Creating an Eco-friendly Home
This month our focus will be on adopting the habit of creating an eco-friendly home. Our environment is linked to our health. If you’re not taking care of it, it will eventually suffer. And the same thing happens to your home if you don’t take care of the environment indoors. When talking about our homes, we often focus on making them livable (and comfortable) spaces for us and our loved ones. Homes that fit our style and make a statement about who we are.
But what statement or impact do our spaces make on the world around us? When we create a sustainable space that minimizes its impact on our environment, we’re also creating an eco-friendly home that improves your quality of life and helps protect the planet for future generations.
In this episode, we go over the importance of creating an eco-friendly home and some tips on how you can start living sustainably (wherever you call home) today.
We spend 62% of our waking time at home – if you’re like me and started working from home, that number might look much higher. One of the things I’ve realized in the past few years is how much our physical space can affect us mentally. So if our home is healthy, functional, and sustainable, we are more likely to be healthy, happy, and sustainable, which pours out positively into other aspects of our lives when we are not home.
Creating an Eco-Friendly Home
Using responsible products
When it comes to creating an eco-friendly home, there are many ways to make a difference. One of the best and easiest ways to start immediately is by being conscious of your existing products, and when it’s time, begin to replace them with more responsible options. For example, choosing cleaning products free of harsh chemicals and fragrances will help reduce the waste you generate and keep harmful toxins out of your home environment.
Similarly, switching up the materials used in your cleaning tools can significantly impact resource conservation. From the appliances you choose to even seemingly small changes like using reusable rags instead of paper towels or relying on refillable or DIY cleaning bottles can help significantly reduce water usage and plastic pollution, save excessive waste from going to a landfill, and even save you time and money – which some would say is the most important resources of all.
When you buy something less frequently (because it lasts longer) or don’t need as much (because it doesn’t break down into waste as fast or you realize you don’t need as much as you were using), then naturally, those costs go down too!
So you’ll be acting kinder to yourself and our planet overall. I’ll link a few other episodes in the episode description where I go into more detail about swaps and benefits of healthier products for your home, so I highly recommend checking those out again or listening for the first time if you haven’t!
Weatherization and energy conservation
The second most accessible way to have an eco-friendly home is to consider weatherization and energy conservation. These two go hand in hand because weatherization protects a building and its interior from the elements and modifies a building (or home) to reduce energy consumption and optimize energy efficiency.
Weatherization and energy conservation tools can help reduce your energy bill (saving energy and money) and conserve precious natural resources like coal, natural gas, and water.
Here are some easy examples of how you can start making your home eco-friendly today:
- Install curtains on windows that face the sun in the summer to help keep the sun’s heat out and reduce the need for AC, and open them up in the winter to let the sun heat your home without having to crank your heater. Even using thick rugs or carpets will help insulation.
- You can cover cracks around windows and doors. If they aren’t evident, the trick to identify leaking points is turning on your exhaust fans and holding up a lit incense stick to potential problem areas. If the smoke blows in one direction, you’ve got a draft that needs fixing! Something as simple as a cylindrical pillow door stopper can help draft from doors and windows.
- You can put a timer on your lamps or lights or swap your light switches. That way, they turn off automatically after a certain period, so if you leave it on by accident, you’re safe knowing it will turn off.
Weatherization can be done on a large or small scale, depending on your needs. You can do it yourself, hire a professional, or get help from local organizations. And in some states, you may qualify to get weatherization assistance for free, so do a quick google search and see what you find! Weatherization is an excellent way for any homeowner or renter looking for ways to reduce energy costs and consumption in their homes!
Construction of your home
The next aspect is the construction of a home. While you can create a healthy home after you’re already living, there is excellent and the only option for many people who rent – but there are ways we can construct eco-friendly homes, so they work even better for us and make less of an impact on the environment. That’s from the design to the materials to the appliances. But I’m saving that topic for next week so be sure to tune in to hear some cool examples of eco-friendly houses!
Sustainable Home interior
And past the construction phase, you can choose to decorate in a way that still shows who you are while being sustainable. I love this definition of a sustainable interior from Laura Hodges Design Studio that says “A sustainable interior is really about knowing what you’re buying; knowing where you’re buying it from; being thoughtful about where you’re buying it from; and making sure the people who are making it for you are being paid properly and are not working in bad conditions. It’s also about being a little more thoughtful and trying not to go into “fast” home furnishings—which is like “fast fashion,” where the thought of “I’ll just buy a new one in a few years” creates a disposable mindset.”
Instead, we can find completely unique, handmade, or secondhand things that fit your style without being brand new and will last longer than other “new” or trendy options. I remind myself of that if I’m walking through Target because many home items that look great aren’t meant to last and aren’t very sustainable.
Incorporate other sustainable habits
You can also create an eco-friendly home by incorporating some of the other habits we’ve worked on this year, like practicing better waste management, composting, and having healthier food habits.
A healthier lifestyle for people and the planet.
Creating a healthier home atmosphere is beneficial for your health and the planet. You can reduce the harmful effects of toxic substances. You can reduce the use of natural resources. You can improve the quality of your life at home through improved design and habits, which has a domino effect on your overall happiness and well-being and puts another piece in your sustainable living puzzle.
Many people think that an individual can’t make a difference. But consistent changes to our everyday life do add up in a big way, and there’s no better way to start than at home. You can act as a role model for friends, neighbors, and family, so they might be willing to adopt some of these habits, which would make the rewards on Hometown: Earth even greater!
Something to grow on
I want to wrap up by getting you to think about what your home means or what you’d like it to be. I can tell you to weatherize and make sustainable choices all day – but it’s really up to you to connect WHY that’s so important to you.
Do you want a space that leaves you healthier and rejuvenated after you’re in it?
Do you want a space that encourages you to make better choices in all aspects of your life because you’re inspired and clear-minded?
Do you want a space where your senses can truly interact with the world around you? One that comes from plants and texture and true scents from the earth, not some artificial lemon freshener or candle?
There’s a book I love, ‘the sensual home’ by Ilse Crawford, that talks about how we have prioritized convenience and technology at the deprivation of our senses – causing us to live unhappy lives – unsustainable lives if you will. Slowing down and caring for our home and what we use in it can be a life-changing form of self-care and, ultimately, planetary care.
I’ll leave you with a passage from the book that says,
“Home, sweet home: sweet to look at, listen to, to touch, smell, and taste. The home is our emotional heartland, a place where the rhythm of events is under our control, a potential pleasure zone for our sensuous being… As modern life threatens to become increasingly standardized, suburbanized, sanitized, unnatural, and uniformly lit, the home is, for many of us, the last bastion of the senses. It makes sense for those of us fortunate enough to have a roof over our heads to tune our home so as to involve all of our senses and restore the balance between mind and body.”
So what is your home telling you? What is it telling the world? Restore a healthy balance in your home, then you will restore the balance between your mind and body, and that connection will be reflected in the rest of the world.
Just some food for thought.
Until next time, thanks for joining me, neighbor.
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