With the reality of climate change, it’s now less of a trend and more of a necessity to lead a more eco-friendly lifestyle. For many, minimalism has been a major way to scale back on consumerism, thereby causing a lesser output of greenhouse gases. Others have abandoned traditional housing for things like converted shipping containers, which are more durable, less harmful to the environment, and more sustainable. No matter where you live, there are numerous, easy ways to make your living space more sustainable.
Passive Solar Designs
Passive solar designs use the energy from sunlight to heat and cool interior spaces without the use of mechanical equipment, such as solar panel heating systems. These designs depend on the use of building materials that absorb or transfer the sun’s radiation, which in turn reduces the amount of energy being used to heat and cool your home. A few passive solar techniques include using LED lighting or designing your home to minimize the effects of solar radiation through shading or ventilation air convection currents.
Now, we’re not suggesting that you dispose of your present fridge, washer/dryer, or electric stove. However, investing later in energy-efficient appliances could make all the difference in your electric bill as they’re designed to consume less energy. And in many cases, you can get a tax break.
Use Cold Water When Washing Clothes
According to Energy Star, washing machines use up to 90% of their energy in heating. While it may be true that the use of hot water helps to remove tough stains, it’s also true that it deteriorates clothes much faster and drains them of color. So unless you’re dealing with tough oil stains, skipping the hot water setting will save you loads on your electric bill as well as reducing emissions.
If Nature Permits, Skip The Dryer
If the use of hot water in the washer sucks up a lot of energy, then a dryer is a complete and total energy vampire. Whenever you can, take advantage of good weather by hanging your clothes on a rack or clothesline outside. Clothes hung outside last longer than those constantly stuck in the dryer. Even if you don’t live in an area blessed with sunny weather year-round, taking advantage of the spring and summer seasons will definitely save some energy.
If it’s time for a fresh paint job on your house or your apartment, trade in your normal paint for non-toxic, eco-friendly paint. In addition to being unsafe for the environment, normal paints are harmful as they emit toxic chemicals for up to five years AFTER it’s been applied. These fumes are similar to car exhaust fumes which greatly affect the environment. Eco-paints are also less toxic to manufacture, making them a safer choice.
Use Natural Cleaning Products
Anyone aiming to live a more eco-friendly life is aware that most cleaning products are extremely toxic. But there are ingredients one can use to make their own products at home, such as mixing vinegar, baking soda, and lemon extract. It may not have the most appealing smell, but it gets the job done just as well as any other commercial cleaning agent.
These are only a few practical ways to make your home more sustainable. Remember, you don’t have to live in a completely energy-efficient home to make your contribution.