Unless you built your new home with sustainability in mind, it’s one of the many that didn’t consider the environment during construction. The property could expand your carbon footprint even if you never buy plastic bottles or fast fashion products.
Read this ultimate guide to make your new home eco-friendly, no matter where you live or what lifestyle you lead.
1. Install Low-Flow Showerheads
Showering and bathing are some of the most significant sources of water waste in households. Even if you never use your bathtub, standing in the shower uses 17 gallons of water every time you need to clean up. Low-flow showerheads reduce your water pressure to save a few extra gallons every time someone showers. It’s a green compromise to one of life’s most essential self-care activities.
2. Switch Your Lightbulbs
Traditional incandescent light bulbs have more of an environmental impact than you might think. Research shows they are only 10% energy efficient, whereas LED bulbs are 90% efficient. Replace your household bulbs with LED alternatives to light your eco-friendly home without requiring nearly as much electricity.
3. Build a Back Porch
Your home’s carbon footprint will shrink or expand if it uses more energy to keep everyone comfortable. Part of that has to do with sunlight warming your home through your windows, but homeowners can mitigate that by making a back porch. The porch’s extended roof will block sunlight from heating up your home as quickly in the summer.
You can build one without costly contractor fees by learning to put it together with just a few tools. Make pilot holes to ensure a tight fit for any screws and paint the wood with sealant to prevent weathering after the project finishes. You’ll have extra shade around sunny windows that keep your HVAC unit from consuming electricity more often to cool your home.
4. Pick Native Garden Plants
Gardening is an excellent way to make your new home eco-friendly. You can eat vegetables grown in your backyard and raise plants without chemical fertilizers. However, your plants may still hurt the planet if they aren’t naturally occurring in your region.
People often ignore native species for plants that are bigger, more colorful, or even easier to grow. It’s tempting to pick new plants for your garden, but it could hurt bees around your home. Native plants are easy food for local pollinators, which have suffered a population decline in recent years due to a lack of local plant species. Figure out what grows in your region to create an environment that supports the ecosystem.
5. Skip the Coffee Pods
Machines that make coffee with single-use pods are affordable and might save space on your counter, but the pods contribute a significant amount of pollution to landfills. It can take 150 to 500 years for a coffee pod to break down entirely. Given that people use these pods multiple times per day, you’ll help the planet by skipping the single-use packages. Replace them with reusable pods instead or a coffee machine that uses biodegradable filter liners.
6. Use a Smart Thermostat
Traditional thermostats monitor your home’s temperature, but only from one location. They don’t know if each room really needs the extra air conditioning or heating. When it turns the fan on more frequently, it’s a waste of electricity. A smart thermostat will use multiple sensors to regulate your indoor temperature and only turn on your HVAC unit when necessary.
7. Make Regular Recycling Trips
Many neighborhoods don’t have recycling pickup programs. You can still recycle things like plastic bottles and aluminum cans by locating the closest recycling center to your home. Gather your separated waste in labeled containers and take them to the center once each week. You’ll minimize your home’s environmental waste by keeping recyclables out of landfills.
8. Start Composting Waste
Composting is an eco-friendly household solution for a few reasons. First, it breaks down waste that you can’t recycle. Eggshells, ground coffee, and teabags can all break down naturally in composting bins instead of a landfill. When you keep up with your composting mixture by turning the container frequently and aerating the waste, you’ll create homemade fertilizer for your landscaping. It’s a two-in-one solution that anyone can start using when they want to live a greener lifestyle.
9. Wash Dishes by Hand
Water is a limited natural resource, so any effort that cuts your household’s water use will improve the environment. Older dishwasher models use 10 gallons of water per load, making them a significant source of waste in homes. You can replace yours with a green model made in the last few years or wash dishes by hand. Either way, you’ll leave more water in the world for other living beings and plants to use for their survival.
10. Avoid Chemical Laundry Projects
Pouring detergent and fabric softener into your washing machine while you’re doing laundry adds more chemicals to wastewater runoff. They’ll eventually reach rivers and oceans, harming wildlife with chemical pollution.
Anyone can find organic solutions for their laundry needs and create an eco-friendly home. Make detergent at home with all-natural ingredients or find sustainable products at your local grocery store. You’ll still end up with clean clothes that smell lovely, but you won’t have to sacrifice your sustainable lifestyle to do that.
11. Shop at Thrift Stores
Fast fashion is a massive part of the clothing industry. It makes new products every day for budget-friendly prices, but it produces so much clothing that it uses 93 billion cubic meters of water per year. That’s enough water to provide for the needs of five million people.
Much of that clothing also ends up in landfills because the industry encourages consumers to buy new trendy products every day. Your household will be much more eco-friendly if you shop at thrift stores. Donated household goods and clothing get second lives and prevent your home from consuming more natural resources when you need apparel, furniture or decor.
12. Shop With Fabric Bags
Single-use plastic bags are at every grocery store. They’re easy to mass-produce and technically reusable, but plastic always contributes to landfill pollution. Your home won’t add to that waste if you shop with fabric bags. You could even make your grocery bags with sustainable fabric if you have the time and budget.
Create an Eco-Friendly Home
Now that you’ve read these useful tips, you can use this ultimate guide to make your new home eco-friendly. Whether you start by restructuring your garden, building a porch, or reducing your household’s electricity usage, you’ll shrink your property’s carbon footprint and make the planet a better place to live.