These days everyone is trying to do their part and be a little more environmentally responsible, but how much is being done to effectively green up your home? There are countless ways to ensure that a house leaves less of a carbon footprint than its older counterparts of years past.
From choosing certain appliances to using technology to your (and Mother Earth’s) advantage, here are some terrific ways to be more sustainable and effectively green up your home.
1- Watch the temperature
You can install temperature controllers, such as automatic thermostats from places like Nest.com, so that while you’re gone during the day it will lower on its own and then come back up to a more comfortable temperature upon your return.
That way, you use the least amount of energy heating (or cooling) your home and it’s one less thing on your daily to-do list.
2- Buy energy-saving appliances
Appliances are huge electricity suckers, especially the older, more dated ones. However, most kitchen appliance manufacturers now offer energy-efficient refrigerators, stoves, dishwashers, washers and dryers (marked “Energy Star”) that use significantly less energy than before (for example, Energy Star-qualified refrigerators are required to use 20% less energy).
At the end of the year, you’ll have given both Mother Nature and your electric bill a reprieve, and will effectively green up your home.
3- Use the right lighting
If you’re looking for a simple and relatively inexpensive way to green up your home, use energy-efficient light like LED lighting. “It’s both beautiful and functional,” said Denise Mitchell of Denise Mitchell Interiors, an “eco-friendly” interior designer based out of Campbell River, B.C., and a member of the Canada Green Building Council and proponent of the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Canada program.
You can find LED versions of almost every kind of light, from tiny nightlights to oversized bulbs – they may be a tad more expensive than regular bulbs initially but they will definitely last much longer and will effectively green up your home.
4- Get motion sensors
Motion sensors and door-activated switches that are installed in key areas so that lights and fans shut off automatically when the area or room isn’t being used is a great way to effectively green up your home. They’re especially useful in busy households where children may forget to turn off the light -these switches will remember for them.
5- Get the right window treatments
Window treatments can play an important role when you want to effectively green up your home – not only will they influence the look and style of a space but they can also affect your electricity bills (and overall carbon footprint). “I always recommend that my clients get good quality window coverings that can help with heat and light,” Mitchell said. “You can look for something that keeps the heat in and the cold out.”
6- Reuse & repurpose old items
While it’s lovely to have all new pieces in a recently purchased home, it may not be the most eco-friendly route to take. “Don’t throw all of your old stuff in the landfill – reuse and revitalize your existing furniture,” urged Mitchell. Instead of a new living room set, have the existing pieces reupholstered. You can also find companies that will powder-coat worn outdoor furniture, as well as refurbish wood pieces for living and dining rooms, and bedrooms.