7 Ways to Make Your Home More Eco-friendly

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The key to creating an eco-friendly home is to tackle the problem from several different angles. Reducing the amount of energy that your home uses, reducing water usage and waste, as well as shopping smarter can all help you achieve a ‘greener’ home.

New eco-friendly products are being designed all the time, so if you’re keen to improve your home, keep an eye out for new ways you can reduce your carbon footprint. Here are some of the simplest ways to have a more eco-friendly home.

1. Make use of design

If you are lucky enough to be building a new home, or renovating your existing one, making use of clever design can create an eco-friendly home that will be more comfortable and healthier to boot. Enlist the help of an architect who is experienced in designing sustainable houses.

Positioning your home so you can make the most of the winter sun can help to warm your home naturally. You can also use planting, blinds/shades, or ventilaton to help control the heat over the summer months. Installing solar panels can make a huge difference to the amount of energy that your home uses though the initial outlay can be costly.

Where possible, use salvaged materials when building for a more sustainable approach.

2. Insulate

Reducing your energy consumption through the use of insulation and double glazing will be one of the biggest eco-friendly changes you can make. You can also use thermal curtains to keep the heat in (or out) more efficiently.

3. Heat efficiently

A blanket, thick socks and a sturdy disposition may be all you need to get through a harsh winter, but it’s a lot more practical and comfortable to use efficient heating. Modern log burners using wood from a renewable source can result in zero net carbon emissions. With a wetback to heat the water they are even more energy efficient. Heat pumps and pellet fires are also efficient methods of heating.

4. Save energy

Using LED lightbulbs and turning off lights when not in use is a simple step to reduce your energy usage (and save yourself some money). When purchasing new appliances, always look for the energy star rating. Don’t forget to turn off appliances and chargers that are not in use.

Once you’ve finished cooking the dinner, pop the baking in the already warm oven and save on having to pre-heat the oven. If you only need to cook a small amount of food, it’s more energy efficient to use a microwave or small toaster oven than to heat up a full size oven.

Washing your laundry in cold water and line-drying will also make a big difference. Also consider reducing the amount of washing that you do. Does that pair of jeans that you wore for one day really need washing?

5. Reduce water usage

Did you know that only around 1% of the earth’s water is drinkable? Water is Earth’s most important resource. Reducing your home’s water usage can be taken up by the whole family. Choose to shower instead of running a bath and keep showers short. A low-flow shower head and utilising the half-flush on the toilet cistern can also help to save water.

Having a water tank that collects rainwater from the spouting will provide you with water for your veggie patch. Fix leaking taps and running toilets and don’t leave taps running when brushing teeth or washing dishes. Use a bucket when washing the car instead of a hose and only run the dishwasher or washing machine when full.

6. Shop smarter

The single-use plastic shopping bag ban is in place so we should all be getting used to using reusable shopping bags. You can also buy reusable produce bags. Now supermarkets, butchers, bakers and other food establishments are starting to also allow customers to bring in their own containers to reduce the amount of plastic and waste that is created. Buying in bulk also helps to reduce packaging.

Also consider:

  • Ecostore makes it easy to choose eco-friendly body care and home cleaning products that are better for the environment and your health
  • Reusable straws are available in stainless steel or there are compostable options
  • Bamboo toothbrushes are compostable
  • Use a razor that can be refilled with new blades
  • Buy compostable dog poop bags, rubbish bags, etc
  • Stainless steel clothes pegs last longer than plastic ones
  • Instead of liquid soap, choose bars of soap
  • Meal plan and shop from a list to avoid overbuying
  • Buy eggs from farmers/locals and reuse egg cartons
  • It is possible to buy milk in reusable glass bottles in some parts of the country
  • Buy recycled toilet paper or even tree-free toilet paper
  • When shopping online look for retailers who offer eco-friendly packaging

7. Reduce waste

Think about the life span of what you buy and how you can reuse things when they are no longer suitable for purpose. Or better yet, consider if you already have something that could be repurposed to do the job? If you have no use for something, consider donating it to a community group.

Although it isn’t possible to recycle everything through your local council collection, there are lots of recycling schemes for items including mobile phones, electronics, coffee capsules, toothpaste tubes and more. Find out about some of these schemes at TerraCycle.

