With the ever-increasing threat of climate change, green living has been one of the best options we can do as individuals to reduce the harmful impacts of our actions and behavior. Contrary to the common notion, living a greener lifestyle is not that hard or expensive. Balikbayan Magazine shows you simple things you can do for your home to reduce your water and carbon footprint to save and conserve our Earth’s resources for the next generations.
IN THE KITCHEN
Shade that fridge
Putting your refrigerator in a place that can be reached by the direct sunlight can cause the machine of the refrigerator to overheat and makes it work harder to cool itself, thus increasing power consumption. So, move your refrigerator in a shady part of your kitchen.
Know what you want before opening
The length of time or frequency of opening the refrigerator is inversely proportional to the energy costs. So, decide what you want before opening the refrigerator. Also, after opening, make sure it is properly closed. Home Energy Magazine states that door openings account for 7% of the total fridge energy use.
Use low-energy appliance
Although a bit pricier than their standard counterparts, low-energy appliance helps you save money in the long run. Appliances labeled with “Energy Star” uses 10%-50% lesser energy than their older counterparts.
Ensure proper flow of air
Refrigerators produces heat so proper ventilation is a must. 7.6 centimeters is the suggested distance between the back of the refrigerator to the wall to ensure proper air flow.
Use eco-friendly cleaning agents
Instead of using chemical that can be harmful to our skin and environment, choose eco-friendly options such as vinegar. Vinegar is known to naturally kill bacteria, germs and molds. When you want some shine and remove stubborn stains, add a mixture of baking soda to your cleaning mix.
Save on Dishwashing
You can save energy by avoiding the pre-washing option, running only on a full load, and air-drying the dishes instead. If you only have a small number of dishes, wash them by hand instead.
Use cloth instead of tissue paper
Tissue papers add up to the waste in the kitchen. Cloths can be reused while tissue paper are disposable and takes more resources to be produced, so opt for the former.
IN THE BEDROOM
Instead of buying new furniture, be creative and reuse or repaint your old furniture. Or if you are thinking of buying a new one, just donate your old furniture to charity shops or Furniture Re-use Network. That way, your old chair or cabinet will be used for a greater purpose.
Regular polyester is made from petroleum, a byproduct of processing oil, and that’s not eco-friendly. Instead of the usual polyester blankets, use wool instead.Wools are easier and more eco-friendly to use.
Foam mattresses are largely petroleum-based, meaning they are not the most sustainable option. Most mattresses available aren’t very eco-friendly, either. So, buy a mattress that will last as long as possible. This is one way to reduce the negative impact of their production and disposal. This would mean less waste and fewer greenhouse gases over time. Another option is to buy a mattress that’s not treated with synthetic chemicals and toxic materials.
Sleep with organic sheets
The cotton plant has a less environmentally friendly history. Conventional or the non-organic cotton is actually one of the “dirtiest” crops because of the heavy use of pesticides involved in growing the plant. Some of the pesticides used have been labeled as hazardous to our health. 25% of insecticide use is accounted for cotton linens. Cut this back by opting for organic cotton or bamboo fibers.
The ingredients of conventional paints may include formaldehyde, heavy metals and harmful chemical known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Those VOCs are released in the air out while painting – and for up to five years after the brush used have dried.Eco-paints contain low levels of volatile organic compounds.Plant-based, water-borne paints are the best buy, followed by plant-based, solvent-borne ones with natural solvents. Try to avoid those with titanium dioxide.
Ditch the synthetic fragrances, chemicals, and aerosols and opt for the natural and safer option. The best option is 100% essential oils. There are many ways in which you could use essential oils—include them in your homemade cleaning products, use a diffuser or simply fill a small jar with baking soda, add 20 drops of essential oils, cover and shake. Top with a lid with holes and set it in a discreet place. Replace the content every week.
FOR THE BATHROOM
Install a low-flow toilet
Toilet flushing accounts for the 30% of the total indoor water use. This way, you are both saving yourself money and precious water.
Shave the smart way
When rinsing your razor use a cup of warm water, rather than rinsing it on a running the tap water. That way, you can save a considerable amount of water.
Install low-flow showerheads
A family of four could save approximately 160,000 tons of water in a year if they opt for a low-flow showerheads. Shower manufacturers are producing showerheads that can reduce your household water consumption without a noticeable difference to your usual shower experience. The term “low flow” is generally defined as a showerhead with a water consumption rate of 0.5 to 2 gallons per minute (gpm).
Open your windows
An excess of humidity causes mold. If there’s no mold, of course, you won’t be needing those harmful chemicals to wash them off.
Put a spider plant
Known to remove indoor air pollution, spider plants are perfect natural air purifier for your bathroom. Spider plants also create a classy aesthetic to your bathroom.
Fix leaky toilets, tanks, and faucets
Leaking toilets, if left unattended, can waste 757 liters of water in a day. If you see a leak, get it fixed as soon as possible.
IN THE LIVING ROOM
Use CFL Bulbs
Trading 1 incandescent light bulb for 1 Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs, can save you 400 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions. That’s 66% more energy savings.
Use extension leads
You can reduce your home’s consumption by 15% when you use multi-socket extension leads. Just make sure to unplug it when not in use.
Plant Native species
Instead of exotic plants and trees, opt for indigenous plants and trees that can adapt to the climate. These species will be easier to maintain and creates a friendly habitat for local wildlife.
Let it dry naturally
When washing your clothes, especially during summer, opt to let it hang dry naturally. You reduce 2-3 kilograms of carbon emissions if you do so.
Use concentrated detergent
Concentrated detergents have reduced packaging and creates a smaller carbon footprint due to cheaper transport cost compared to un-concentrated counterparts.