How to achieve a sustainable home
Having a more sustainable home doesn’t mean you have to live off the grid or be truly self-sufficient. By making some changes to your current property you can become more eco-friendly and do your bit to help the environment. Even the smallest contributions to reducing our carbon footprints are important, so whether you just change a few small things, or make bigger adjustments, you’ll still be playing your part. You might save some money in the process too!
1. Repair appliances
If you have a faulty appliance, consider getting it repaired rather than getting a replacement. This will help extend the lifespan of your product as well as reducing electrical waste in landfills. Make sure you’re using a qualified professional if needed.
2. Energy efficient appliances
If the appliance is beyond repair and you need to get a new one, look for a product which has a high energy efficiency rating. The ratings run from A-G with A being the most efficient.
3. Natural cleaning products
There is a lot of choice for cleaning products that are made from natural ingredients and don’t contain chemicals that can have a negative impact on the environment. You can find natural cleaning products in most supermarkets, or if you want to make your own you can find plenty of advice online.
4. Locally sourced seasonal food
Where possible, buying locally sourced, in-season food can help reduce the impact on your carbon footprint associated with having to transport non-local food to its destination. This is especially true of those products which must travel long distances by plane or boat.
5. Food wastage
Reducing the amount of food you throw away will not only be beneficial to the environment by lowering the amount of methane produced when it rots, but also helps to save on the cost of your groceries. Making a meal plan at the start of each week can ensure you buy only what you need for those meals. If you do end up with fresh food or leftovers that you can’t use in time, consider whether they’re safe to freeze for a later date.
6. Recycling bins
By recycling food packaging you send less waste to landfill sites.
7. Tap aerators
These devices attach to your existing taps and have lots of small holes in the nozzle. This separates the water into numerous different streams allowing it to mix with air, increasing the pressure and reducing the amount of water you need to use.
8. Kitchen Redesign
If you are thinking of updating your kitchen then consider using reclaimed or sustainably sourced materials if you can. You could also buy a pre-owned kitchen which could save up to 5 tonnes of carbon.
In the winter months when the temperature drops and there is less daylight, you tend to spend more time in the living room. If this is the case in your home then look to heat that space more instead of the whole property as this should help reduce the amount of energy you consume. You should however ensure your heating does come on, at least on low, in the rest of the property for at least part of the day to prevent frozen pipes.
Buying pre-owned furniture is one way towards a sustainable living room and could save you some money too. Local buy and sell sites and larger charity shops are a good place to start looking. If you are looking to buy new, then look for items that have been made sustainably where possible, such as furniture carrying the FSC label which indicates that the furniture is created from wood from sustainable forests.
3. Carpets and rugs
If you are looking to replace your carpets or buying a new rug for your living space then consider those made from natural materials such as wool, hemp or seagrass which don’t tend to use fertilizer or pesticides when produced. Some manmade fibre carpets and rugs are now being made from recycled bottles or industrial scraps which might be another option for consideration.
To maximise daylight in a room you could add mirrors to the walls or paint the room in a lighter colour (you could consider using eco-friendly paint). During the darker hours replacing lightbulbs with energy efficient LED versions will help with reducing energy consumption.
1. Toilet paper
Using paper which is 100% recycled will ensure that no new tree pulp has been used in the making of the product. Better still you may also want to look at bamboo paper from a sustainable source, which is also generally more biodegradable than the traditional kind.
2. Natural ingredient shampoos and conditioners
There are an ever-increasing number of natural shampoos that can be purchased from supermarkets, sustainable lifestyle shops and online. They are made from plant origin ingredients and essential oils for fragrance, meaning no chemicals will make their way into the water system. You could also consider products that use less packaging such as shampoo bars, or ones where you can refill your existing bottles.
Sticking with the bamboo theme you can opt for toothbrushes which are made from this instead of plastic. Look for ones with biobased bristles too as these are plant based and made from castor bean oil. Another advantage of the bamboo brush is that it is naturally antimicrobial which could result in less bacterial growth on your brush.
Choosing a hemp flannel over a cotton one could be better for the environment as it needs significantly less water and no pesticides to grow it. On top of this, hemp fibres are stronger than cotton so your flannel should last longer.
5. Cold water shower collection bag
When the shower is turned on it is generally left to run until the water runs hot. A cold-water shower bag is designed to collect this water so it isn’t wasted. It can then be used for mopping the floor, cleaning the windows or watering the garden.
6. Dual flush toilet
If you need to update the toilet in your home, then a dual flush cistern allows you to use less water per flush. This not only reduces the amount of water used but if you are on a water meter it could save you money too.
7. Cistern water savers
If you aren’t going to be upgrading your toilet and only have a single flush system, then you could purchase a water saver device which goes into the cistern. It works by reducing the amount of space in the cistern meaning it requires less water to fill it, while still having enough to flush adequately.
When changing your mattress there are now a number of options made from bamboo yarn. As well as being considered an eco-friendlier alternative to a standard mattress; they are also naturally antibacterial, generally free from chemicals and hypoallergenic.
2. Mattress covers and toppers
If you aren’t going to be buying a new mattress but are looking to add new life to your existing one, you may want to think about a bamboo yarn mattress cover or topper, which give you the same eco benefits as the mattress
3. Bed Sheets
Going for linen bedsheets that are made from flax could be the sustainable choice for you. Flax is a natural biodegradable material and grows only using rainwater. As well as comfort it is also a very strong and hardwearing material.
If you need a new duvet for your bed hemp would be a good eco-friendly choice. They are both sustainable and offer other benefits - Kapok is hypoallergenic while hemp has great breath-ability and antibacterial properties.
When purchasing new pillows there are options which offer natural fibres which don’t contain chemicals but are also sustainable. Look out for pillows which are made from Eucalyptus fibre, hemp or sugarcane fibre.
1. Solar Panels
If you have the budget to add solar panels to your home this is a great way to generate renewable energy into your home. Not only does it reduce your carbon footprint, it may help lower the cost of your energy bills.
2. Grow fruit and vegetables
Even with the smallest of outside spaces it is still possible to grow your own fruit and vegetables. This is potentially the most sustainable way to produce your food going from the ground to your plate with no food miles at all.
3. Double/Triple glazing
If you have the funds to update your old windows to newer more energy efficient double or triple glazed units you will feel the benefit inside your home, with less heat able to escape. You will likely use less energy and you could also save money on your energy bills.
4. Walking, cycling or using public transport
Using an alternative way to get to your destination can also help your carbon footprint, and save on fuel costs. Rather than a 5 minute drive, could a 10-15 minute walk or cycle ride be another option? If you’re going further afield using the train can sometimes be faster than driving too.
As you will have read there are lots of options to consider if you are looking to make your home more sustainable. Whichever idea or ideas you choose to follow, you will know that you are helping the planet.
Reducing our impact on the environment is a major focus for many of us, including us here at esure. We have a plan to reach net zero by 2050 and are working across every aspect of our business to reduce our carbon emissions.