Nowadays, caring for the environment we live in is taking a front seat in both public opinion and day-to-day living, but sometimes we can find it hard to break old habits. Your new home should be an environment in which kids learn how to live more sustainably and parents feel happy that they are doing their part for the earth. It can be easy if you know how, so we’ve assembled 7 hints to get you started on living in a more eco-friendly household in an easy and achievable way.
Use Recycled Building Materials
When building or renovating your new home, opt for recycled building materials. Choose locally, wherever possible, to reduce the energy it takes to transport materials to you. Also consider what materials incur less impact on the environment, for example, choose bamboo for flooring instead of hardwood. Even when buying recycled materials you’re affecting demand, so always go for the most sustainable options.
Install solar panels in your home to help you with power and heating. It’s a free and sustainable source of energy that is great for the environment and your bank account. You’ll save money on electricity and gas bills and you may be eligible for a rebate so check what government incentives are available in your state.
Limit Your Water Usage
When you cut down on your water usage you’re reducing the environmental impact of urban water demands but you’re also doing yourself a favour by reducing your water bill. Having shorter showers, for example, will also reduce your power bill as you’re heating less water.
By putting an aerator on taps around the home you could halve your water usage, or you could choose to install a low-flow toilet. Have a timer in the shower so you can be mindful of your water usage, turn the tap off while you brush your teeth, and use a hose to water the garden instead of leaving the sprinklers on.
Choose Your Appliances Wisely
Make sure you choose appliances for your home that are energy efficient. Always check the energy star rating when buying and go for the best energy efficiency that your budget will allow. Replace any old appliances with new, more eco-friendly devices and get rid of any non-essential appliances like that beaten-up old freezer running in the garage.
Natural Cooling and Heating
When building or renovating, design your home in a way that maximises use of the natural elements for keeping your home cool in summer and warm in winter. Consider what direction the house is facing and what rooms you want to get the morning or afternoon sun, create large windows that you can open to get lots of air flowing through the house, and double glaze your windows to keep the heat in when needed. The less money and energy you need to spend to keep the house comfortable, the better.
Reduce Paper Consumption
Try to limit the amount of paper that is used and wasted at home. For example, rather than having the newspaper delivered, get your news online, and sign up to receive any bills or bank statements via email instead of by post. When buying paper for your printer or buying notepads or school books, opt for recycled paper and remember to recycle your used paper.
Make Recycling Easy
If recycling feels like a chore it will become difficult to get everybody involved in the process. Make sure you have a separate bin for recycling so you don’t have to separate your trash afterwards and ensure this bin is near or next to your bin for general waste, making it just as easy to recycle as to use the general bin. If you’ve got kids, you could try making up a poster to place by the bin with a guide on what can be recycled.
These are just a few handy hints for making your household more sustainable, and they have little impact on the way you life your daily life. They are easy to follow and there’s always more room for improvement, so once you've got these down pat, try investigating further measures to reduce your footprint.
Dimitri is a Real Estate Specialist from the Gold Coast in Australia. He says that many people are turning to sustainable living options and provides this advice for new home buyers. Dimitri has a keen interest in property development and plans to build a completely sustainable community in the near future.