Last Updated Jul 26, 2017 · Written by Rob Schneider
Living a more sustainable lifestyle doesn't require radical changes. In fact, when you start living a sustainable lifestyle, you'll find you spend less money and enjoy a healthier lifestyle. Here are twelve tips to make your home more sustainable.
Recycling is easy to do. All you need to do is have three rubbish bins instead of one. Most councils have recycling facilities, so your plastic and aluminium waste will be taken to the appropriate area and be recycled. Your only job is to make sure waste goes into the appropriate bins.
Add another bin for organic scraps. This way, you can create a compost heap. A well-maintained compost heap is not smelly and doesn't attract flies, but rather creates heat, helping to break down organic matter. Read Create Your Own Compost to find out how easy making a compost heap can be.
Why would you want to grow your own vegetables? For one thing, you will save money. For another, organically grown vegetables won't have harmful chemicals in them. Homegrown vegetables taste delicious and are often easier to grow than some plants. A compost heap will help you grow delicious vegetables in your garden. You can grow separately or make vegetables part of your garden. If you live in an apartment, grow vegetables in pots wherever you can find a sunny outdoor spot. Our Vegetable Garden Planner can help you get started and don't forget you can grow vegetables in winter, too.
We have come to take water for granted. It wasn't always so. In the past, people had to dig wells and couldn't rely on municipal water supplies. Conserving water will save money and if everyone pitched in, we wouldn't have water shortages in times of drought. How can you save water?
For more tips, read Green and Sustainable Plumbing Options.
Solar power and solar hot water systems have come down in price and are more efficient than ever before. Think of ways to use solar power in your home. Instead of looking at the price of installing solar systems, look at the "payback periods" for solar power and solar hot water. In many cases, the payback time is within five years and you start saving money after that. Costing Your Solar Power Project explains the costs and savings of solar power.
Incandescent light bulbs use up to 90 percent of their energy creating heat. LED lights are cool burning, use far less electricity and last far longer than incandescent lights. Also think about buying smart light bulbs. Smart lights use LED lights and have a WiFi connection to allowing for control of lights from your smartphone or tablet. Read How Much Does LED Lighting Cost? for some tips on buying LED lights.
Another option is compact fluorescent lighting. They use more energy than LED lights and don't last as long, but cost less than LED lights.
Xeriscaping is using native plants in the garden instead of exotic species. If a plant is native to your region, it can sustain itself in your weather conditions. Our article, Arid Climate Garden Tips for Australia from New Mexico goes into more detail about xeriscaping and offers other tips for a more sustainable garden in any Australian climate.
Most commercial cleaners contain harsh chemicals. You may need to wear gloves when you use them and they have unpleasant odours. Some people have allergic reactions to them, too and may get skin rashes, eye irritation or a stuffy nose. They can also be a hazard to children. There are many non-toxic alternatives to those commercial cleaners that also cost less. Baking soda, lemons, salt, vinegar and other household items make great non-toxic cleaners. For more information, read Sustainable and Eco Friendly Cleaning Products.
Older appliances waste energy. Today we have star labels that tell us how energy efficient an appliance is. If you choose energy efficient appliances, you can slash your energy bills by up to 15 percent or more. Also look into buying a front loading washer. A front loader uses half the water of a top loader and less energy, too.
Living off the grid may not be practical for everyone, but learning about off the grid living can help make the home more sustainable. You may not be able to move from the city to a rural environment and live completely off the grid, but you can learn from those who have. To find out more about off the grid living, read How You Can Actually Live Off the Grid. The article gives examples of people who have succeeded at off the grid living and includes an example of a man in Sydney who has adopted an off the grid lifestyle in the heart of the city.
We're used to hopping in our cars and driving to wherever we need to go. This is not good for our health or the environment. If you walk or ride a bicycle, you're doing your body a favour and helping the environment. Think about if driving is necessary. Do you need to drive to the shops or a café when it's within walking distance? Walk or ride a bike and you will feel refreshed when you get there and refreshed when you get home. You'll also save petrol and not pollute the atmosphere.
Poor insulation means spending more on heating and air conditioning than needed, as the home will lose any heat that’s generated. If your home is poorly insulated, get proper insulation in the ceilings and floor. Ceiling insulation will help keep your home warmer in winter and cooler in summer. If your house is elevated, think about getting floor insulation. Insulation is inexpensive and can be one of the best ways to make your home more sustainable. For insulation advice, read Keep Your Pockets Full and Your Home Cool With the Right Insulation.
Think about other ways to make a home more sustainable and also how to make your lifestyle more sustainable. For example, instead of carrying mountains of plastic bags home with you from the supermarket, keep sturdy bags on hand and you won't have to use plastic bags. What else can you think of? Think about sustainability and you'll find many ways you can waste less and save more.