Environmental awareness seems to be on the rise again, as heated debates surround issues such as climate change and global warming. While these issues are often controversial, few would argue that a reduction in pollution would be a bad thing. We’ve compiled a variety of home improvement suggestions, which can help make your home more environmentally friendly.
Solar panels are one of the most well-known and readily accessible “green” technologies available to the general public. They’re becoming increasingly popular with the general public as a means for reducing their reliance on the energy grid, particularly for pool heating and hot water systems.
Although there are long-term benefits for the environment and your energy bill, the start-up costs involved in installing solar panels still make them prohibitively expensive for some. However, those who are interested may find it worthwhile to investigate the government rebates available on solar panels – these can help to reduce the personal expenses involved.
Solar panels can also generate solar power in excess of the power you actually need for your home’s energy needs. As a result some power suppliers will allow you to resell energy back to the power grid, either for cash or bill rebates.
Energy-efficient Light Bulbs
Another common (and increasingly popular) means of reducing energy consumption is to install fluorescent light bulbs. They last substantially longer than normal incandescent light bulbs, and also require substantially less energy to run.
Greywater is water salvaged from everyday use (e.g. the washing machine or bathroom sink). This water isn’t drinkable, but it can be repurposed for a number of uses, watering ornamental plants and washing clothes. Collection units can be attached to your house to provide you with a source of recycled water, helping reduce the amount of clean water that is normally used for fundamentally dirty tasks (e.g. flushing toilets).
Greywater should never be used on plants intended for human consumption (e.g. herb or vegetable gardens), as the contaminants in the water can be very detrimental to human health. Additionally, it shouldn’t be stored for more than 24 hours after collection, both for hygiene and legal reasons.
Heating and cooling are major sources of increased energy bills, potentially accounting for up to 40-50% of your household’s energy use. However, installing insulation with the walls and roof can be an excellent way to help your house retain warmth during winter, while filtering out the excess heat in summer. Your reduced energy use will also have positive effects for both your bill and the environment.
On a similar note, it’s worthwhile investigating whether there any spots in the house where draughts are being let it. Even small gaps can lead to significant heat loss for your home during winter – and as a result, a potentially large increase in your energy bill. If you find them, block them up!
The main obstacle that people encounter when increasing their level of environmentally friendly practices is (unfortunately) cost. Those building a new home may find it easier to incorporate the costs into their home loan, as it can be difficult for existing home owners to find the relevant funds to make their homes more environmentally friendly. While there is little that can be done about this in the short term, it is important to remember that the costs are not merely a personal investment, but also an investment in the future of the planet’s health. Fossil fuels are not sustainable forever, and it’s likely that alternative energy sources will need to be heavily investigated and used over the coming years.