Going green at home has never been easier!
Making your home a place of sanctuary where you can relax and enjoy a good, healthy life doesn’t have to be to the detriment of the environment.
In fact, you can make your home much greener for both nature and the environment by making a few simple changes. This is where the concept of going green at home comes in.
What makes a green home?
In simple terms, an eco-home is one that’s built, maintained and lived in with the ultimate aim of reducing its environmental impact. Although there’s no set definition, any home that does this can be described as ‘eco-friendly’ or at least trying to be more sustainable.
Living in a more eco-friendly life at home generally revolves around three main pillars:
- Energy use and efficiency
- Material use
- Resource use (including food and water)
Your home should fully serve your needs and your way of living without depleting the earth’s resources in an unsustainable fashion. Living in a greener way a home will have benefits not just on the environment and eco-systems, but with you personally too.
This article will take a look more broadly at eco-friendly home living before heading into the 23 ways that you can go green at home.
Is eco-friendly living feasible?
Ok then, an eco-friendly home sounds great doesn’t it? But what exactly does it entail? And is it a feasible achievement?
A greener, more eco-friendly home will always have the 4 R’s of sustainability at its heart:
Thanks to the volume of great information out there, it’s entirely feasible to live in a greener, more energy efficient and eco-friendly home in 2022
A big part of the process in creating a fully eco-friendly home comes during the construction phase with material choice and methods playing a crucial role. This is a huge, intricate area of discussion.
For the purposes of this blog, we’re going to discuss the simple ways you can go green at home in your existing surroundings. Before we do that let’s have a quick look at some of the facts and benefits of living in an eco-friendly home.
Facts and benefits of going green at home
With a slight clue in the name, an eco-friendly home will benefit eco-systems around us.
It will help your home play a positive role in the environment rather than contribute to destroying and degrading it. But what about the other benefits to you? These are perhaps less well-known but just as important if we are to see a cultural, society wide change towards a greener way of living.
Here’s a few of the fantastic benefits and facts of eco-friendly homes:
- Environmental benefits – less carbon emissions
- Less reliance on finite resources – fossil fuel dependent and non-renewable energy sources – coal, oil, natural gas
- Animal and plant friendly surroundings to boost the immediate ecosystems around your home
- More efficient use of heat – reduced energy bills
- More efficient use of water – reduced water bills
- Healthier internal environment and living conditions – a focus on more natural products, rather than chemically manufactured, improves the internal environment by reducing the number of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). VOCs are found in paints, plastics, carpets etc and are released slowly over time.
- Improve wellbeing and mental health benefits – aligning yourself closer to nature and relying less on the things that are harmful to us will bring a better sense of wellbeing and form some will lessen the sense of guilt. Having a focus on the natural side of things in your home – natural light and indoor house plants – has been scientifically shown to improve mental health. Take a look at my house plant benefits blog here.
23 Ways To Go Green At Home
There are a great number of ways to make your current home greener.
Some of them are very simple and don’t cost anything to implement, whereas some of the big ticket changes will require a bit of investment. This will pay back over time – both for you and the environment!
So, here are 23 ideas to make your home greener and more sustainable.
1. Always carry a refillable water bottle and reusable coffee cup
A very simple tip but one that will dramatically reduce your personal plastic consumption if you buy bottled water daily or are always getting a take-out coffee. By carrying a refillable water bottle and reusable coffee cup, you’ll be saving resources and money every time.
2. Switch energy provider to a Green Supplier
Switching energy suppliers in the UK is such a simple process these days and can all be done online. There are a number of green energy providers who pride themselves on sourcing clean, renewable energy. If your current supplier is still focussed on non-renewable sources, it’s time to switch.
Visit uswitch.com to get more info on switching energy provider.
3. Switch to an ethical bank account
Banks have an enormous amount of a power because they have money at their disposal to invest into projects and businesses.
The only reason they have a lot of money is because people like you and me deposit our money in them. Wield your own power and choose a more ethical bank to store your money. This way you’ll be supporting a more sustainable world.
Thanks to the Current Account Switch Service, changing your current account couldn’t be simpler or more straight forward now. I’ve done it and it really is easy.
4. Eat organic and natural food (homegrown if possible)
The food you eat is so important for your health and where you source if from can have a huge impact on the environment.
According to the Soil Association, food choice is one of the easiest and most effective ways to improve your environmental footprint. It’s all about thinking of the journey from farm to fork. The less time it takes for your food to get from the ground (plants or animals) to your dinner table, the better.
