The great news is that it's easier than ever – well maybe since the 18th century – to live more in harmony with nature, and not sacrifice lifestyle or lots of hard-earned dollars.
1. Food waste
Being conscious of how much you are throwing out is a great start to greening your home's garbage section. Food waste is often the easiest place to start. Winter soups and casseroles, for instance, are a great way to use some of those veggies that may be a little tired and otherwise destined for the bin. Composting your organic waste and using the rich product to grow your own plot is both cost-effective and green.
2. Online entertainment
In case you haven't noticed, there's not much that isn't available online now. For householders, this offers the possibility of dispensing with those great home clutterers - books and CDs - and to help cut down on use of resources like plastic and paper. Sure 'real' books and fave CDs still have a place on your shelves. But be choosy.
3. Saving water
Fitting water reduction devices on your taps and showerheads and in toilet cisterns is quick and cheap. Water tanks or reservoirs, if only just for gardening, are a great way to better manage water usage. Finding ways to utilise non-potable 'grey' water for toilets or for your garden is also an easy and inexpensive means of recycling arguably our most valuable resource.
4. Room design
It's a good idea to keep your home as flexible as possible, to meet different seasonal and other variations. For instance, in the winter months, cozy wall hangings and floor rugs can warm a room and decrease the need for heating. Making a room smaller, say with portable screens can also allow the room's residual warmth and your own body heat to kick in.
As heat rises, most warmth in homes is lost through the roof. As such, ceiling insulation will allow your home to hold whatever warmth is available, through natural and additional heating for instance, and save on heat loss. When it’s warmer outside, insulation can provide an additional buffer on the incoming solar heat and help keep the home cooler.
6. Feel the seasons
It pays to feel the seasons a little more. Feeling the cold and the heat is nature's way of better adapting us to weather shifts. That doesn't mean we should dispense with our electrical warming and cooling devices. But maybe we could just turn them down a notch and save on resources.
The use of opening windows shaped and designed to catch prevailing breezes is an easy way to utilise nature's fresh air. Shutters, especially high up, can allow hot air to disperse naturally. Glazed windows will also help in holding out warm air or holding it in, depending on the aim.
There are two types of solar panels that can help bring down power bills and save energy. Panels are large cells that are placed on your roof. Tiles are smaller panels placed in your roof. Solar panels work on layers of silicon, which conduct atmospheric heat to produce energy. Your reduced energy bills will show how much you are lessening your environmental footprint and government subsidies also help.
9. Light bulbs
CFCs or compact fluorescent lamps and LED (light emitting diode) lights are as easy to fit as old style light bulbs and can be used for all applications old style incandescent bulbs are used for. They are often a little more expensive, but they last longer – up to 25 times - and they draw less energy, making them more environmentally efficient.
10. Native plants
Planting local natives in your garden will ensure your home flora is better adapted to prevailing conditions. This means they will be less in need of additional water or fertilizers. Also, natives will provide food and shelter for indigenous local birds and animals and will help your non-human neighbours stay healthy. Planting local natives in your garden will ensure your home flora is better adapted to prevailing conditions. This means they will be less in need of additional water or fertilizers. Also, natives will provide food and shelter for indigenous local birds and animals and will help your non-human neighbours stay healthy.