Practically everything we do affects our environment and our supply of natural resources in some way or form. Something as simple as driving your car to work consumes gasoline (which is essentially fossil fuel) and produces greenhouse gases that contributes to global warming. Doing the housework; cleaning dishes with hot water, vacuuming, ironing and washing your clothes all use electricity, which indirectly produces greenhouse gases by burning the coal used to create this electricity. Even barbequing in your backyard can indirectly contribute to global warming as the trucks which your foods to the supermarket expels diesel into the air. And it doesn’t end there; every time we purchase wooden furniture, that’s another tree which disappears from our earth. Every time we leave the faucet running, we further decrease the world’s already dwindling supply of clean water. Chances are these are things you don’t consider as affecting the environment on a day to day basis.
With that said, each and every one of us has the ability to help save our environment. The best way to do this is to try minimizing our use of these depleting natural resources; and this is where sustainable living plays a major part. This means building and living in sustainable homes, saving and recycling resources where possible, and using alternative resources which are safer for the environment. There are numerous ways in which you can be a part of help saving our planet, so let’s start with what you can do at home.
Use eco-friendly materials for the construction of your home
A sustainable home begins with the use of eco-friendly materials for its construction. These days eco-friendly materials is widely available, so there should be no excuse not to use them. If you use wood in your construction, ensure by checking the label that it is “sustainably harvested” wood. Using this type of wood will ensure your construction materials were not created by the destruction of entire forests, but purposely planted trees for logging.
Clay is a great option for roofing tiles as it is not only durable but recyclable as well. As for flooring, cork is a great option as it is a sustainably-harvested wood, thus ranking highly on the list of eco-friendly building materials. Bamboo is another great choice for flooring as it grows incredibly fast compared with other hardwoods, and consumes a large amount of carbon dioxide as it grows.
Build a home with solar panels
Solar energy is one of the very best alternatives for electricity. It’s free and is readily available – as long as the sun is out. This energy can be harnessed by affixing an array of solar panels, which can generate and supply electricity, onto your roof. Make sure your solar panels are fixed onto your roof in the best position; this can significantly cut down on your usage of conventional electricity.
Homes that have good access to the sun (and not overshadowed by tall buildings and such) are best able to maximize the use of solar panels. No matter how hot it is in your area, your solar panels won’t be of much use if they can’t get enough sunlight. Ideally your solar panels should be attached to a roof that’s facing south. 180 degrees to the east or west is still fine. However if you affix them to your roof facing north will be a waste of time, effort, and money.
In the last decade, solar panels have dramatically decreased in price, becoming an affordable option for those seeking to minimize their carbon footprint. Online classifieds stores such as Quicksales sells both new and second hand solar panels and even have auctions were you can bid on them. Installing solar panels have an added bonus; apart from allowing you to cut down on your electricity bill, solar you can also sell electricity back to the grid. This happens when your solar panels have generated an amount of electricity that’s more than what your home has used up for the month. But keep in mind, these incentives are not offered in all areas or states so check with your local council.
Choose energy-efficient appliances and gadgets
Manufacturers of appliances and gadgets have become aware of consumers preferences for energy-efficient products in this day and age; leading to an influx of gadget and appliance options which don’t use as much energy as their former counterparts. Websites such as Energyrating.gov.au can help you choose an energy efficient product to help reduce your energy bills and protect mother earth.
Be sure you’re also being smart with your appliances; use dryers only when it is essential – choosing a washing line instead. Defrost fridges often, and make sure you switch off any unused appliances at the wall.
Minimize your electricity usage
This tip is a pretty obvious one, but one which most people still forget to enforce. If nobody’s in a room, there’s no need for the lights to be on. If it’s winter, chances are you don’t need a fan going. If you can’t sleep without the TV being on, set it on sleep so you won’t notice when it switches off. Being mindful of such basic things not only reduces you’re electricity bill by a few dollars; you’ll be doing the earth a huge favor.
They say that one of the best ways to save water is by showering together. That’s not always a viable option, though! Thus, leading us to consider other ways to conserve water. Don’t leave a faucet running if you’re not using it, such as while you’re brushing your teeth. You can also recycle water by using old bath or laundry water to flush toilets, water plants or clean floors. Collecting rain water is an excellent way to take action to conserve water. Simply leave a water tank or some buckets outside so that when it rains, you’ll have a stock of clean water to use.
Eat local food
Opting for locally produced foods is a means to live sustainably. Buying food from local farmers and fishermen helps reduce the carbon output of the trucks that transport such products from long distances. And aside from having a near-guarantee that the food that you’ll be purchasing is fresh, it’s also a great way to support the local economy.
Recycle everything that is recyclable
Homes produce an enormous amount of daily waste. Our first inclination is to chuck our waste into the nearest bin and forget about it; with no thought to where that waste goes and how it affects our earth if it ends up as landfill. Many councils and government departs now provide the correct bins for certain items – ensuring that waste and materials which are able to be recycled are; all you have to do is put it in the correct bin.
Recycling does not just mean throwing your glass, paper and plastic in the correct bin however. You can find uses for your ‘trash’, such as using both sides of a piece of paper when printing, re-using al foil and glad wrap, or using old pieces of wood for DIY projects. Another great way to recycle items is reform them! Turn that old cabinet into a modern TV unit with a splash of paint, or reupholster an old sofa.
Any old electronics can be sold to people who will use them to create new gadgets; old laptops and pc’s are great for this. Just ensure if they are too old or broken to sell that you have them recycled correctly; Organizations such as eWaste can ensure a proper and safe disposal of these types of items, and will even collect them from your house.
Source : greenerideal