This also goes for chemicals used too. The less used, the better.
Organic, natural, non-processed food is what you should be after. Think about growing vegetables and fruits in your garden – it will give you a sense of fulfilment and nourishment. Here’s a very informative post of vegetable gardening for beginners.
If you eat meat and dairy, try and source a local butchers and farm to get your eggs from.
5. Collect and reuse rainwater
We get enough of it in the UK, so why not start collecting rainwater and use it to water your garden, indoor plants and clean your bike or electric bike?
You can also use rainwater inside. It’s great for general household cleaning as it doesn’t contain any calcium or chlorine. And I like to use mine on my house plants too.
Original organics* are a great place to buy ethical and sustainable gardening equipment.
6. Rewild your garden or green up your space
Where you can try and limit the use of tarmac, plain concrete and brick. Green your areas with plants and flowers which are so much better to look at and are much better for the local fauna and ecosystems at play.
Your house is sitting where natural ecology once ruled, so try your best to replace this. You might even want to try rewilding your garden or an area of it. Green living roofs are also a great idea but will require expert help as the load is very heavy and it isn’t as simple as it sounds.
Inside your home, green vertical walls are a fantastic way to support plant life and the fauna that this then brings. Your choice always has knock-on effects, so greening up your space doesn’t just look nice, it will also have positive impacts on the animals that it will attract, and then the animals that these animals attract.
7. LED light bulbs
If you’ve not already switched to LED light bulbs where have you been?
Old, halogen bulbs waste an awful lot of energy as heat rather than light and tend to need replacing much more often.
Yes an LED light bulb will cost you a couple of pounds more to buy initially, but they have a lifetime of 50,000 hours compared to about 1,000 hours for a halogen! Because LED bulbs also use much less energy, they will cost you a fraction of the amount in energy over a year.
This one really is a no-brainer.
8. Make use of natural light
If you’re working from home, reading or relaxing, try and make the use of natural light, rather than sticking the main overhead light on.
Getting as much natural light as possible is fantastic for your body’s circadian rhythm, as well as reducing your electricity needs. Plants also love a bit of natural light!
9. Dry your clothes outside – free solar and wind energy!
I know only too well that the weather doesn’t always allow it in the UK, but when you can get your freshly cleaned washing outside to dry. Whether this is on a washing line in your garden or a drying rack on your balcony, there’s always a way.
Instead of switching the boiler on and burning through energy piped through your radiators or using an energy intensive dryer, you’ll be harnessing completely free renewable energy called solar and wind! The fresh air makes your clothes smell and feel glorious.
10. Install a smart meter
A smart meter lets you know exactly how much gas and electricity you’re using on a daily basis, plus how much it’s costing you.
These are usually free and you just need to get in touch with your energy provider. I guarantee as you see your daily total shooting you, you’ll start to naturally implement measures to reduce your energy consumption
11. Indoor house plants
Bring yourself closer to nature. Indoor house plants have been shown to improve air quality as well as bringing plenty of psychological benefits, such as reduced stress and anxiety.
Better mental and physical health whilst bringing life and vibrancy into your home? Win, win and win.
Don’t forget, you might also need some sustainable compost, such as coir compost.
12. Eco-friendly appliances
Many products now come with an energy efficiency rating. Look out for an Energy Star rating and other eco-labels.
On items that get used a lot, such as kettles, washing machines and fridges, it could make a huge difference to the energy used and your monthly bill. Did you know, a washing machine cycle at 40oC uses a third less energy than one at 60oC.
Most washing powders and detergents work effectively at low temperatures, so you’ll still have nice, clean clothes with a lower bill to pay at the end of it. It’s also worth considering items and products that can be controlled remotely. The Internet of Things offers a whole new way to manage appliances and household items in the most efficient manner.
13. Think about material use and product lifecycle
Generally this is about making more sustainable choices and eco-friendly swaps.
Plastic has been a genius invention and has revolutionised modern-day living but we all know that it’s not good for the environment – both its production and disposal are highly problematic.
Just because plastic can be recyclable, doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily better than something that can be reused and will last for decades. It’s all about the lifecycle of a material and the carbon/energy that goes into making it initially.
There are then some more controversial ‘greener’ alternatives such as silicone – you can have a read here to see if silicone is eco friendly.
