Apr 03

Eco-home: 5 Tips To Make Your Home More Sustainable

ecohomeIt seems to be the new trend at the moment and with good reason too! In the last decade particularly, many governments and communities have zoned in on the idea of sustainability. Sustainability is the concept where current needs are met without depleting the resources of future generations.

Likewise, individuals and families can also operate in more environmentally friendly ways. Indeed, sustainability in the home can also cut down on costs and make your home more comfortable. There are countless ways to go about sustainability in your home. Here we survey five top suggestions.

Choose your plants wisely

Aren’t having plants an eco-friendly choice in the first place? In some respects, yes. However, plants that require lots of water are generally considered a less sustainable choice. The choice of plants will often depend on the climate in which you live in. For example, if you live in a dry climate such as in Australia, look out for Australian native plants. Fruit trees are also a good idea in providing shade for your backyard and fresh fruit for you!

Choose eco-friendly paints

Many people would be surprised to know that the UN International Agency on Research into Cancer (IARC) categorises painting as a “hazardous profession” due to various toxic components in many paints. This is because paints contain harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Instead, choose plant based oils. Plant based oils are low-VOC and more sustainable than paints derived from petrochemicals.

Choose eco-friendly floors

With flooring, it is not so much the material that matters but the maintenance routine required to maintain its durability. This is because most floor finishes are also plastic based, meaning that VOCs and allergens will be emitted from your floor after installation and recoating. Once again, you can avoid this by choosing low VOC floor finishes. Alternatively, choose ceramic, hard tiles, linoleum, and cork as your flooring.

Use less electricity

While the choice of paint and flooring are sustainable design choices, there are also sustainable living choices you can make every day in your home. Saving energy is an easy way to be sustainable. This includes simple things like turning off lights when not in use. Some less common ways: turning off your cable set-top box when not in use, having a correctly sized air conditioner, and organising your fridge!

Use recycled or reclaimed materials

If you’re hunting for that perfect piece of real estate to buy or build up, consider choosing or building a home with recycled or reclaimed materials. If you’re after wood, look for wood from older torn-down buildings or else types such as bamboo that grow quickly and sustainably. If you’re already settled into a property, consider buying more recycled products at the supermarket, whether it be pens or even toilet paper!

Amy Hopkins is a university student and freelance writer who is interested in flicking through the newspaper looking at NSW real estate. You’ll often find her dreaming about properties she can’t quite afford to buy!

Apr 02

Going Green To Save Green

Going Green To Save Green

green1Turning your home into a more energy efficient system, can improve performance, save money, and is good for the environment. With the right strategy, you can make any home more efficient and comfortable. Whether it’s an older home or a newer home, there are many measures homeowners can take to improve the efficiency. First you need to think about each part of your home, inside and out. Then, you can figure out which envelopes need the most work.

Insulation Can Go a Long Way

When installed properly, insulation slows the rate of air that flows out of and in the house. Whether it’s winter or summer, insulation improves your comfort, your efficiency and cuts the energy bills. If your house doesn’t have insulation in all the right places, you can usually tell… but sometimes it takes a little work. Plus, if your attic is unfinished, you should definitely think about getting it insulated. There are many types of insulation to choose from, but the most popular are made from fiberglass and foam. With insulation installation you should probably call an expert. They know where insulation needs to go and they install it correctly the first time. They also have special tools like infrared cameras to find all the hidden cavities where the air is escaping.

Windows

By upgrading or replacing your old windows with new energy efficient ones, you will feel the effects immediately. And even better yet, your energy bills will drop and drop fast. Yes, windows can become a little pricey, especially when you need to replace more than one.  But, it will pay off in the longer run… by a lot. Fortunately there are many types of energy efficient windows that offer a refund.

Let There Be Light

You wouldn’t think replacing your light bulbs would help the efficiency of your home. However, incandescent light bulbs not only use less energy, they are brighter then most regular bulbs. Plus, energy efficient light bulbs use less electricity to run. Do your research and compare the energy used for your old bulbs compared to new energy efficient bulbs. You will see a real difference in how much energy is used and how much it costs to run each one.

Outdoor Structures

Believe it or not, a verandah, car port, patios and awnings can make a big difference in energy efficiency. By installing an energy efficient roof, these home additions become an economic solution that you and your family can enjoy.

Eric Regan is a writer who loves the enviroment and has written many blogs on different going green and energy saving techniques