There has been a significant surge in the number of homes in Australia adopting “green” technology and eco-friendly appliances in recent years. In fact in the last 5 years solar electricity usage has doubled, while solar hot water use has trebled.  Driving this increase in interest in achieving a “greener” home is the level of potential cost savings from strengthening the energy efficiency of the property and a strong desire to “do one’s bit” to help the environment. While many people assume that achieving a “greener” property requires significant changes, the reality is not quite so.

Reducing your contribution to air, water and land pollution and increasing the energy efficiency of a residential property doesn’t have to break the bank. There are a number of instantly actionable ways that you can achieve a more environmentally friendly home.

1. Change your lightbulbs

It may seem like a simple change but a change of light bulbs can have a significant impact on increasing the energy efficiency of your home. Swapping out all of the various light bulbs in your home to LED or CFL bulbs can result in and up to 75% less energy consumption. Such light bulbs are a little more expensive than traditional light bulbs to purchase but they last far longer and their use proves far less costly too due to the significant decrease in energy consumption.

2. Hit the off switch

With an influx of gadgets and electrical items into modern homes, significant energy consumption occurs from the level of these devices left on standby. At any one time, especially during the night, 2-3 television sets, a laptop, games consoles, tablets, mobile phone chargers, DVD players and music docks can all be left plugged in and on standby mode.

Simply enforcing a rule that all lights must be switched off and all devices plugged out when not in use can go a long way to significantly reducing energy consumption and making your home more environmentally friendly.

To help cut down on the air conditioning bill, utilise window screens to let airflow into the house to cool down. This is important, especially when it comes to improving indoor air quality. At the same time, the orientation of your home will go a long way to controlling the temperature of your home naturally.

3. Recycle, recycle, recycle… and compost too!

Despite a practice of recycling becoming quite mainstream in modern homes, we don’t recycle anywhere near to the level that we should be. Diligent recycling minimises the influx of rubbish entering landfills in turn reducing impact on the environment. While it may seem cumbersome, it really does pay to be extra careful about separating recyclable goods from rubbish. Also consider how certain materials can be recycled for use in the home – cardboard boxes used for children’s art, milk containers used as containers for plants and herbs, newspaper as pet bedding, glass bottles reused for fresh juices – there are numerous possibilities.

As well as putting items out for recycling rather than dumping, consider whether any waste can be composted – especially food waste which can provides excellent nutrients for the soil in your plants and garden.

And you don’t have to stop at just your everyday waste either. Buying used instead of new means you’re giving more life to an existing resource. Decorating with vintage furniture isn’t just a great decor choice, it also means that less new furniture needs to be manufactured. This can even apply to the things you build your home out of, recycled Baltic Pine floorboards not only look great but they give new life to old wood and lock corbon in for generations to come.

4. Check the energy rating of appliances

When purchasing new appliances for the home, it’s important not to just take into consideration the base price of the item but their energy rating too. This is something that not many consumers tend to factor into their decision when purchasing a new appliance. The fact is that more often than not the base price may not seem so attractive if the appliance has a poor energy rating as they can prove costly to use in the long run. Given the wealth of appliances used in the home, the higher the energy rating of each of those appliances, the greater the energy efficiency of the property.

5. Is it time to re-insulate?

A well-insulated home is a much more energy efficient and environmentally friendly property. Good insulation reduces the need to have HVAC air conditioning systems running through the hot Summer periods and running electric heaters or burning natural fuels all Winter long. Such heating and cooling practices and systems wreak havoc with the environment and run up extraordinarily expensive energy costs for households.

Proper insulation proves a much more effective long term solution, with savings equating to thousands of dollars over a 10 year period. Getting your home re-insulated could be one of the smartest moves you make and it can be installed over the course of a weekend.

6. Install blackout curtains/blinds

If re-insulating your home is a little outside of your budget right now, consider the use of blackout curtains instead. The purpose of blackout curtains and blinds extends far outside keeping the sunlight out of your eyes and preventing it from disrupting your sleep. Blackout blinds and curtains help to further insulate the property and are inexpensive to purchase. They will help to retain heat during the cold Winter months minimising the need to switch on oil/gas/electric powered heating and shield the warm sun in Summer reducing the need for air conditioning.

Make 2017 the year you embrace more environmentally friendly practices in your home. Join the revolution of people striving for greener homes and greener lives.

All Home-Build Concierge designs are completely customisable, so view our range and find the best solution for a home that is environmentally friendly.

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