Home Improvement Tips: How To Make Your Home Sustainable
Sustainability starts at home. As humans, we consume an extraordinary amount and expend a lot of excess energy. This inefficient way of living is both expensive and detrimental to the environment.
If you’ve been looking to improve your home in a sustainable manner, we’ve got some ideas that could help.
Creating A Vegetable Garden
Food prices are going up all the time, and all while our global food waste is accumulating. The food waste from your kitchen doesn’t only have value as compost feed. It’s also a source of seeds and cuttings from which you can start your own vegetable garden.
If you’re buying from your local farmer’s market, you can replant certain fruits and vegetables from their seeds, while offcuts are ideal for composting to feed the garden.
You can use planters, or section off some of your garden to grow your own vegetables. A vegetable garden is far more sustainable than a thirsty lawn, and the result is far more delicious too.
Adding A Graywater System
While using gray water in the garden may seem like a no-brainer, you need to do so with care. Certain cleaning products can be detrimental to the quality of your soil. Even cleaning products marketed as “green alternatives” can contain these soil-harming compounds.
Most soaps are made with sodium hydroxide, also known as lye. These salts reduce the amount of water plants are able to absorb from the soil, actually “pulling” water away from the plants. Over time, this damage could cause a mini drought in your backyard.
Put time into finding cleaning products that use potassium hydroxide-based lye. These soaps actually add a micronutrient (potassium) to the soil. This means your graywater will benefit your plants and the surrounding land.
Another place to use your graywater is in the bathroom. With an afternoon’s handiwork, you can attach your sink to your toilet cistern. This means that every time you flush, you’ll be using the water from hand-washing and teeth-brushing, rather than 9 liters of usable drinking water.
Upgrade To Energy Efficient Appliances
Using less power benefits both your wallet and the environment. In the warm, light summer months, electricity consumption might not cross your mind. Come wintertime, however, and your energy bill skyrockets. It’s time to upgrade your appliances to more energy efficient alternatives.
Start with making sure all your lightbulbs are LEDs. LEDs give off no heat, meaning they are safer and use a lot less power. LEDs are now available in many different temperatures from cool to warm and they’ll last longer too.
Gas is an affordable, efficient alternative to electric stovetops. Nothing beats the sound of a kettle whistling on the stovetop. If you can’t make the move to gas, induction and convection stovetops use less power by heating your pots and pans directly. This prevents unnecessary energy expenditure.
If you buy any large appliances such as refrigerators, dishwashers or washers and tumble dryers, ensure they have a low energy use rating.
As with stovetops, any appliance that gives off heat is bound to cost you and the environment. Air conditioners and heaters are some of the biggest consumers of household electricity. Improving your house’s insulation is a great way to keep cozy during winter, and cool in summer.
Insulation is usually found in the ceilings and walls of your house. Over time, it degrades and stops being as effective. Redoing your insulation will lower your energy bills and can even improve your air quality.
If redoing your insulation isn’t feasible, you can make smaller changes that still make a difference. Start by fixing any windows that don’t close tightly and install weather tape around your door frames. This will prevent cool drafts and reduce the need for heating appliances.
You can also put draught excluders in front of doors and hang heavy blackout curtains or blinds that retain heat or keep out the sun. Your home will feel more comfortable, and you’ll save money in the long run.
Choose Reclaimed Building Materials
Eco-friendly people have a favorite place that you might not have visited. The dump. While the dump might seem like an odd place to start your renovations, most suburban dumps organize their waste by category. Useful items are sold back to the public.
Beyond being a treasure trove of inexpensive frames and fixable appliances, the amount of usable building materials taken to dumps is overwhelming. From window frames to kitchen sinks and bathtubs, these items are almost free for the taking if you’re willing to put in some TLC.
Using reclaimed materials is the best step to take if you want to upgrade your home in an eco-friendly way. Many urban greenhouses and conservatories are built from reclaimed windows. With a little elbow grease, reclaimed materials can give your home a unique, rustic appeal.
Adding An Eco-Pool
Conventional swimming pools use harsh chemicals to keep the water clean and clear. These chemicals are harmful to your skin and eyes, not to mention any critters that could fall in.
Converting your pool to an eco-pool is easier than you might think. Think of it as having a river at the bottom of the garden. The pool’s pump creates a current similar to the natural flow of a river. You can then create floating platforms that support and contain indigenous reeds and water lilies. These platforms are easy to make with reclaimed PVC pipe or old bottles. Don’t worry, water and foliage hide them from view. The plants’ roots then filter and absorb the water, keeping your pool naturally clean.
Eco-pools add value to your home and are a wonderful way to relax and unwind after a long day. With our busy schedules affecting everything from sleep to our relationships, adding an eco-pool is an excellent way to combine sustainable living with creating a peaceful environment.
The Path To A Sustainable Home
Creating a sustainable home is all about shifting your mindset. Choosing to use reclaimed materials and swimming in an eco-pool might sound a bit strange if you’re used to living in a sleek, modern home. But times are changing.
Realizing that these methods contribute to a more sustainable future for yourself and the planet is the first step in creating a 21st century home. Start with the basic, small fixes and move on from there. Every step you take is a step in the right direction.
About The Author: Mara Sampson is a passionate writer and editor who specializes in writing content that piques the interest of home enthusiasts, such as home renovation, interior design and DIY. When she’s not tapping away at her keyboard, you’ll find Mara answering expert-level crossword puzzles under the strict supervision of her Abyssinian cat, Munchkin.
Photo by Johnny McClung on Unsplash
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