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Eco-Friendly and Healthy Home - How to Guide

We hear a lot from experts in the media about the importance of individual efforts to positively assist the environment and to tackle climate change; while it might seem like a monumental task, there actually are a number of ways in which us as individuals can simultaneously create a better home environment for ourselves, help the planet and save money along the way. It’s a win-win for all really! 

Eco-Friendly Home

While it’s a fantastic thought that we will achieve this change for the benefit of all, it’s important to be realistic too and so even if you instigate one change a week or a month, it’s a step towards your goals. 

Here are some ideas to be more eco-friendly in your home:

1. Insulation

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) issue a range of grants to Irish homeowners (they say they’ve already issued help to over 350,000 Irish homes) in relation to insulation in the home. For example, we lose 35% of heat through the walls and even more if insulation isn’t of good quality; get in touch with the SEAI to learn more about their grant schemes and not only will your home be cosier, you will save on energy costs in the long run.

2. Lighting

  • Have a family meeting and explain your efforts to help the environment in small steps and one way even the kids can get on board is to encourage them to turn off lights when rooms aren’t in use. You’ll educate them on being environmentally responsible while helping to lower the household electricity bill. There is also the option of installing lighting timers especially for things like outdoor lighting; this could also be used as a security mechanism when you’re absent.

  • Switch to energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (widely available) which are now available to fit many light fixtures and they use just a quarter of the electricity of regular incandescent bulbs.

3. Appliances

  • As part of the second phase of your family meeting, explain that even when appliances are on stand-by mode they use valuable electricity so ask that when someone is finished with a computer, TV, chargers that they shut them down fully at the source.

  • In terms of your washing machine, dryer or dishwasher, wait for a full load before turning it on. Clear the lint filter after every dryer load to encourage drying efficiency and air-dry clothes weather permitting. Fill the kettle for the amount you will actually use.
  • Check what temperature your fridge and freezer are at so that they’re not working harder than necessary. A fridge should be at 4 degrees Celsius and your freezer should be at around -18 degrees Celsius.

4. Furniture

Invest in high quality furniture that will last a long time as opposed to “fast” furniture that isn’t durable and that will inevitably end up clogging up landfill. Where possible, try furniture that utilises reclaimed wood

Reclaimed Wood Table - Eco-Friendly

 

5. Heating

  • Solar panels are an obvious addition to your home and they can be utilised to heat your water also. Again, the SEAI provides grants for these to alleviate a portion of the costs.

  • Lowering your heating thermostat by even one degree could result in savings. Keep an eye on the weather forecast and adjust your thermostat accordingly. It will require extra effort but could be very much worth it.
  • Find sources of heat loss around the home be it the chimney or a drafty front door. Temporary fixes such as a pretty padded draft excluder for the door can be sufficient if your budget doesn’t rise to a new door.
  • Heavy curtains and blinds can work well to prevent heat loss around older windows and they can work well with your interior styling also!
  • Keeping your boiler serviced on a regular basis will increase efficiency. Older boilers (over 10 years or so) are very inefficient so you should look to replace one when your budget allows. 

6. Ecology

  • Indoor plants around the home act as natural air filters, and certain plants (e.g. spider plants, Boston ferns, rubber plants) are particularly effective absorbers of harmful pollutants emitted from carpets, and electronic equipment. They also add character and interest to your home.

  • Create a composting station outside your back door from kitchen scraps; tea bags, fruit and vegetable waste and peelings can go in. This will reduce your waste output cutting down on bin charges and reduce your landfill contribution.

7. Water

  • Each washing cycle uses more than 90 litres of water so only use your washing machine when it’s full but don’t overfill or it will not work efficiently.

  • A 5 minute shower uses about 50% less water than the average bath so encourage everyone in the house to use the shower as opposed to the bath. 
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