Have you seen the real estate ads for residential housing in newspapers lately? All of them have a picture postcard image of a happy family relaxing in their home surrounded by greenery. A clear winning formula they’ve discovered is that, we all have an innate desire to have a house that is more connected to nature. Even amidst our chaotic lives, we want to feel the freshness, breathe clean air, eat farm fresh food, and spend relaxing moments enveloped by the arms of nature.
Instead of moving away searching for this slice of paradise, how about you bring paradise home? Do you think city living and closed spaces tucked away in high towers, won’t allow green living? Well, think again. You can create an environment-friendly home in 6 simple steps. Here are some smart eco-friendly ideas for you.
This simple but big step is a huge contributor in setting the mood for your home. Choose to have French windows in your home to flood it with natural light during the day. Sunlight offers many health benefits that come with regular, limited exposure, and it also is a great way to lower your dependency on artificial lighting. So you get to save on energy and money too.
These days, LED lights claim to last for several years and save over 60% energy. So when not aided by sunlight, switch to LED. Some homes have the option to add roof windows or skylights that provide three times the illumination than normal windows, and also enhance the house’s aesthetic value.
Green living ideally mandates that water be harvested, recycled, and reused. Sustainable homes not only harvest rain water, but also use a wastewater treatment system to recycle the water used in the home to water plants and even flush toilets.
If your building is currently not following these practices, you can still conserve water in many ways. An apparently crazy but innovative way is to connect your wash basin’s pipe to your toilet’s flush tank. This way, the water you use to wash your hands can be reused to flush the toilet! Some other simple ways of conserving water, is to use the bucket flush, fix leaky faucets and closing the tap when brushing your teeth. Though it may seem small, the overall amount of water saved from these little acts can be huge. After all, countless little drops come together to fill an ocean.
Maintaining temperature with proper insulation is a great way to enhance your green home quotient. If you are building your home from scratch, using materials like insulated concrete can be a wise way of protecting yourself from the elements, without artificial appliances. Green, eco-friendly ideas for insulation include using recycled, renewable material that can save money and energy in the long run.
Good insulation should keep you cool in summer and warm in winter. From wool to cotton to straw, there are many options available for homes. Thermal insulating tiles are created using puffed silicon-based materials, white cement and are blended with fibrous polymers that act as perfect weather barriers. Used for both roofing and floor, you can even walk barefoot on these tiles during a hot summer noon.
Though it is difficult to match wood with its finishing and elegance, eco-friendly furniture or eco-furniture is one of the latest buzz mantras. From straw particle board to recycled steel, these fixtures are not only long lasting but can also be efficiently recycled after their lifespan. Take a hint from this chic set of drawers by Vintage Archive, suppliers of furniture and accessories in United Kingdom.
A visit to a store offering these products will boggle your mind with a wide array of choices. Coffee tables are being made with recycled railway sleeper wood. High density Polyethylene (HDPE) is one of the growing favourites with designers these days. Everything from sofa to patio furniture is being crafted from this material. Furniture are also being made from hand woven synthetic fibres mounted on steel frames, for a sturdy base with a classy and wood-like finish.
Another renewable and biodegradable material that is a popular choice among designers to give a natural touch to your interiors is bamboo. From flooring to cutlery to intricately carved decorative pieces, bamboo’s versatility makes it well-suited for environment-friendly homes. The only disadvantage may be its cost, owing to its labour intensive manufacturing process.
Internationally, people who still prefer good old wooden furniture but still want to go eco-friendly are getting their furniture made from ‘salvaged’ wood. This is obtained from tree trunks that were logged years ago and later found in river beds. Even those found entombed in bogs are used, because of the unique texture of such wood.
Modern appliances and gadgets have made our lives easy, but they have also augmented our energy consumption and utility costs. But using them wisely can be a great way to enhance your green home quotient. This begins when you pay added attention while buying the appliances, and look for models with five star energy saving rating.
Flat panel TVs like those free from mercury, provide a good deal of energy saving. A five star rated refrigerator also consumes less power, and doesn’t even require a voltage stabilizer.
Currently, some fridges are being completely manufactured with clay, and require no electricity. They can be used to store drinking water, milk and even vegetables. Utensils like non-stick frying pots and pans, and even cookers crafted with clay claim to retain the nutrition of food better than regular appliances, and consume lesser energy.
Most paints we use on our walls are made keeping in mind the requirements of the paint industry, and not our homes. Because of our demand for increasingly smooth and durable finishes, paints are being loaded with toxic chemicals and heavy metals like arsenic and lead and volatile organic compounds (VOC) like glycol, ether and acetone.
Leading paint companies in the world are now well-aware of the consequences of such chemicals, and are creating non-toxic or organic paints for home use. Most offer a variety of low-VOC paints that come at a slightly higher price than the regular range.
Trying to make your home sustainable is a great way of doing your bit for the planet. It may come at a slightly higher one-time cost when you are buying the eco-friendly products. But the long-term savings and non-polluting environment that you will create are well worth the investment. Looking for more inspiration? Take a look at this ideabook – Interior design ideas for healthy living.