Jan 3, 2017

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1. Switch sources
Completely disconnecting from the power grid can be difficult, but simply curbing your home’s reliance on wired in electricity from non-renewable energy sources can help reduce your carbon footprint. Install a few solar panels to power lights and smaller appliances until the time you can rely solely on renewable energy.

2. Seek intelligent design
Save on your energy consumption by using energy-efficient appliances. Energy is wasted when appliances in your home don’t fit or match your lifestyle. Pick the right appliances for your household depending on your family’s size and capacity requirements and frequency of use. New generations of appliances now come with smart programming that control their power consumption.

3. Create refreshing flow
Proper ventilation and shading help cool a space naturally. Open windows and switch on the ceiling fan to facilitate air flow in a room, and close the blinds on windows that catch the most sunlight at certain times of the day. If you’re in the process of renovating or building, ask your architect to include passive cooling designs in your home to help put the air conditioner to rest.

4. Find new ways and uses
There are perks to going organic, not just in your diet but also in your garden. For homes with gardens, making your own compost not only helps the environment by recycling organic waste and minimizing chemical contamination from artificial fertilizers, it’s also good for your health. Up your recycling ante further with recycling bins for non-biodegradable waste to ensure you’re not contributing to growing landfills.

5. Maintain foliage
Within the rigid yet comfortable confines of our homes, VOCs or volatile organic compounds from furniture, carpets, synthetic building materials, and cleaning products taint our breathing space. Instead of buying electric air purifiers, it’s better to adopt a few house plants (peace lillies, snake plants, and bamboo palms work best and are locally available) that can naturally rid the air of pollutants. Not only do they save energy, these plants also serve as visual respite that improves one’s mood.

6. Harvest rainy days
The constant news of alarmingly low water levels in dams should alert us to the ways we fail to maximize our water use. Installing a rain catchment system can have you making use of rainwater that would otherwise flood the streets to irrigate the lawn and flush toilets. But if installing pipework is too much a task, simply storing rainwater in drums for use around the home can help conserve the precious liquid commodity.

This story was originally published in Northern Living, March 2016.

TAGS: Energy-efficient appliances garden nolisoliph rainwater Solar volatile organic compounds windows