How to make your home a greener place to live

How to make your home a greener place to live

Everybody has the desire to try to live a better and healthier lifestyle, and in the same way, they also want to use as few natural resources as possible. Just as there are options in the way you can live, there are also ways you can turn your house into something that’s far more energy efficient and a lot greener. Here are some ideas that you can implement in your home that will make a significant difference to your life and the environment.

Smart thermostat app

Install programmable thermostats

If you’re the type of person that always leaves the heating or the air conditioning on when there’s no-one in the house, then a programmable thermostat is for you. It will allow you to control when you have the heating and the air conditioning on, so you can have it colder at night and slightly warmer in the mornings. These types of the thermostat will save you a lot of money and energy in the long term. To take things a step further, if you install a smart thermostat, you are getting all the benefits of a programmable version, plus the ability to turn it off and on when you’re not there. That means you can always instruct it to turn on just before you get home if you’re going to be late.

Saplings in light bulbs

Change your light bulbs

Traditional bulbs have long been known to be inefficient and have a relatively short lifespan. With the introduction of compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) and light-emitting diodes (LED), the cost of energy used by house lighting is drastically reduced. If you’re still using the older types of bulb, then changing them to CFL or LED ones will show an immediate difference in your energy consumption. In some cases, the only lights that couldn’t have this new type of bulb were those that were designed to be dimmed. However, there are now more modern versions of LED that are dimmable.

Bobble hats on roofs

Eliminate air leaks and heat loss

One of the main reasons that homes lose heat is through escaping air and uninsulated walls and roofs. If you’ve ever seen the roofs of houses after it snows you’ll see that the uninsulated ones have melted the snow, whereas those with insulation haven’t. If you’re not sure whether your home is insulated or not, you can get it checked and have insulation fitted that uses natural products. It’s not just the insulation that you need to think about; you should also look for anywhere the air is leaking out. It could be from the toilet outlet, or perhaps the outlet pipes for the sink. Fill the gaps with expanding foam or plaster to seal the holes and keep the heat inside. One other way that heat can escape is through your windows. It may be because they’re older windows with only a single pane of glass, then they could be losing much more heat. If that’s the case, then you should be thinking about window replacement Virginia Beach so that you can get new ones fitted.

Appliance energy label

Upgrade to energy efficient appliances

If your household appliances are more than a few years old, then they might not be terribly efficient. For that reason, you may want to consider changing devices such as your washing machine, fridge-freezer or dishwasher to one that has a higher energy star rating. Sometimes there are schemes involving your energy supplier that can help you cut the cost of replacing inefficient appliances.

Aerated tap water

Reduce water consumption

There are many ways that you can reduce your water consumption and lower not only your water bills but also help to conserve water. You can start by adding aerators on your taps and fitting low-flow shower heads. These use less water but still give a good spray, so you’re not missing the additional supply. You should also think about switching from taking baths to showers as this dramatically reduces your water usage. Another way to save water is to use plants in your garden that don’t need much water, or those that are native to your country. It will mean that you spend less time watering them and you’ll use less water to keep them healthy. You can also choose to fit a water butt to catch rainwater; you can recycle this natural water and use it in your garden.

Solar panels on a roof

Switch to solar power

There’s been an enormous boom in people choosing to get some or all their energy supply from solar power. There’s no doubt that for those who can have it, there’s a significant reduction in their energy bills. In some countries, you can even sell the power you don’t use back to the grid. There are solar solutions available for both hot water and electricity. With water, it’s pumped through tubes that absorb the sun’s energy and heat the water. With electricity, solar panels convert the sun’s energy into electricity. Both systems are fitted to the roof of your home and are placed at the best angle to get the most sun. There are also other water heating systems such as one that uses a series of underground pipes in your garden to absorb heat from the soil.

Compost heap

Compost

To reduce the amount of food waste that you send to landfill, you can buy or build a composter for your garden. The food waste goes on the top, and bacteria and worms turn it into compost that comes out of the bottom. Some food shouldn’t be composted – items such as meat, fish and bones. However, newspapers, junk mail, egg boxes and cardboard can be disposed of on to a compost heap. The other advantage of creating your own compost is that you’re not buying peat-based compost that is taking away natural, non-renewable resources.

If you’re looking to change the way your house uses energy, then there are many ways you can achieve it. As well as these ideas, you can also try growing some of your own food and fitting a more energy efficient boiler. With just a few simple changes, you can start to make a real difference to the planet.

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Price Points: Eco-friendly bedding

Selection of eco-friendly bedding | H is for Home

Following on from last week’s feature on reusable coffee cups, eco-friendly bedding is another responsible way in which you can be mindful of the earth’s natural resources.

