We all want to do our bit for the environment, whether that means actively making others aware of the perils of climate change or simply recycling household waste. Whatever your feelings may be, being environmentally conscious is growing in importance, as we look to leave a greener, more sustainable planet for future generations.
So, what can you actively do to make the world a better place? Well, there are plenty of ways to be more eco-friendly in your own home. In this article, we’ve come up with one big idea for each area of your house, from your garden to your bathroom.
1. Saving water in the bathroom
It’s the place where we use over half of all our household water, so the bathroom is the most logical place to start when it comes to being more environmentally-conscious. Saving water has to be the number 1 priority in any bathroom as it is all too easy to waste. Taking baths instead of showers, running the tap when brushing your teeth, standing under the shower for an excessive amount of time and leaving leaking taps or toilets unchecked can all contribute to water wastage.
One of the easiest things you can do to save water is to ensure your toilet is up to modern water-saving standards. Modern toilets give you the option of 2 flushes: 1 for liquids and a larger capacity for solid matter. If you have an old-fashioned toilet, chances are it’ll use a crazy amount of water.
Another thing to check is that your cistern isn’t constantly running. You can do this by sticking some toilet paper to the back of the pan, at least half an hour after your last flush. Ideally, leave it overnight. If the paper has disintegrated by the morning, your cistern is leaking and needs to be addressed. Many people can go months or even years without realising this and a leaking cistern could waste up to 400 litres of water per annum.
2. Reducing energy in the kitchen
Another one of the “utility” areas in your home, where daily meals are prepared. Outside of the bathroom, around 25% of all household water is used in the kitchen for washing dishes, washing clothes and drinking.
Energy use is one of the main things to be aware of in your kitchen. Modern appliances such as washing machines, fridge freezers and microwaves must all come with an EU Energy Label, which shows how energy-efficient they are. The ratings go from A, which denotes the most energy efficient products, to G (the least). So, by choosing appliances with an A rating (some even come with extra “+” symbols), you will be saving energy and reducing your carbon footprint.
As we all know, we Brits love a good cup of tea, which means an incredible amount of kettles are boiled on a daily basis. According to a report by the Energy Saving Trust (EST), three quarters of UK households overfill their kettles, which wastes nearly £70m of energy every year.
If you tend to overfill your kettle, it may pay to invest in a boiling water tap. Providing instantaneous boiling hot water, you only heat the water you need, meaning it is more energy-efficient.
3. LED lighting in the living room
Your living room is all about relaxing and coming together as a family, so it’s no surprise that we use plenty of energy lighting it, heating it and entertaining ourselves.
One thing that is common to many living rooms is the existence of multiple light sources. After all, we don’t always want the main light on. Lamps, of the table and freestanding variety, can be used throughout your lounge to produce the perfect ambience for whichever mood you’re in.
A good way to save energy is to check your lightbulbs. If you have older fittings which use traditional lightbulbs, try swapping for energy saving bulbs or LEDs. Whilst they may cost more to purchase in the first place, LEDs could save up to £240 per year, paying for themselves within the space of 5 months.
4. Insulating your bedroom
The place we go to recharge our own batteries, ways of saving energy or reducing your carbon footprint may not be so obvious in your bedroom. During the cold winter months, we all want a nice warm, cosy space in which we can doze off. So, if your bedroom is a bit on the draughty or chilly side, you may be tempted to crank up the thermostat by a few degrees.
However, those icy blasts may simply be due to poorly fitted windows. Have your windows checked by a professional and ensure any gaps or cracks are sealed up. This will help retain heat better, meaning you shouldn’t need to use extra energy to warm your bedroom.
5. Keeping your garden green
There are plenty of ways you can create a garden that is both green and eco-friendly. If the number of recent hosepipe bans is anything to go by, we may one day reach a time when watering your garden direct from the main supply is completely prohibited.
You can use a water butt to save water, collecting rainfall which is abundant here in the British Isles. Simply fill a watering can from this to keep your flowers and shrubs in bloom.
6. Heating the whole house
Underfloor heating can be used right around the home to help reduce your carbon footprint and could also save you money on your energy bills. Zoning each room individually means you can heat certain spaces at specific times of the day. When compared to central heating, this could result in significant energy savings—for example, you could just heat your bathroom first thing in the morning and just ahead of bedtime.
Doing your bit for the environment at home is easy. With these simple tips, you’ve made the first step towards a brighter tomorrow for your children and future generations.