The call to switch to a greener and more environment-friendly lifestyle or way of living has been growing stronger as more and more nations feel the adverse effects of severe weather conditions due to climate change.
Pollution and waste problems as well as global warming and the disasters caused by it are no longer just a concern of academicians, and of the political and business leaders of developed countries but of each and every one of us regardless of the nation or sector where we belong to. We each have a personal responsibility to take care of our environment and such responsibility begins at the basic level of our society - the household level.
So how can we move and switch to a greener lifestyle and make our homes a friend to the environment? Here are some simple and green home improvement ideas that can make your home look and feel good without hurting the environment.
Home decors and furniture made of synthetic and non-organic materials may contain toxins, allergens, and chemicals that can be harmful to you and your family’s health. When looking for items and accessories to decorate your home with, consider using items that are made of natural and organic materials, which are toxin- and chemical-free.
Not only will you make your home more environment-friendly, you can also have your peace of mind knowing that your home is a safe place for you and your family to live in.
LET NATURAL LIGHT IN
Lighting is a basic component of home improvement and a more environment-friendly way of lighting your home is to let natural light in. You may do this by placing or arranging your fixtures and furniture in ways that won’t block the sunlight coming through your windows or by using window treatments that would allow you to control the amount of light coming in.
You may also consider using cost-effective LED or light-emitting diode bulbs, which can last long without consuming too much electricity. Another option would be to install solar-powered lamps or bulbs, which you can use to light up your home’s exterior during night time.
GROW MORE PLANTS AND TREES
Due to our changing climate, we are prone to experiencing scorching hot summers and freezing cold winters. This causes us to rely more and more on our heaters and air-conditioners for comfort.
Consequently, our electrical consumption increases, which then worsens our global warming problems.
So, what home improvement ideas can we take to keep our homes comfortable without consuming too much electricity and spending too much for it, and, more importantly, without contributing to global warming?
One of the things that you can do is to grow more plants and trees in your garden or backyard. Greening your surroundings will not only lessen the pollution around you but also improve the quality of the air that you breathe in. Trees also provide shades, which can keep you cool during summer season, and help control floods during rainy seasons.
Moreover, having ornamental plants in and outside your home increases your home’s aesthetic value and makes the home look a lot more fresh and welcoming.
If you don’t have a garden or a backyard or if it’s not too big enough to grow trees, a practical option or alternative is to use pots or vertical plant boxes in which you can grow herbs and other plants that don’t require too much space. Not only will you have a free source of herbs for your cooking needs, you can also maximize your space and inspire others who have limited space but would like to help the environment.
BASK IN THE SUN
Why stay indoors when you have an available space outdoors, where you can bask in the sun, play with your kids, and have a weekend barbecue party with your family? While most home improvement ideas focus mainly on renovating or redesigning a home’s interior, making use of and improving our outdoor space for our family’s enjoyment and recreational activities is just as important and rewarding.
Setting-up a garden would be an ideal use for your outdoor space. Not only will creating and tending a garden be a good work-out and form of exercise for you, it can also be a good way to encourage your family to spend some quality time outside your home. A quaint garden would also be a good place to entertain guests and to spend some quiet time while reading a good book and having a cup of coffee or tea.
DECORATE FOR ALL SEASONS
Changing your decorations every time the season changes can be costly and taxing. One of the options that you may consider to always keep your home’s design or style in season without spending too much on shopping for new item is to use home accessories that are flexible and may be used for all seasons. An example of this is a removable window screen, which you can mount on your windows to keep you warm during winter season, and which you can remove during summer to let air into your home. Doing this won’t only help you save money and electricity; it will also keep you from frequently disposing of things and contributing to our worsening waste problems.
REDUCE, RE-USE, RECYCLE
This is a very popular mantra of environment protection advocates, and is a principle that homeowners may apply when planning for home improvement projects.
Before throwing into waste home decors, pieces of furniture and other items, take some time to sort your things and set aside those that may still be used and recycled. To avoid piling up clutters in your home, take your recyclables to a Material Recovery Facility (MRF) or, if you have artistic ideas, think of ways to turn your recyclables into a work of art, which you can display in your home.
Although items made of natural materials are usually more expensive than their synthetic counterparts, they can turn out to be more cost-effective in the long run since you can use them for a long time and won’t need to spend for repairs or replacements every so often.