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As home styling experts we care about aesthetics, but we also care, and care a lot, about the environment. The average home can still have a pretty big carbon footprint, which isn’t good for the planet, or even, in some cases, your pocket book.
Homes can be made more eco-friendly though, and it is often not as hard as you might think to do so, and you may even enhance your home decor and save money too.
With all this in mind here’s a look at eight great tips for more sustainable, and yet still stylish, living.
Switch to LED or CFL lights For More Sustainable Living.
About 9 percent of the energy use of a typical home is accounted for by lighting. Substituting all your light bulbs with LED bulbs is a cheap and simple way to reduce your energy bill and your environmental footprint.
On average, when compared with incandescent light bulbs, LED bulbs consume 80 percent less energy. Also, these newer bulbs last about 20 times longer than regular bulbs, meaning fewer of them end up in the landfill.
The amount of heat they emit is another advantage of LED bulbs that is often overlooked. Standard bulbs emit a lot of heat, meaning to compensate, your air conditioner has to run harder in the summer. LED lights emit less heat, which may save even more energy directly and indirectly. A style plus? LED bulbs come in a range of color temperatures, and the smart ones – those controlled by your Echo Alexa or Google Home- can even change colors.
Seal Gaps Around Windows and Doors
Older homes tend to have door and window gaps that allow outside air to enter or allow heat to escape in the wintertime. If there are these kinds of gaps in your home, the air coming from your HVAC system will flow out the window. This will increase your energy bill and make your carbon footprint bigger.
Therefore, it saves you money on your heating and cooling bill simply by putting weather stripping around doors and windows. You can purchase weather stripping from any hardware store and install it yourself in a matter of hours.
Fix Leaky Toilets and Faucets
It may not seem like a big deal to have slightly leaky toilets and faucets, but they can waste lots of water. Homes that have small leaks that can waste up to 90 gallons or more of water per day, according to EPA.gov, and the average household leaks can account for more than 10,000 gallons of water wasted annually.
These leaks need to be repaired for more sustainable living. Pay attention to any dripping noises around the house you might hear. And, pay close attention to your water bill. An unexplainable spike can be a sign of a leak.
Create a Compost and Recycling Station For More Sustainable Living.
Most cities will now collect and process recyclable material, and compostable food . Make sure to have bins for trash and recycling in more rooms than just the kitchen to make recycling and composting as easy as possible. In home offices and bathrooms, a lot of recyclable material is thrown away just because the recycling bin is too far away.
Did you know that food scraps comprise of 50 percent of the trash produced by homes? They serve no purpose when these scraps of food go to the dump. But you can use those scraps to make fertilizer for your garden if you have a compost bin in your home.
Depending on how large and secure they are, most outdoor composters cost between $40 and $200. To avoid attracting pests, make sure that you get one with a tight-fitting lid and a secure hatch at the bottom to remove fertilizer.
Collect Rainwater To Water your Plants
300 gallons of water can be dumped on the roof of your house one night of rain, much of which flows into the street, collecting street pollutants like oil, fertilizer, cigarette butts, and animal waste. The runoff ends up in the stormwater collection system of your city, which is dumped into public waterways. Most homeowners, meanwhile, use sprinklers to water their lawn and garden, which is a waste of all the water that could naturally be collected.
Rainwater collection barrels, can form part of the solution. You can attach a hose to the barrel, or you can simply move the water from the barrel to your plants or garden by using a watering can. This will have a positive effect on your outdoor living space and water conservation in your area.
Insulate and Install an Attic fan
Since heat rises and our roofs are known to absorb the heat of the sun during the summer months, your attic tends to be much warmer than the rest of your home. It will act as a tight seal for the air in your house if your attic is properly insulated, keeping conditioned air from escaping so that your HVAC systems don’t have to work extra hard.
Another great way to reduce the amount of energy spent on heating and cooling your home is to install an attic fan, and it can decrease the potential for moisture accumulation up there too.
Attic fans are mounted on your roof and push hot air out of your attic, helping in the summer months to keep your home cooler and reduce your A/C bill . Once the attic reaches a certain temperature, attic fans can be programmed on a thermostat to turn on and there are even solar-powered options for even more sustainable living.
Install Low flow Showerheads and Toilets
Older showerheads release about five gallons of water a minute, which adds up quickly, especially in a busy family home. For the average family, showering accounts for almost 17 percent of residential indoor water use, according to EPA.gov.
Using less than two gallons per minute, low-flow showerheads, such as those with the WaterSense label, conserve more water and cut your water bill. Since these shower heads use less water, water heater requirements are reduced, which also saves energy.
Toilets are by far the primary source of home water use, accounting for nearly 30 percent of the indoor water consumption of an average home. Older toilets use as much as six gallons per flush, whereas newer toilets use about one gallon or less for more efficient use. By replacing old toilets with newer water-efficient models, you can reduce the water used and the money spent on your water bill.
Use Recycled Decor Items
Instead of heading to the home store the next time you are looking for a new lamp, new bedding, a new dining table and all kinds of other home furnishings head to a thrift store instead.
Thrifting is great for the environment, but it’s also a way to pick up one off, unusual items that you simply won’t find anywhere else, allowing you to decorate your space so that it really is unique to you. The fact that you’ll also save a ton of cash is an extra bonus!