Switch To LED Lightbulbs
Switching to LED lightbulbs will set you on the right track for becoming greener – they’re not only more energy efficient, but will last longer, meaning you won’t have to replace them as often. Aidan Bell, co-founder of sustainable materials company Envirobuild, is a big fan of LED bulbs, but he says it needs to go further than that: “Being conscious of switching off light bulbs whenever you are not using a room is also a small but incredibly effective sustainable routine to adopt. You should also aim to do this with other appliances, such as your TV – don’t just leave it on ‘standby’, turn it off completely. Similarly, make sure to unplug your phone and laptop when they are fully charged as this helps to save unnecessary energy consumption.”
Find A Green Energy Supplier
Keeping a green home can be as simple as picking a good energy supplier. And there are plenty of good ones out there – if you’re looking to make the switch, you can’t go wrong with the likes of Bulb, Good Energy and Ecotricity, who provide 100% renewable energy to the National Grid. Plus, all this energy saving is likely to save you money – you can look at sites like sust-it.net to find the best energy deal for you.
Change How You Wash Your Clothes
“Wash your clothes at a lower temperature and on a shorter cycle” Adrian advises. “Heating water uses the vast majority of energy in a wash cycle and if your clothes aren’t especially dirty, they will still come out perfectly clean, while the shorter cycle and cooler temperature will be less abrasive on your clothing and keep it in good condition for longer. Swap your tumble dryer for the clothesline and you will be saving even more energy – and money on bills.”
Use Your Microwave
Did you know microwaves use 50% less energy than a conventional oven? So, when you’re making the choice how to heat up your food, try and opt for the former rather than the latter.
Put A Lid On It
Ridiculously simple, but also effective: put a lid on your saucepans. That’s it. “When boiling water in a saucepan, always remember to cover the pan with a lid,” says Aidan. “The water will heat up more quickly and less energy will be lost. Likewise, when using the oven try to reduce the amount of times you open it; ovens lose heat very quickly when opened and will require more energy to return to temperature.”
Get Rid Of Cling Film
Cling film isn’t renewable, so it’s time to get rid of it once and for all. Instead, use beeswax paper. All you need to do is warm the paper with your hands and stick over the top of bowls, or wrap up your sandwiches, and once it cools, the paper will create a seal. And to wash, just wipe with cool water and gentle soap and then reuse. This may sound fiddly but it’s actually pretty easy to use.
Being smart with your water is one of the most important steps to creating a greener home. When we think about sustainability, our water consumption doesn’t often come into play but it’s an important factor of being green. “According to Hubbub, 76% of households are not concerned about the amount of water they use,” Aidan explains. “This is worrying as water stocks in the UK are in relatively short supply due to our unstable climate and the heatwaves from last summer. We should all be trying to save water wherever possible, such as turning the tap off when brushing your teeth. Go a step further and install an inexpensive aerator onto your tap. This will add air to the stream and improve the pressure but use up to 50% less water, without any visible difference. If you have adequate water pressure you can also install a water saving shower head which works in a similar way.”
Choose Quality Over Quantity
If you’re looking into getting rid of furniture, like an old sofa, try upcycling to give them a new lease of life instead of taking them to the dump. “Freecycling services are great for this and will become a far more special and unique addition to the home,” Aidan continues. “Alternatively, look into purchasing items made from recycled material, putting your money towards recycled content will help to grow the market and create an incentive for these designs to continue.”
Look For Recycling Opportunities Everywhere
It can be tricky to know what you can recycle and what’s meant for the normal rubbish these days. But websites like Terracycle.com help you to know what items are meant for which bin, and will be able to show you which items can be recycled that you didn’t even know could be recycled.
Switch Out Your Chemical Cleaners
To further improve your eco credentials around the house, bin your chemical cleaners and instead look for products that use plant extracts and food-grade ingredients to clean, such as bicarbonate of soda, lemon juice or citric acid – Wilko has a great eco-friendly cleaning bundle, including dishwasher tablets, toilet cleaner and dishwasher tablets, for just £12.50. For the physical items you’re going to use to clean the house, make sure they are recyclable, multi-purpose or are good for more than one-use – such as a recyclable or machine washable mop head. Or if you want to remove using cleaning products altogether – vinegar is great for a whole range of cleaning purposes.
Put A Rug Down
Not only does a rug look fabulous on a wooden floor, but according to Good To Be Home, using rugs on wooden floors can save between 4%-6% on you energy bills – so there has never been a better time to treat yourself to that rug you’ve had your eye one.
Get An Eco-Friendly Loo
We also questioned this one, but it’s all about having a low flow version. Flushing toilets account for a massive 30% of your total indoor water use, but a low-flow toilet uses significantly less water – around 4.8 litres less per flush. So, if you’re renovating your bathroom, perhaps this is something to consider. These eco friendly designs are just as friendly on the eye.
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