Whether you make great or small eco-improvements to your house, every action counts. As well as having a lasting, positive effect on the world around us, these practices and projects will also save you money by turning your home into an eco friendly abode, and might even revitalise your general day-to-day wellbeing.
It’s no secret that in Australia, energy is getting very expensive. As our government fumbles for a considered future-proof approach to power—household energy bills in some states have suffered a price jump of nearly 20% just last year. But we can take matters into our own hands to reduce hefty bills, as well as our weighty environmental footprint.
Here are a few projects to get you started—some green safe practices to set in place, as well as a little DIY that’s sure to maximize comfort, overall peace of mind, and help to safeguard the future of the planet.
Solar panels offer clean and renewable energy—and beneath the rays of our scorching Australian sun, it’s an investment that will without doubt cut household costs and reduce your emissions. As well as clipping your utilities bill, under the Small-Scale Renewable Energy Scheme, you might be eligible for discounts or other financial incentives.
If panel aesthetics are an issue, there are now tiles that’ll give you energy independence without compromising on design. Bristile Roofing’s R&D team have recently revealed a roof tile system that integrates seamlessly (pictured above) with your home’s design. Included is a smart metering system that allows you to track and manage consumption.
Aside from properly insulating your home too, some smaller at-home energy saving ideas include washing your clothes in cold water or ‘eco’ mode, as 80-90% of your washing machine’s energy is used just to heat the water for warm-washes. To remove tough stains, buy eco-friendly cold water detergents. Unplug appliances instead of just switching them off to prevent them from continuing to draw energy—while not all are power hungry, you can pinpoint which ones are with a smart meter, which will track each appliance’s consumption. You may discover it’s time to replace older appliances with newer Energy Star-qualified products.
Make your home a bit greener by swapping old incandescent globes for new LED or CFL (compact fluorescents) lights. While regular globes waste a lot of energy as heat, LEDs are cool to the touch, so they don’t use much energy at all, and—as well as looking nicer—LEDs last about 35 times longer. While the health benefits of LED over regular incandescent globes is contested, LEDs can emit light at very specific blue wavelengths making their light an effective sun substitute within the concept of ‘human centric lighting’. So, they’ll save you money and make you feel a little sunnier indoors too.
If you have trouble forgetting to switch lights off when you leave the room—you could install motion sensor lights, which can be quite inexpensive. Bask in natural light when you can too: skylights are a great option for allowing daylight to flood in, be sure yours is positioned to capture the most. And where possible, throw open curtains, shades, and blinds to make the most of sunny hours.
Having a veggie patch and growing your own fruit and vegetables is a great way to reduce your household’s broader carbon footprint with virtually zero food miles to account for. It’ll be richer in vitamins and minerals and fresher too, meaning you’ll also be reaping the health benefits of what you’ve sown. Keep your home-garden extra vibrant by creating your own food waste compost with leftovers and kitchen scraps.
As well as this, get creative with indoor plants to clear the air. Many act as a filter for regular home pollutants, removing up to 87 percent of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) every 24 hours, according to some NASA research. Choose orchids, succulents and epiphytic bromeliads for extra fresh air, as unlike other varieties, they breath in carbon monoxide and release oxygen.