As we progress towards a greener world, embracing sustainable living is more critical than ever. But, nothing can hide the fact that numerous climate change-related disasters have occurred in the last year. Ranging from devastating mega-fires and strong earthquakes to giant tsunamis that have stolen the lives of many.
It is notably easier to advocate for a sustainable lifestyle, but implementing one is far-fetched for many. If you are still reading this, congratulations on being among the few! Know that changes start within you, and what better way than to begin with your own house? Here are the 8 ways to build a sustainable living home:
1. Solar Panels
Solar panels are now becoming more widely available for purchase by homeowners. The traditional roof-rack solar panels are only as low as $2,000 and can practically last forever. Energy prices are only set to rise in the following years, so what better time to slash your energy bills than now?
Consider this, as soon as the initial investment costs are covered; you will no longer have to worry about your bills skyrocketing. The energy generated by the panels is entirely yours to make use of. You can also reduce your own carbon footprint and contribute to a healthier environment. Now, who would not want that?
2. Eco-Friendly Insulation
Insulation is an essential component of any household. It not only retains heat during the cooler months by curtailing air flow, but also lowers heating and cooling costs all year. Over the years, many have built their house with fibreglass insulation, and little did they know that it has been linked to a variety of health problems.
So, if you plan to build a new home or remodel an existing one in the near future, consider buying one that is insulated with sheep’s wool, cotton, denim, icynene, aerogel, or thermacork. All of these alternatives are known to generate heat while preventing condensation, keeping your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
3. Energy-Efficient Appliances
As a homeowner, energy-efficient appliances such as low-wattage microwaves are highly pivotal to saving money, preserving the environment, and improving your lifestyle. By now, it can be easily deduced that the more energy-efficient appliances you own, the lesser your electrical bills will be.
If you ever plan to build sustainable living, begin by replacing your old incandescent light bulbs with some energy-efficient light bulbs. Incandescent light bulbs are incredibly fragile and can pose a hazard once broken. What is worse is the thin layer of glass can easily penetrate your skin and eye tissue, causing cataracts and damage to your vision.
4. Tankless Hot Water Heater
Imagine this. You are bathing in hot water with shampoo in your hair when the water suddenly cools to lukewarm. You then scramble to wash it off, but the water has now turned freezing cold. To make matters worse, it is 0 degrees outside! However, there is a way to avoid this while also saving money and energy- installing a tankless water heater.
Tankless water heaters, unlike the normal water heater, heat water instantly and do not require a storage tank, which can save money. When a heated water hose is switched on, cold water is pumped through a heat exchanger in the unit, which is heated by a built-in electrical element. Isn’t that great? Top it off with an air purifier in the bathroom, and you are now squeaky clean!
5. Go Low Flow
The first thing to bear in mind is that low flow does not necessarily imply low water pressure. Low-flow water appliances, such as shower heads, faucet aerators, sinks and toilets use less water per minute than earlier models. This will allow you to save water while reducing your water bills.
The disadvantage here is pretty obvious, take toilets per se. Without enough water pressure to force the waste out of the toilet, it can get easily blocked, leaving you with your waste floating above. The solution is relatively simple, just pump twice and you will never have to see them again. Even with two pumps, your water usage is still minimal.
6. Greywater System
To simply put it, greywater is essentially wastewater that has been accumulated from your bathroom (except toilet water), kitchen, and laundry. And unlike what is running through your head right now, the water is actually relatively clean.
Despite its unpresentable colour, greywater can be reused for other purposes like irrigating lawns, indoor plants, ornamentals, and food crops which can ultimately prevent a dent from forming in your bank account! You can either collect your greywater manually by using a bucket or by installing simple piping which connects the used water directly to your yard.
7. Organic Sheets
Shifting to organic cotton bedding is the prime stage toward a healthier environment and a happier home. Believe it or not, we spend one-third of our lives wrapped in the cocoon of our sheets, so the fabric we are sleeping on must be free from toxic compounds.
Organic beddings should be prioritised in the same way you prioritise organic foods and products when shopping. They are free of toxic chemicals, resulting in a fluffy feel. In addition, since organic sheets are breathable, your health will no longer be jeopardised. It is a win-win situation for both- you and the environment.
8. Dual Paned Windows
Have you ever been in a situation where you are comfortably curled up on a bed with a cappuccino you just made with your new coffee machine in hand, only for the cold air to strike you from every angle? Your windows are not open, but it seems as if the cool air from the outside is able to penetrate through them.
If your answer is yes, you should invest in dual-panned windows. Double-pane windows have two layers of glass with air between them for optimum insulation. This will then limit the need for heating sources to be used as often, reducing your CO2 greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprint. On its face, transitioning to an earth-friendly house may sound daunting, not to mention it is expensive. But you probably have realised by now that creating one is not out of reach at all. In fact, it is fairly easy and is packed with hefty cost savings thanks to less water and energy consumption.