It’s always better to use natural materials where possible, and when you use natural, make sure it’s from a sustainable source. For example, any wood or timber should be accredited by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Recycle and reuse materials where possible.
14. Buy from sustainable eco shops
One of the best options is to buy local from refill shops. If this isn’t really an option, there are plenty of good online eco shops to buy from.
Some of these sites include andkeep.com* and ethicalsuperstore.com* which are fantastic places to get ethical and sustainable products. Reusable food wraps and cling film alternatives, laundry detergent, toothbrushes, make up removers and baby wipes, they’ve got it all. A simple swap to a reusable, plastic-free product can make a huge difference.
15. Good levels of eco-friendly insulation
Excellent insulation is perhaps the most important cost-saving method you can implement. Even better when you use eco-friendly insulation, such as sheep’s wool, wood wool or another alternative, which have a lower embodied carbon score but are just as effective at retaining a steady temperature.
You could have the best, most powerful heating system in the world, but if your insulation is not up to scratch and your home isn’t airtight and you have lots of draughts, all that heat will be escaping out of your house and into the air. Not good for your comfort and certainly not good for your bank balance – a lot of energy (read, money) going to waste.
16. Use eco friendly paint
Traditional, regular paint is not good for the environment. It’s often made using synthetic, petrochemical-derived ingredients and release VOCs into the atmosphere and your home.
Eco friendly paints are much better for you and the environment around. An eco friendly paint will be made using natural ingredients, contain no toxins or heavy metals, are sustainable produced, and have a very low VOC emission level.
17. Install solar panels
Improvements in solar technology plus government incentives, mean that investment in solar systems is still well worth it.
Solar technology comes in two forms – solar thermal and solar photovoltaic (PV).
A solar thermal system converts sunlight into heat energy whereas PV technology converts sunlight into electricity. They will still require an initial investment of £2,500 to £5,000 (depending on the size and other variables) but then cost less than £10 per year to run and maintain.
18. Double or triple glazing
This works on the premise of trapping air (or an inert gas) between two or three panes of glass.
These air pockets significantly improve the energy efficiency of the glazing and home at large to help keep as much heat in as possible.
19. Eco friendly and refillable cleaning products
Did you know that 90% of the weight in cleaning products is made up from water? The rest is single use plastic bottles and the synthetic chemicals that go into them.
A great way to go green at home is to start choosing eco-friendly refillable cleaning products.
I recently tried Spruce cleaning products and was mightily impressed – reusable aluminium bottles, UK made ethically produced cleaning ingredients and compostable packaging. Check out my Spruce review here.
20. Use eco laundry sheets or detergent
Traditional laundry detergent is full of synthetic chemicals that are harmful for the environment should they make there way there.
Eco laundry detergents and laundry sheets can provide a sustainable, more natural alternatives. Two great products that I’ve tried are:
21. Opt for biodegradable toilet roll
Not all toilet roll is made equally or in a sustainable way. However, making a greener choice is now quite easy.
There are a number of brilliant brands in the UK producing more environmentally friendly toilet roll. You can find out much more information on my eco-friendly toilet paper blog.
22. Buy an eco friendly phone case
Did you know that most phone cases are made with hard thermoplastics?
Luckily for you , you can now go green with your phone case! Greener cases are made with 100% plant-based materials and should be fully biodegradable when you’re finished.
Have a look at my post on the most eco-friendly phone cases.
23. Use reusable wraps instead of cling film
Cling film is a highly processed, single use item that is almost impossible to recycle. Not much going for it then in terms of environmental benefit.
A much greener option for your kitchen is to use reusable food wraps. I’ve been using beeswax food wraps for a while now and they are great.
You can cut them to different sizes and use to mold around dishes, plates or your sandwiches. Once they’ve been used, just wash with warm, soapy water and let it dry for next time.
Going green at home wrap up
Living a more eco-friendly life doesn’t mean you have to quit everything with any potential negative impact and go and live in the woods. You can always consider living in an off-grid hut though!
There are lots of ways that you, and human society at large, can better integrate methods in your home to benefit the environment and you personally.
If you can live a little more eco-friendlier for the benefit of you and the environment you live in, why wouldn’t you?
Some of these go green at home ideas are very simple to do and will cost you absolutely nothing, whereas others may require an initial investment that will pay back in the future.
All we can do is our bit to make improvements. If you know of any ways to make your home more eco-friendly that I’ve missed, then leave a comment and I’ll investigate and get it added to this article.
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