Investing in any of the following will make your dreams even more sweet!

    1. Nimbus Pearl Smartdown pillow + duvet: £45 + £129, The Fine Bedding Company
      “Created from responsibly-sourced raw materials, Smartdown pillow and duvet fibres are made from recycled plastic bottles, uniquely spun and blown in such a way that they simulate the handfeel and warmth of natural down. The pillows are wrapped in a soft 280 thread count, sustainably sourced cotton cover and finished by hand in our own Eco-Factory”
    2. High quality white eco-friendly linen duvet cover set with tie closures: from £101.70, Etsy
      “Made of 100% pure eco-friendly linen which is very soft and certificated by OEKO-TEX® and doesn’t contain any harmful substances. Linen fabric is made of European flax grown in Latvia and woven in a local mill”
    3. Camelhair plush blanket: £344, greenfibres
      Un-dyed and untreated, with band used for edging made from wool. 50% camel hair, 50% organic merino wool on an 100% organic cotton floor”

Price Points: Reusable coffee cups

Selection of reusable coffee cups | H is for Home

The proliferation of plastic waste has been in the news a lot recently. The ever-expanding Great Pacific garbage patch is really alarming. At last, more is being done nationally and by the government to curb the use of plastic products. It began with the halt to giving away free plastic bags at the supermarket checkout. Recently, Iceland has been the first major supermarket to pledge to not use plastic on their own brand goods. Lets hope all the others soon follow suit.

Earlier this year, a call for a 25p ‘latté levy’ on disposable cups hit the headlines. Some coffee shops have long been offering a discount to customers who bring their own reusable coffee cups. Currently, very few people take up the offer. The hope is that the tax will increase that number in the same way as the charge on plastic bags.

Here are three of our favourite reusable coffee cups – much more attractive and easier to handle than the flimsy, throwaway ones passed over the counter by the barista.

We can all do our little bit to lessen the impact of plastic on the environment. Take reusable bags when we go shopping, buy loose goods where possible, recycle household waste

  1. Waitrose blue floral scatter coffee cup: £2, Waitrose
  2. Ecoffee cup William Morris Cornockle (400ml): £8.99, Planet Organic
  3. Bodum vacuum travel mug with cork band, 350ml: £20, John Lewis

Eco-friendly home decorating tips

Eco-friendly home decorating tips

As looking after the planet has become a more and more pressing matter, many people are hoping to change their ways in order to do their part for the cause. It’s important to become more conscious about how human actions can have severe consequences on the environment, not only in an altruistic sense but also to protect the planet so people can continue to live on it safely. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the process of decorating your home. For those who wish to help the planet while staying stylish, here are a few good tips on how to decorate without harming the environment.

House plant with blue glass lamp and books

Plants

Deforestation is a terrible issue. Natural resources are being used up and consumed faster than they can be replaced. That’s why it is important to help redress the balance in as many ways as possible. Although it may not quite be a forest, if everyone chose to decorate their home with more plant life, the world would surely benefit. Plus, greenery adds effortless beauty to any room. House plants help to keep the air clean whilst also brightening up their surroundings. You won’t need to worry about them clashing with your preferred sense of style either, as plants are timelessly attractive. Just make sure to research the characteristics of your chosen plants as some varieties can attract unwanted pests. You can look here to find out what you need to know about termite swarms to keep your home staying spick-and-span.

Green roofs on urban multi-storey buildings

Green roof

If you’re serious about your decision to help the planet recover from the overuse of its resources, a great way of reducing the amount on your energy bill is to install solar panels in your home. Whilst most are simply placed on the roof of a house, you can turn them into a feature. When the sunlight hits your roof, you’ll be able to store energy that’s completely green and environmentally friendly. If you’re lucky, you might even generate more than enough energy and the excess can be sold elsewhere. There are other ways of decorating the exterior of your home in eco-friendly ways. Why not grow grass or other low-maintenance plants on your roof to blend your home into the natural environment? Whether you live in the countryside or the city, a textured green roof is eye-catching and attractive to wildlife such as small birds and insects. Creepers and climbing plants growing up the exterior walls adds interest to any building and well-maintained window boxes make your home look pretty and will be bursting with life.

Hessian shopping bags

Recycling and upcycling

It’s all about reducing waste when it comes to protecting the environment. Fortunately, recycling has become almost second nature to most households. It might not seem like much, but by separating your metals, glass, plastic and cardboard and disposing of them properly you’re doing the world a huge favour. To extend this into your decorating, you can find or create furniture and homewares created from recycled or reclaimed materials. You’ll get the best of both worlds – stylish, beautiful, original interior design and a clean, green conscience.

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