In the current debate over climate change and global warming, there are many suggestions about what the average person ought to do to be environmentally responsible. One easy place to begin eco-friendly practices is in home as home keeping tasks. Whether it is restoring furniture and upcycling, creating a waterwise garden, installing energy efficient shutters or making or buying eco-friendly products, sustainability, conservation and environmental responsibility are easily built in to home life.
Rather than purchasing a new dresser, ottoman or table, upcycling old furniture is an excellent way to be green and creative. There are a vast array of projects that will give old furniture new life. For instance, stripping, repainting or varnishing a drab wooden headboard and then decorating it with decoupage flowers cut from wallpaper or heavy duty wrapping paper not only reuses that piece, it also adds a touch of originality to the room. With a coat of paint or varnish, a table can be made from wooden planks or an old door by stacking atop milk crates, bookcases or attaching metal legs or staircase balusters.
Water conservation is a critical issue for the green homeowner today. The two highest water consuming parts of the home are the toilet and the garden. It is possible to substantially lower the water bill and have a beautiful garden by using waterwise practices. One way to improve the water holding capacity of the soil without risking waterlogging is to add organic matter in the form of compost, chopped leaves or composted manure. Collecting rainwater from the roof gutters in a barrel or cistern is a good way to get free water. Finally, choosing the appropriate plants acclimatized to region and rainfall will go a long way towards eco-friendliness in the garden. There are a number of adaptable plants for the Australian garden, including the Broom and Twiggy Heath Myrtles, Bottlebrush and Gymea Lily.
Cooling and Energy Efficiency
With average temperatures increasing every year, a growing concern for the environmentally conscious homeowner is how to cool the home without losing energy efficiency. There are a number of green solutions to the cooling question, beginning with window treatments such as plantation shutters. Dean McCoy from Riverview Shutters states that “plantation shutters have been known to reduce heating and cooling costs, which has the double benefit of reducing the use of air-con and other energy guzzling appliances.” Not only are plantation shutters passively energy efficient and cost saving, they also add a touch of cool elegance to the home’s interior and are a complement any design scheme.
Environmentally Friendly Products
There are a multitude of ways to go green with environmentally friendly cleaning products. Anything from making carwash from eco-friendly dish soap to cleaning windows with vinegar and newspaper will contribute to both sustainability and a cleaner environment. Other green product possibilities include freshening upholstery and carpets by sprinkling baking soda and vacuuming or making your own hand sanitizer from herbs, essential oils, castile soap and glycerine. There are also a huge number of green products available on the market and through online vendors.
Becoming environmentally responsible in home-keeping and consumption is easily done with a little thought and planning. Whether it is replacing window coverings with passive energy efficient products like plantation shutters or ensuring that the cleaning products used inside and outside the home have low chemical content and environmental impact, every step that the homeowner takes towards sustainability, conservation and eco-friendly practices paves the way to a brighter future.