Sustainability is one of the buzzwords on the street. Finding ways to become more sustainable is important for everyone nit just big industries and governments. If we want a better and greener future, we all have to take responsibility for our actions. One way we can help with the green initiative do is to look at our own homes and find ways to make improvements that benefit not just ourselves but society as a whole. The truth is by being greener, you will be able to make savings on your fuel bills, so that’s something to remember if you are on the fence about making changes. Anyway, to help get you thinking, here are a few ways you can become more sustainable:
Cut Down on Rubbish Waste
Everyone creates waste, and a lot of it is preventable. So much plastic from packaging ends up in landfills that if you can find ways to reduce this, then you are definitely helping out the plastic pollution problem. Some plastics do not degrade or take so long to degrade that it will never happen in our lifetime. An ordinary plastic bottle can take up to 450 years or more to degrade. If you do not already recycle them, this is a great way to avoid things being sent to landfill. However, why not find ways to reduce how much waste you create. Firstly, maybe you can purchase from companies that have an ethical packaging process. When you go shopping, use reusable bags. Why not buy loose fruit and veg or go to a farmers market where you will not find plastic-wrapped fruit and veg. You can even buy ethically wrapped goods these days if you look about. Also, it may be worth your while trying to stop throwing away food. So much food gets thrown away simply because we bought too much. So be savvier when you buy food so that none of it gets chucked out. When you do cook and have leftover waste food, you can use this to make compost, or you can request a food bin from the council if you don’t already have one.
Environmentally-Friendly Cleaning Products
We all use a range of household cleaning products and in some are some very harsh chemicals. These harsh chemicals get into the air we breathe or are washed down the sink, and it all has an effect on the environment in some way. The chemicals that seem to have the worse effect include detergents, preservatives, and foaming agents. Next time you go shopping for cleaning products, look for eco-friendly ones that do not cause any harm to that natural environment and ecosystem. Ideally, use products with no synthetic ingredients.
Your Washing Machine
There are a few ways you can save energy and your bills by changing the way you use your washing machine. First of all, if you can wash in a cold wash, that is the most environmentally friendly way of washing. However, you don’t have to go that far, especially if you have children and a cold wash simply will not get out those stains. Instead, try reducing the temperature you wash on. For example, drop the thermostat from 40°C to 30°C. This should still have the same cleaning effect on your clothes, and that combined with an eco-friendly washing liquid and softener will help too. Another top tip is to avoid washing half loads. Only switch the washing machine on when it is full, then hang your clothes to dry rather than using the tumble drier.
Install Solar Panels
If you own your own home and have access to the roof, then installing solar panels is a great way to reduce your electricity consumption and save money on your bills. Although the initial outlay may set you back a bit, they really do come in their own over time. Also, with the rising cost of energy, it may be the wisest investment you can make. If you have the correct meter installed too, you can even sell the extra solar power you create on good days back to the grid and make money too. That means you are helping with the energy creation problem that is going to hit as old forms of electricity generation, such as coal-fired power stations, get phased out over time.
Servicing Your Heating and Cooling Systems
If you want your boiler and AC unit, if you have one, to run to their optimum, you need to have regular maintenance checkups. If your boiler has not been serviced for a while, it may well be using a lot more gas than need be. This will mean that it is not working as effectively as it could be and will be costing you a lot more on your gas bill. The best course of action is to have an annual service. It is wise to have this done on the opposite side of the year to your requirements. So, have the boiler serviced at the end of summer and the AC unit serviced in the autumn or winter. This will mean you are more likely to get an appointment to meet your needs, as there is less demand for that service, you may even have a reduction of servicing costs.
Energy Efficient Appliances
If you really want to reduce your bills, you can start swapping your appliances for energy-efficient ones. If you have any particularly old appliances that you regularly use, like a toaster or kettle, then you could start by upgrading those first. If you upgrade most things you use a lot, you should start to see your electricity bill usage come down.
Energy Efficient Light Bulbs
If you can, try and maximize the amount of natural light coming into your home through the window. You can do this by moving any large objects out of the way of the windows and changing your curtains to thinner ones. Use mirrors and light paint to reflect more light too. You could even install new windows and skylights. The more natural light you have coming into the home, the better. Not only can this save on the electricity but it is also good for your mental health. It is also a good idea to swap all your lighting for energy-efficient LED bulbs.
Defrost your Fridge
You should try and defrost your fridge every few months to avoid the elements getting covered and working harder to keep things cold. Other ways to make your fridge more sustainable is to fill up any empty space with bottles of water. The more space there is in there, the more often the fridge has to kick in to keep it cool. Also, don’t put hot food straight into the fridge, let it cool down first.
If your home is very warm in the winter, maybe you should try lowering the thermostat. A house should be kept between 18°C and 23°C. Anything more than this is a waste. Additionally, having a very warm home than going out into the cold all the time can make you more prone to catching infections and illnesses. So try and keep your home a more ambient and even temperature.
Most homes come with an energy rating these days, and a lot of that is dependant upon your insulation. Insulation can save you on both your heating and cooling. There are various easy you can insulate your house from the obvious such as insulation the loft, cavity wall insulation, and double or triple glazed windows. However, thicker curtains and carpet can also make a big difference s can draft excluders, and new doors.