Sustainable Living: Stupidly Simple Tips for Going Gloriously Green
Sustainable living has gained a great deal of traction over the past decade and is fast becoming the ultimate dream for many. However, creating an entirely eco-friendly home life can often be seen as an overwhelming task, and can end up more of a pipe dream than a reality. In actuality though, developing an environmentally sustainable lifestyle is far more simple than most people have been lead to believe. It all comes down to gradual change. There’s no need to turn your life upside down and pour your entire savings fund into over-inflated eco-chic merchandise.
The key is to make gradual lifestyle changes from harmful eco-living habits into more environmentally conscious lifestyle behaviours. Having said that, you can definitely take a more radical approach and by all means turn your life upside and become a hardcore eco-warrior from the roots up! We’re all for it! This is simply a guide to help you move in an environmentally-conscious direction because, at the end of the day, you’re not only saving the planet, but you’ll be saving yourself a great deal of money. It’s really a win-win situation!
Cut Down on Energy Demands
So many of the appliances we have around the home are incredibly high energy consuming. Washers, dryers, toasters, kettles, heaters, the list goes on. Do some research on your current household appliances and check any available information on their energy ratings. This can be a highly informative way of getting your head around just how much energy you use on a daily basis. From there, you can start making some decisions that aim to adopt some more energy-reducing habits, such as:
Only washing clothes when you’re able to dry them outside instead of relying on the clothes dryer
Taking shorter showers or installing a water efficient shower head
Replacing your electric kettle with a stovetop kettle to save on electricity
Or, if you’re willing to put some money into a good cause, completely upgrade your energy-guzzling appliances for far more eco-friendly ones. 5-star energy ratings are the way to go, and by golly, here are some seriously impressive innovative technologies on the market right now that are designed specifically to run on a fraction of the energy needed to operate standard models.
This is a surefire way to lower your energy bills and make the earth happier at the same time.
Building with Sustainable Materials
For those of your out there thinking of building your own eco-friendly home from the ground up, you’ll be delighted to know that there is an extensively wholesome list of sustainable materials available to significantly reduce your environmental impact.
Did you know that one of the best ways to efficiently control the temperature of your home can be done by choosing the right flooring to improve insulation? The market on climate control efficiency is booming right now, meaning that there is a superb range of flooring materials to choose from. Some of the most modern and energy efficient materials created from natural and renewable materials include cork, bamboo, and linoleum. Despite the perception of being super outdated and daggy, linoleum is gaining great popularity as an environmentally friendly material for flooring by both consumers and designers alike. Not only is it totally recyclable but has an impressive lifespan of around 25-40 years.
Why not Downsize?
While we’re on the topic of building, have you thought about going tiny? Building small or tiny homes is becoming a serious revolution in the world of sustainable and eco-conscious housing construction. In this day and age, as housing prices continue to rise, city-living is the new trend, and environmentally conscious living gains popularity, the giant 2-story, 5 bedroom home is slowly losing its appeal. The design ideas floating around for tiny homes are virtually endless, and there is an increasing number of businesses beginning to specialise in designing layouts and construction plans all available online.
So if you’re looking for the perfect way to reduce your carbon footprint (and energy bills!) through a wholesome lifestyle change then this is definitely going to be the way to go.
Water, Water, Everywhere… so use it!
Rainwater tanks are probably the biggest game changer when it comes to reducing water consumption. They will often involve a small investment but the benefits far, far, far outweigh the costs. If you’re going down this route then you might also consider installing water management systems that allow you to collect as much rainwater as possible and redirect excess runoff to water your garden through irrigation systems.
On top of this, you can also consider having your current plumbing fixtures and appliances replaced with more water-efficient systems and modern devices that are designed for energy efficiency in mind. Appliances such as high energy-star rated washing machines and dishwashers make an enormous impact on household water usage. Additionally, easy to install low-flow faucet aerators, dual flush toilet converters, and grey water converters are just a few of the multitude of ways you can keep the water-efficiency ball rolling.
Get Sun Smart
Three cheers for the sun! It really doesn’t get enough credit when it comes to pure, unadulterated low-cost energy supply. Used wisely, solar can generate enough energy to power your entire home and then some. If you’re about to build a new home, be sure to incorporate solar technology into the overall layout of the property by taking advantage of the geography and natural lighting available in order to collect as much energy as possible for the most significant impact.
Although solar generally comes with a relatively high upfront cost compared to a lot of other energy-saving measures, there are a bunch of renewable energy incentives and governmental rebates you can take advantage of that will likely save you thousands from the beginning. After that, the gains are endless.
Another way you can effectively improve your eco-friendly energy efficiency is through your roof. More specifically, the type of building materials used to construct it. By choosing a highly reflective material, you can mitigate the amount of heat being directed onto the roof by the sun, which will naturally keep your home cooler as the roof holds less heat and cools down faster at night. There are tons of energy efficient roofing options available now and come in materials such as terracotta, slate and white tiles just to name a few.
However, if you’re liking the idea of a green roof, then why not go all out and quite literally install a green roof? Living roofs are all the rage right now. They are roofs that are specifically constructed to hold plants, allowing them to grow happily on your roof while the design insulates your home, and even collects and filters rainwater for you! Genius right? While it might be a bit of a stretch to convert your current roof into a little high-top oasis, additional roofing for further structures or building a new home from scratch will make installing a living roof far easier to incorporate.
Make good use of your outdoor space. I can’t stress this enough! Being environmentally conscious often goes hand in hand with developing a sustainable approach to food consumption. And what better way to be eco-friendly than to grow your own veggie garden? You might be surprised at how small a space you really need to grow a wide variety of vegetables and herbs. Growing your own food is an amazing way to expand awareness around what you consume every day and the amount that goes to waste. Composting is the perfect method of converting food waste and gardening offcuts into superb quality soil to give back to your little plants and keep the cycle going! Not only will your garden be happy but you’ll find that you produce less household waste all up.
So there you have it, eco-success is just around the corner and more accessible than ever! I expect that you will now ride off into the sunset on your green bicycle, well on your way to fulfilling all of your eco-friendly dreams. Godspeed, eco-warriors!
Mike Heathcote is the founder of Building Masters Inspections and a veteran builder with decades of experience. Utilising his industry knowledge, Mike and his team of experienced Builders provide an Inspection Service offering expert opinion on the true condition of buildings, including estimated repair costs, helping home buyers find their perfect property, Melbourne wide.