Want to create a more sustainable home?
From food and water scarcity to the continued contamination of the air we breathe, it is crystal clear that saving the environment is the responsibility we must all take on. Unsustainable practices such as deforestation, overfishing, and dumping of wastes in the water bodies are some of the leading causes of environmental degradation. According to reports, climate change poses a "near- to mid-term existential threat to human civilization". If these practices are not curbed soon, we will have a very slim chance of saving our planet in the next 30 years. In fact, we are staring at a possible human extinction a few decades from now.
It is time that we started gravitating towards creating a future in which humans, wildlife, plants, and other elements of nature can coexist and thrive. You have a role to play in this. This post explores five simple changes you can make for a sustainable home to help save our planet from the looming self-induced apocalypse.
1. Grow houseplants
Our first tip for sustainable homes is more plants.
Houseplants protect our environment by improving the circulation of fresh air in the household. They help keep the sick building syndrome at bay, alongside other health hazards associated with poor indoor air quality. Indoor plants also reduce the levels of carbon dioxide, pollutants like benzene and nitrogen dioxide, as well as most allergens found in the home. They also increase the humidity levels in the house through cellular respiration and photosynthesis, which, in turn, remove airborne dust from your living spaces.
When choosing grow lights for your houseplants, it is advisable that you opt for LED grow lights because they have the most superior light intensity over all other grow lights in the market today. That means you can grow lots of plants without needing too many lights. LED bulbs also produce very little heat compared to other bulbs, which contributes to optimal energy-saving. By extension, that means minimal environmental damage.
2. Reduce animal and dairy consumption
Reports by FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations) show that Animal agriculture contributes at least 14.5% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Domesticated animals also account for more than 50% of today’s food-related greenhouse gas emissions. Note that cows and goats, among other ruminants, produce methane gas during their digestive process, which is among the most dangerous contributors of all greenhouse gas emissions.
When farmers use animal manure as fertilizer or compost manure, an even more dangerous emission known as Nitrous Oxide is released into the atmosphere. On top of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that animal agriculture precipitates, it also contributes to unhealthy eating through the ever-intensifying meat and dairy production and deforestation when forest cover is converted to farmlands.
Therefore a key aspect of creating a more sustainable home is reducing animal and dairy consumption.
3. Conserve water at home
The over consumption of water is going to cause serious droughts in many parts of the world and may also contribute to climate change. But it doesn't have to be this way.
There are many simple tips for a sustainable home that conserves water.
The water doesn’t need to be running when you are brushing your teeth. You don’t have to over water your garden just because you can afford to pay a fatter water bill. You're doing something good by fixing that leaky faucet, not just because it saves your home from water damage but also because the world depends on that water to survive.
The water saving option on your toilette, washing machine, dishwasher really work. A water saving shower head will not only save money but also help make your home sustainable. There are now water filters that don't waste any water and that even reduce water usage.
Finally avoid buying fruit, vegetables and nuts from regions where they may contribute to drought. For example almonds from California or the south of Spain.
4. Make your home more energy efficient
Replace your outdated incandescent bulbs with the more energy-efficient LED light bulbs or compact fluorescent light bulbs. Don’t keep the lights or household electronics on even when you aren’t using them. When shopping for electronics and appliances, choose the ones with the energy-efficiency mark of quality. Insulate your home and maximize natural lighting in your living areas to save energy. Install smart heating and cooling that only consume energy when needed. Here are some more tips for making your home green and energy efficient.
Once again these tips for a more sustainable home will not only help save the planet but will also save money.
5. Stop using plastic items
Cutting down on plastic usage is key to a sustainable home.
Ditch those plastic grocery-type bags, fruit and vegetable bags because they are causing long term damage to our planet. After all, they all end up in landfills, from where they break down into microplastics ending up in rivers, lakes and the oceans, threatening aquatic life. Plastic bags, straws, packaging take hundreds of years to decompose and less than 10% of plastics get recycled.
Cut down on litter by buying a reusable, compostable bag and instead of using plastic cups and straws to enjoy your favorite beverage, how about you use more eco-friendly items such as glass or metallic cups?
Concluding tips for a sustainable home
Protecting our planet starts with you. Just follow these 5 simple tips for a sustainable home and healthier planet. We will achieve more when we join hands.
Also read our 10 tips to save money and space in small kitchens
Guest post by Lena Linetti 15 April 2020. Updated 5 September 2022.