You can also:

  • Compost food scraps
  • Get bills by email/online
  • Use washable cloths instead of paper towels to clean up the kitchen
  • Use a reusable water bottle
  • Bento boxes are great for litterless school lunches
  • Use silicone baking mats instead of baking paper
  • Make your own sauces
  • Bake bread at home to save on plastic bags and tags
  • Grow your own veggies, fruit and herbs and join a local collective to share produce you don’t need
  • Bake your own cakes, biscuits, and sweet treats
  • Reduce your food waste
  • Use cloth nappies, menstrual cups, washable breast pads and panty liners

Helpful resources

These websites are full of helpful tips and information on being greener.

What can you do around your home to make it more eco-friendly?

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her world julieWritten by Julie Scanlon for ecostore

Julie is Editor for Kidspot NZ and our MVP. Her hobbies include laughing uncontrollably at her own jokes, annoying her family by asking questions about movie plots, and never taking anything too seriously. She speaks a little Spanish and a lot of Yorkshire. 

Favourite motto to live by: “It ain’t nothing but a thing”

8 Comments

  1. MuddledUpMolly 30/09/2019 at 12:52 pm

    Many of these great tips we have or still use in our life. Our home is an old 110+ year homestead so we are about to have it fully insulated in the ceiling and underground which will hopefully make the place warmer. We also use low energy light bulbs and appliances. We put out a small rubbish bin fortnightly which I think is impressive considering we have a baby in disposable nappies, we do a lot in the way of reducing and recycling.

  2. Alezandra 29/09/2019 at 11:08 pm

    All our topics for a more eco-friendly living is so inspiring. I’ve always been looking for ways to recycle as well as save energy. LED lights are the best, I didn’t used to think that it matters. I used to think straws are just part of everyday living but now I’ve switched to using stainless straws and I feel icky now with seeing plastic straws when dining out.

  3. SarahBlair 26/09/2019 at 1:44 pm

    We have just bought a big, old FREEZING house in Southland that we are slowly trying to renovate so these tips are great, ther is open fire places in a lot of the rooms but we arent allowed to use them and its really cold!! I will show my husband this and use a lot of these ideas!

  4. gcnz02 24/09/2019 at 12:22 am

    Even better than buying in bulk for Ecostore is refilling containers on dish washing liquid and other cleaning products, and shampoo if you want to, Bin Inn and Common Sense Organic stores have Ecostore refill stations. Ekko Naturals in Upper Hutt has other brands. We get milk delivered in glass by Eketahuna Country Meats, they take away the empty bottles to reuse, the milk is the best.
    It’s frustrating seeing workmates and others constantly getting takeaways in plastic containers or coffee cups that aren’t recyclable. Support places that allow own containers (eg Little India) or use eco packaging.

  5. Micht 23/09/2019 at 2:45 pm

    I must agree… a few changes here and there makes a big difference to savings and protecting the environment… we use LED bulbs and find they last longer as well as save on energy… reducing water usage, washing clothes on a cold water cycle in machine, using recyclable store bags and reusable razor blades…getting there with everything else..

  6. Shorrty4life1 10/09/2019 at 8:56 pm

    We live in a caravan. We could probably use eco bulbs for lighting. We could also use razors where you just replace the blades as we are always using disposal shavers. And I feel we could have less water waste also. Some of the things I’m yet to accomplish.

  7. Bevik1971 09/09/2019 at 4:19 pm

    We live in a small apartment in the middle of town so can’t do the outside compost etc BUT I have purchased a small benchtop compost bin with compostable bags – honestly it is the best buy I have made in a long time!! Highly recommend one of these!! All the food scraps can go in there and once full it’s bundled up and I give it to my friend who has an outside compost 🙂 Much better for our house and much better for the environment. No smelly food scrap smells at all either!! 🙂

  8. dawnblyth 06/09/2019 at 12:33 pm

    I have just started, after watching 3 eco smart friends, putting a food scraps bin on my bench. We just use an ice cream container, but others have special rubbish bins for food scraps, and all our food scraps from meals and lunch boxes go into the container then into the green waste bin for collection. One friend who does this has just recently purchased a worm farm, so she feeds her scraps to the worms!
    We use an enviromentally friendly dishwasher powder for our dishwasher.
    I use cold water washes for my laundry and dry outside when and where I can.
    We have eco smart light bulbs in most light fittings in the house.
    We have a heatpump for heating – it is turned on and off only as needed and we only heat the living areas. In the bedrooms we have extra blankets on our beds, socks on our feet and on those extra cold nights the two boys take a hot water bottle to bed.
    We use reusable bags for all our shopping and for our fruit and vegetables (when I remember to take the fruit bags!)
    If you can afford to, when buying new appliances, I think its great to be able to buy an energy efficient appliance. This will help long term.
    Lots of ways you can be eco friendly without costing too much.

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