Recently, we discussed 5 green cities around the world. By learning more about successful green cities and programs in major cities, other cities can begin adopting similar practices to help make our planet healthy for generations to come. One of the best places to start to have an impact on the environment is in your home. Your home is a place where you can have greater control over how you use the planet’s resources.
There are so many ways you can start to adopt an eco-friendly lifestyle simply by the ways you use natural resources, consume energy, and even shop for the goods in your home.
Check out our recommendations on 4 ways begin living a sustainable lifestyle at home.
Live in Smaller Spaces
If you’re in the market to purchase a home, the type of home you buy can have a huge impact on how you can keep your use of materials and utilities lower. Today, the average American home is a little under 2,500 square feet, which accounts for a large number of square footage per person. We’re not saying you need to move into a tiny home, but consider shopping for a smaller home that has multi-functional spaces, like an eat-in kitchen instead of a formal dining room you may not use. Bigger homes usually means higher utility costs and more material possessions. Net zero homes are increasing in popularity too. Net zero structures use as much energy as they create by using their own green energy sources like solar panels. While net zero buildings are mostly commercial buildings, this trend is growing in popularity among single-family homes.
You don’t need to buy a new home to live more eco-friendly though. We’ll explore other ways to update your current living space and other lifestyle changes to live a greener life.
Automate Your Home
With the rise of the Internet of Things and smart devices, almost everything can be connected to the internet and controlled remotely – including a lot of your home’s devices. For example, Google has created the Nest line of products that includes a thermostat and a home security system. The Nest Learning Thermostat is Energy-Star certified and has been shown to save people 10-12% on heating bills and 15% on cooling bills. Extend those energy savings over the life of your home and you’ve saved a lot of energy simply by making an investment in your heating and cooling system. Not everyone is a fan of connect devices or the upfront costs they may require, so another way to get similar results is to invest in a quality programmable thermostat and take the time to set up your house’s heating and cooling schedule manually.
Beyond your heat and air, major appliances are also getting a connected upgrade. Today, some fridges have viewing screens on the doors to prevent you from opening the fridge door and peering in for a snack while letting the cool air out and forcing the fridge to cool the inside down again. Washers and dryers also are coming equipped with more settings to help you waste less water and use less electricity to dry. Line drying is still an effective and eco-friendly option, too!
Before turning on the lights in your house, open your blinds and curtains to use the natural light for as long as possible. There are even sensors for “daylight harvesting.” These sensors are typically used in bigger commercial spaces to adjust blinds and electric lighting to properly light a room with daylight before turning to electric light sources.
Bamboo has become a popular materials for flooring in eco-friendly homes. Bamboo flooring is made from harvesting natural vegetation and offers many of the same benefits as traditional hardwood floors.
Many furniture brands recognize the importance of sustainably-sourced materials too.
West Elm is a well-known brand that allows users to shop according to their commitments – fair trade, handcrafted, local, organic, and sustainably-sourced. West Elm currently offers bedroom, dining room, and office furniture under their sustainably-sourced commitment.
Crate & Barrel is another brand that offers FSC-certified pieces and products made with bamboo. Crate & Barrel offers sustainable furniture for your living room, dining room, and bedroom.
Arhaus is another example of a company who has committed to be eco-friendly. Arhaus promises to never use wood from endangered rainforests for their furniture by designing pieces that use sustainably sourced. Recently, Arhaus partnered with American Forests to plant 25,000 trees and spread awareness about the environmental impact that trees have on our world. Check out their graphic about all of the beautiful benefits that trees offer us each day.
If you’re not sure how to shop for sustainable furniture, check out these other retailers and organizations for more information.
Many people consider landscaping as simply another way to add to their home’s curb appeal, instead of treating it like it’s own ecosystem. To adopt sustainable landscaping methods, start by removing invasive plant species from your yard and replace them with native plants. Consider letting your grass grow longer and mow your lawn less. Additionally, treat water as a precious resource when it comes to watering your yard and plants. Instead of using a sprinkler, use a rainwater system to collect and water your yard and plants with it. If you have wooded acreage, make sure you use sustainable harvesting methods to care for the ecosystem there and allow new trees to grow and thrive.
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