How do you plan to spend this Sunday? The day happens to be World Environment Day (celebrated on June 5th of every year), a landmark global celebration that raises awareness about pressing environmental issues. In a time when forest cover and the fresh ground water table are quickly depleting, the ice caps melting, hundreds of rare plant and animal species are dying out, global temperatures are rising, and the level of pollutants surging, it is imperative that we all become more environmentally attuned and responsible. And it only makes sense to start with our homes – go through this quick list of fun and easy residential eco-friendly practices and try out the ones that suit you best.
Something as simple as substituting incandescent light bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs can help save a lot more energy (around 66%) and money. In fact, every such replacement can cut down on 200 kgs of greenhouse gas emissions!
Pick your furniture carefully
Yes, even sofas, rugs, desks and tables, etc. can be made from greener materials, including all-natural jute fibers, non-toxic glues that are natural, renewable woods, organic fabric, etc. These might be slightly more expensive (greener alternatives are flooding the market everyday) than regular furniture but are recyclable, durable and eco-friendly.
When building your home, use locally-sources building material instead of that which is brought in from elsewhere. Not only will you be helping your local economy, you will also be saying no to greenhouse gas emissions in the form of fuel usage (imagine the amount of petrol/diesel that would have been spent in having the ware driven down from another city).
Heating and cooling systems
Come winter or summer and we crank up the heater or AC respectively without thinking about the increased power consumption. Give these electrical devices a regular inspection to make sure that they are running at their efficient best. If you are buying a new device for your home, go in for one that consumes less power.
We are all guilty of going through dozens of kitchen tissue rolls within a matter of days. Buy just one roll and use it like it is gold! The very thought of going back to the grocer’s will make you use it economically. Another great alternative is to use microfiber towels as they last over multiple uses. Use old T-shirts and towels to clean the rest of the house and wash them when your washing machine has a full load.
Rain water harvesting is catching on in a big way – not only is it clean and natural, it brings down your water bills considerably. Use recyclable steel bottles to carry your water in; water filter systems with inbuilt UV purification methods are another great way of saving on fuel (you won’t have to heat water to purify it).
The sun is the biggest source of clean energy – installing solar water heating panels will lower your power consumption levels (bye bye, geyser). What about days when it is cloudy or raining, you ask? Solar panels continuously absorb solar heat energy and transfer it to water. This water is then stored in an insulated tank and can be used later. Another trick employed by many is the use of water heaters as a backup mechanism – any time the solar panels are not able to get enough sun, you can just turn them on.
Organic kitchen waste can be composted to use on your garden plants – not only is it a natural alternative to chemical fertilizers, it reduces the amount of garbage collected from every house.
Pick wooden door and window frames over metal or unplasticized poly vinyl chloride ones. The former is durable and recyclable – you can also easily make repairs in case of any damage. Energy efficient, well-insulated window glass will regulate inside temperatures, thereby reducing the need for artificial cooling or heating.
Use essential oils and potpourri in your bedroom instead of artificial aerosol air fresheners. Use glass, ceramic or silicone dishes in the oven for lower energy consumption – it takes lesser time to heat them up when compared to other materials.
Going green might require a fair bit of effort and time, but the long-term benefits are well worth it all. Get your electrical appliances serviced for better performance and economical power usage – get a service professional from Housejoy to do it for you right away.