With minimising our environmental impact coming top of the list for a lot of people’s 2018 goals, there’s a lot of talk about how we can make our homes support our planet-friendly agendas more efficiently. Many of us know that as well as reducing the financial strain of our energy bills and doing our bit to become more eco, the right improvements can also add value to our homes as well. But with everything from small and simple swaps to significant structural changes possible in the name of minimising our carbon footprints, what options are available?
From the Micro….
Making your home, a greener place doesn’t have to be intimidating. You can start off with a few, easy to implement minor changes and see how you get on. These can be a great way to get started with a more environmentally-conscious ethos, they don’t require much upfront cash, and they can be a great way to test the waters and see how you feel about making more significant changes. Start by getting rid of paper towels, and cleaning or makeup removal wipes around the house.
These are a massive strain on landfill and hard to biodegrade. Look into alternatives like super absorbent microfibre tea towels, reusable makeup remover cloths and eco-friendly cleaning sprays. Next, switch up your traditional light bulbs for LED ones. They are much better for the environment, consume drastically less electricity, and one bulb will last over ten years, plus they give a much brighter light than old-style energy saving bulbs. Choose ones that offer a yellow-based light to avoid a harsh glare
…to the Medium…
If you’ve made all the simple swaps you can think of, and want to make bigger changes, is it time to redecorate? Your choices here can be eco. First of all, choose your pain carefully. Most mainstream paints contain Volatile Organic Compounds, a solvent to help the paint spread. This combines with other airborne chemicals and continues to give off the harmful gas for a few years. You can now shop for planet-friendlier ‘zero VOC’ paints in a range of colour options. When replacing furniture, consider upcycling. Antiques are a far better quality than flimsy flat pack kits and can be picked up at the moment for a fraction of their true value. If you must buy new, look for certified sustainably harvested wood options, such as bamboo.
…to the Macro
If its time for a more significant commitment, there are lots of projects to tackle. Find out about tax relief incentives to install solar power, and you could find yourself selling energy back to the electricity companies! If you have a large garden, investigate personal water boreholes that reduce your carbon emissions. Also look into installing high-efficiency windows, and you could gain back up to 40% of lost heat and turn the thermostat down permanently. Installing low-flow toilets and showerheads can also reduce water use and are just as efficient. You can also look at re-insulating your home with spray-on external claddings that hold in heat.