Five easy things you can do to make your home more sustainable
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Building a sustainable home does not require a lot of money or time and energy. While some changes can require expensive house renovations, some changes come in the form of a changed light bulb. Here are five easy things you can do to make your home more sustainable.
1. Choose Renewable Energy
One influential solution for sustainable living is powering your home with clean energy. Be it wind, water or solar energy; each solution has options depending on where you live.
Hydropower harnesses energy created by water flow. While less prevalent than wind and solar, hydropower is an option for those living by running water. Energy.gov provides an overview of the physics behind hydropower and popular methods.
Solar Energy Industries Agency (SEIA) explains converted thermal or electrical energy from the sun is solar power. SEIA further tells, “There are several ways to harness solar energy: photovoltaics (also called solar electric), solar heating & cooling, concentrating solar power (typically built at utility-scale), and passive solar.”
Wind Energy Development Programmatic EIS explains, “The terms "wind energy" or "wind power" describe the process by which the wind is used to generate mechanical power or electricity. Wind turbines convert the kinetic energy in the wind into mechanical power.” Clean Technica reports that in February of 2017 Denmark was able to power all of their electrical needs using only wind energy.
2. Remove Toxic Chemicals In and Around the Home
Sustainable living means leaving minimal footprints on the earth. One easy way to give Mother Earth a break is through non-toxic cleaners. While several available products make cleaning comfortable and safe, you can also create your own with products found in most kitchens. Vinegar and baking soda are the dynamic duos for natural cleaning solutions. Earth911 provides an overview of using baking soda, vinegar, and lemon to clean your whole house.
Gardening can also take a toxic break by choosing natural pesticides and organic fertilizers. Before spraying the aphids with a poisonous spray, look for natural alternatives like ladybugs. Buglogicaleven reports that one ladybug can eat 50-60 aphids per day. Diatomaceous earth is another non-toxic pest control method. The National Pesticide Information Center states, “Diatomaceous earth is not poisonous; it does not have to be eaten in order to be effective. Diatomaceous earth causes insects to dry out and die by absorbing the oils and fats from the cuticle of the insect's exoskeleton. Its sharp edges are abrasive, speeding up the process. It remains effective as long as it is kept dry and undisturbed.”
3. Reuse Your Water
Greywater systems allow occupants to reuse their used household water for watering. Greywater consists of water from showers, sinks, and laundry. This water moves to temporary storage for watering the lawn, individual pots or gardens. Check your city’s ordinance to ensure legality. Greywater Action provides guidelines for creating your grey water system.
4. Choose Energy Efficient Lighting
One of the best energy efficient lighting solutions is the sun. Natural lighting helps maintain low energy bills while also providing an opportunity to tap into the intense sun rays.Energy.gov reviews skylights as not only a natural lighting system but a way to increase ventilation and make use of passive energy for heating. Energy.gov also reviews energy efficient light bulb choices like light-emitting diodes (LEDs), compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and halogen incandescents.
5. Recycling is Still Key to Sustainability
Recycling isn’t just about filling the recycle bin with paper, bottles, and cans. It’s also about reusing items and even reducing use. Make use of your city’s recycling program when available, but also look for ways to reuse items rather than tossing them. Composting is another way to clear out much of your kitchen’s waste without filling up the garbage. Planet Natural Research Center reviews compost bins and provides an overview of models and features. Turn coffee grounds, egg shells and veggie refuse into fertile, healthy soil for your home’s gardening needs.
Creating a sustainable home is obtainable with these five features. Homeowners and renters can tap into these ideas to develop homes that not utilize green energy but save money as well. These plans not only increase home value, but they also make living more comfortable and cost-efficient.