Making your home green doesn’t mean starting from scratch. Existing homes can be made more sustainable with some simple changes, one room at a time. A sustainable home needn’t mean less comfort or convenience either; green homes should be comfortable spaces that support the health of you and your family. As well as health benefits, green homes are cheaper to run as they make the most of all resources and the sale value of a green home has been found to be around 7% more than regular housing.
The heart of your green home
The kitchen is often referred to as the heart of a home; it’s also the room that uses the most energy.
Energy consumption in your kitchen can be reduced with a few simple adjustments.
The refrigerator is the third highest energy consumer in your house out of all appliances. This can be reduced by keeping it on a warmer setting, letting food cool before refrigeration, defrosting food in the refrigerator, and deciding what you want before opening the door. Make sure your refrigerator has at least 3 inches space all round it for proper air flow and all door seals are working. If it’s time to replace it, go for an energy star rated model and continue with your energy efficient practices to save even more.
Dishwashers use around 30 kWh per month and around 5 gallons of water per wash – if it’s an energy efficient one. Switching to washing dishes by hand will save energy and around 1 -2 gallons of water. If you just can’t give up the dishwasher, make sure it is full before turning it on, don’t pre-rinse dishes unless particularly dirty, let dishes air dry and turn it completely off when the cycle is done.
You can further reduce water consumption in the kitchen by fitting a flow valve or aerator to your faucets. This will cut the flow by half without affecting pressure.
Your bedroom should be a haven of comfort and rest. Invest in quality bed linens, duvets and blankets that will last for years and keep you warm in winter so you can switch the heating off at night.
As it takes around 2,839 gallons of water to make a cotton bed sheet, it’s better to look for chemical free, organic cottons, linen, wool, and hemp fabrics. They’re better for you as they won’t leak toxins into your home. You can even get 100% organic mattresses that will give you a better and healthier night’s sleep, plus they’re fully biodegradable and recyclable, unlike a conventional mattress.
Keeping green in the bathroom
Keeping yourself clean and your bathroom green is fairly simple. Switch your shower head for a low-flow model. Installation is fairly simple and a good quality model will still deliver good pressure but use around 3 – 4 gallons less water per minute.
Baths use around three times the amount of water as showers, so when you do bath, scoop the water out for use in your garden, our create your own grey water system for flushing toilets and washing clothes.
Updating your toilet to improve efficiency and include a dual flush will save water further. If your toilet is leaking it could be losing 200 gallons each day, so get it fixed.
Small adjustments throughout an existing house – including insulation, solar panels and water recycling systems will further green your home. If you are considering a new build, think smaller and consider the configuration of rooms to improve energy efficiency while making the most of the environment you’ve chosen for the build.
How to Make Your Home Green, One Room at a Time