Going “green” at home doesn’t need to be hard. The trick is to make small tweaks that suit your existing lifestyle! Tackling a few simple hacks each month can add up in the long run. And, with more of us spending extra time at home via virtual offices and starting home businesses lately, making the spaces where we live more eco-friendly is a smart place to start our greening journeys. Investing time to change your home and lifestyle up now, could also save you plenty of money later. Here are a few easy ways to begin making your home more sustainable.
1. Wash your clothes in cold water. Most of a washing machine’s energy goes towards heating. If you have stubborn stains, try a warm water setting instead of hot – it still helps!
2. Ditch the fake chemicals and make your own air fresheners. Simply save your table scraps! Try citrus peels like lemon or orange, spent spices such as vanilla pods or cinnamons sticks and any herbs that are going a bit droopy in your fridge. Pop them into a small pot over the stove, add plenty of water and bring to the lowest simmer. The scented steam will waft through rooms to ensure your home smells sweet.
3. Calling in a professional handy-person to fix a leaky tap or rattling window? Start by looking for a local. This cuts down on travel miles. As the Jubilee community continues to grow, you’ll be sure to find a handyman close by.
4. When it comes time to landscape your garden, you can go green in more ways than one. Plant drought-resistant plants to cut down on water use (and your time spent manning the hose). Research what flora is native to your area. That way, you’ll be making a happy home for bees, bugs and birds and other wildlife too.
5. If you have a backyard, bring back that great Australian invention, the Hill Hoist! Using the air and sun-drying power of a manual clothesline or clotheshorse is far more energy-efficient than a machine dryer.
6. Try to style your home with pre-loved furniture wherever possible. Vintage or op-shop finds (Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree count) not only saves resources by not creating anything new, but they also save existing pieces from ending up on the waste pile.
7. Install smart heating and cooling devices that you can program to turn on or off depending on when you’re home or which rooms you’re likely to inhabit at different times of the day and night. Start by setting the temperatures to be a little warmer than you typically would in summer and a little cooler than you would in winter – you may not need to be as toasty or chilled out as you think to be comfortable!
8. Speaking of temperatures; can you get away with turning down the thermostat on your hot water system? Set reminders on your calendar to keep this and other major appliances serviced regularly so that they run efficiently and are likely to last longer. And pop a cute designer hourglass in your shower and try to get squeaky clean before the sands run out.
9. Even if you’ve only got a sun-dappled kitchen windowsill for space, grow hardy herbs like thyme, rosemary, parsley and mint. This will not only save your fuel spent on travel to the shops, eliminate food miles and cut down on commercial chemicals, but it will make your food tastier, healthier and cheaper too!
10. Does your bedroom feel like it needs a fresh new look? Paint technology has come a long way in recent years. Look for water-based paints with zero VOCs (that’s “volatile organic compounds”). Does your chosen colour have GECA certification? This accreditation makes sure that raw materials and the manufacturing process are sustainable so that the paint is better for both your health and the planet.