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7 Ways to Make Your Home More Sustainable

By Katie Perry

Everyday more than 7 billion people draw on resources like energy and water to power modern living. The toll it places on the environment is immense, but if everyone just altered their demand on those resources, even slightly, the world and the preservation of our future, would be in much better shape. Sustainability isn’t just a buzzword, a fad, or a craze. Sustainability is crucial for the survival of our planet but it doesn’t need to be overwhelming! There are easy, simply life ‘tweaks’ you can make to play your part in a greener future for humankind. And, it might just save you some money in the long run – so here are seven ways you can make an impact on the environment and make your home more sustainable.

1. Swap Your Light bulbs
This might seem like an obvious one, but it’s also one that people don’t actually bother to do – and it’s one of the easiest ways to reduce power consumption and decrease your energy bill. Lighting accounts for a significant portion of a home or office’s power usage and simply swapping out a few conventional bulbs with new energy-efficient ones will have a big impact on reducing the bill. Investing in LED bulbs might be more expensive at the outset, the investment is worth the upfront cost because you’ll save in the long run.

2. Program Your Heating/Cooling
Heating and cooling your home accounts for around half of your energy consumption. An easy way to get that down by about 15% is to make the most of programmable thermostats. So, when you’re not at home set it to switch itself off, or even just reduce the temperature by around 5 degrees and see what difference it makes on that power bill.

3. Check The Insulation
When people think about making their home sustainable, they often think they need to buy new things or replace the old. But, often it’s more about making sure what you have in your home currently is working as energy efficiently as possible. So, when it comes to heating and cooling it’s essential that you do an energy audit on your home to work out from which doors or windows you’re losing the most heat. After all, there’s no point having an energy efficient heating system if the cold air is coming in from outside! Professionals can be called in to create negative pressure in the house which will test which areas of your home let the most outside air in. Then, it can be as simple as some spray foam, or a little adjustment to your existing insulation to rectify the problem.

4. Replace Old appliances with energy efficient ones
You might think you’re saving money with that 15yr old kettle or toaster, but in more recent years, even the cheapest kitchen appliances have come along leaps and bounds in terms of their energy efficiency compared with older models. Often, a new appliance will use up to 60-80% less energy than an old one so if you haven’t upgraded your fridge, washing machine or dryer it might be time to start thinking about the future!

5. Plant a garden of any size
An I mean, any size! A backyard is brilliant but a few pots on the balcony or even in a window sill can reduce your homes carbon footprint. Now is the best time to start your own herb garden, or even grow a tomato plant in a pot! It’s as simple as this – the more food you grow yourself, the less trips to the shops you need to make! Self-sufficiency is not only personally satisfying but few people actually think about food shopping in terms of the carbon footprint. Transportation of your food from a farm to the supermarket ends up being around one kilogram of fuel for every hundred kilograms of foods. By growing your own food at home you’re reducing the need for this larger scale transportation and also your own personal fuel needs to get to the supermarket.

6. Collect runoff water with a rain barrel

Waste not want not! Rain barrels are the easiest and cheapest way to absorb storm water runoff from your roof. Just attach to a downpipe and collect rain water to be used to water your garden, wash your car or give your pets a drink! Not to mention it saves money on the water bill.

7. Consider going solar
OK so kitting out your home with solar panels isn’t a small project. The major hurdle people encounter is the installation costs but local and federal governments and even some energy companies offer incentives and financial assistance to help homeowners make their homes solar powered. There are many financial subsidies and payment plans in place to allow people to go solar and in the end you’ll be helping the planet and your own back pocket.