A guide to living more sustainably at home, with eco-friendly tips for both inside and out.
Written by Taylor McKnight, Author for Gabion Supply
In recent years, the words “eco-friendly” and “green” have been permeating our culture, inspiring homeowners to make changes to their homes in favor of living in harmony with the Earth. Exactly what does “eco-friendly” mean, though? Do we all have options for turning our homes into natural spaces that work in tandem with Earth’s resources? How does our carbon footprint affect the rest of the planet, and what can we do as we try to stay budget-conscious? Below are some tips on eco-friendly living, as well as a clear picture of what these terms mean and how your attempt to go green can significantly impact others. Read on and get inspired to turn your home into a “green” oasis.
What does eco-friendly mean?
The term eco-friendly means “in harmony with the environment”. The term is most often used to refer to the use of products that contribute to green living, like conservation practices and energy. As you become more aware of how your use of resources impacts the planet, you’ll likely gravitate toward practices that are resonant with green living.
What about the eco-friendly home?
The eco-friendly home of the present contains environmentally cautious features that are evident in its design and function. A few of the typical green features you could see in this type of home are:
- Solar power
- Rainwater collection
- Food gardens
- Green roofs
- Recycling and composting features
- Temperature regulating walls and siding
5 Eco-Friendly Tips for Inside the Home
While your home would not have to include all of these features to be considered eco-friendly, and the more you can incorporate this clean living into your own lifestyle, the more benefits you’ll gain, as well as being able to positively impact the environment. Have we piqued your interest yet? Read on to see some simple and effective ways you can begin to embrace eco-friendly living right now without breaking the bank:
1. Make the switch to LED
Lighting accounts for about ten percent of your annual energy use, and switching to LED bulbs is a cheap and easy way to start going green. LED bulbs use 75 percent less energy and can last up to 25 times longer than traditional bulbs. They also produce less heat, so it will be easier to regulate the temperature inside your home.
2. Start to recycle and compost
Recycling and composting are great ways to convert your home to a green one, as they help to reuse existing resources for additional benefits. Nearly fifty percent of all trash thrown away is recyclable; place recycling bins around your house for paper, cardboard, plastic and glass, and watch the magic happen.
With a compost bin, you’re able to turn table scraps into valuable fertilizer for potted plants and garden greenery. Your plants and flowers will thrive with the extra food source, which is both natural and safe for the environment.
3. Install a smart thermostat
Smart thermostats help to heat and cool your home when it is most convenient for you. You are also able to regulate temperatures at the touch of a button, modifying them if you’ll be out for the day or on a weekend vacation. With programmable thermostats, you can enjoy energy savings by monitoring your HVAC heating and cooling needs, adjusting when necessary. You may see up to a 25 percent decrease on heating and cooling costs, helping to reduce your carbon footprint.
4. Wash and dry clothes differently
Contrary to popular opinion, your clothes do NOT get any cleaner with the use of scalding hot water than they do when washed with cold. It takes more energy to produce hot water needed to wash with a hot cycle; switch to cold and do your part to make your laundry room eco-friendly.
Have some extra backyard space? Consider the installation of a clothesline to dry clothes almost effortlessly and give them a one-of-a-kind smell of fresh air and sunshine. Stock up on wooden clothespins and make your drying efforts extra green.
5. Fix leaky faucets and toilets
Just one leaky faucet in your home can waste nearly 3000 gallons of water a year! This would equate to taking 180 showers! Stay on top of small leaks in faucets and running toilets, and save gallon after gallon of water for our precious planet. You’ll also enjoy the difference in savings on your utility bill.
What about outside? Green tips for the garden space.
There are some things you can do outside to move toward more sustainable living as well. Consider making some of these small changes to compound your eco-friendly efforts.
1. Add on a “green” deck
Adding a deck or patio is the perfect way to expand on your living space without spending a ton. Look for repurposed or recycled lumber and natural materials to give your new landscape piece some natural character.
2. Replace electric light fixtures with solar ones
What better way to pay homage to our natural resources than by installing solar-powered landscape lights? These little buggers charge themselves all day, and they burn brightly at night, adding charm and utility to your landscape. Most solar-powered landscape lighting is quite affordable, and you can find a number of styles and fixtures that fit your home, your style, and your budget.
3. Use natural wood fencing
Natural wood fencing is not only eco-friendly, but it is far more eye-catching and charming than a chain-link fence surrounding your property. Incorporate other natural elements such as water and greenery for a breathtaking new look in your backyard.
4. Look for eco-friendly patio furniture
Gone are the days of synthetic fabrics and plastic Adirondack chairs, it’s time for something more natural to take up your patio space. Plenty of beautiful pieces exist that are made from recycled material, reclaimed and repurposed wood, and other natural materials. Bring your whole natural look together seamlessly with the addition of some beautiful “old” patio furniture.
5. Add a charming rain barrel to your landscape
Nothing says green more than a reclaimed water receptacle as the focal point for your eco-friendly backyard. Affix to a downspout and collect rainwater for watering plants, refreshing your garden, or adding to pet bowls if needed.
Why practicing these eco-friendly tips is important
Eco-friendly living is smart living for several reasons. Not only will it reduce your carbon footprint, but it will also allow for cleaner use of resources, provide you with a cleaner and more efficient indoor environment, and it may even raise your property value. Start now to implement small yet sustainable ways that will result in greener, cleaner living for all of us.