, composting food waste and buying foods from package free suppliers, any home can massively reduce its waste and make the world a greener place.
Grow whatever you can, wherever you can
Speaking of food, while not everyone has the space, the time or the right soil to grow a vegetable garden, it can still be helpful to grow what you can wherever you can. Whether it’s growing peppers by your kitchen window, or even herbs or spinach in your window box, growing whatever you can wherever you can, saves you money while doing your bit for the planet.
As you can see, your home can stay gorgeous while still doing more for the planet. You’ll probably wind up saving a little of your hard earned cash, too!