Practicing environmental sustainability is everybody’s responsibility. Luckily, you can make a meaningful difference as an individual. There are certainly well-known sustainability practices, like reducing plastic waste and reusing paper whenever possible.
However, many people aren’t aware that they can adapt their homes to be more sustainable. In most cases, the improvements you can make don’t require costly professional contractors or a lot of expensive specialized equipment. A little research, planning, and creativity can take you a long way.
Energy efficiency is one of the most powerful ways you can make a difference in your home. This is because the overuse of energy has a range of impacts on the environment.
The good news is that there are various DIY projects you can use to improve your home’s energy efficiency while also reducing your household energy costs. Some of these are relatively simple. For instance, plugging your electronic devices into surge protectors and power bars allows you to mitigate the potential for items to keep pulling electricity while in standby mode.
One of your primary focuses for improving energy efficiency should be your windows. A significant amount of air and heat is lost through poorly sealed panes and frames. If you’re uncertain whether you need to make improvements here, there is a relatively simple test. Light a candle and move around near the edges of the window. If smoke is drawn to a specific area of the glass, this indicates leakage. You can then seal these points with acrylic caulk or add new internal weather stripping.
Practicing sustainability isn’t just about looking for problem areas and fixing them, though. You can also make upgrades to your home that improve the positive impact you’re having on the ecosystem. This doesn’t have to be a huge renovation, like installing a geothermal heating system. Smaller updates to outdated items can have a cumulative effect on the environment.
You can start by focusing on sustainable home upgrades that don’t require a large budget. One of the most simple options here is going through your home and replacing any incandescent light bulbs with light-emitting diode (LED) versions. These both reduce energy consumption and last longer, helping to reduce waste since they don’t need frequent replacements. Fitting a low-flow showerhead in your bathroom can also significantly reduce water consumption.
If you’re feeling a little more ambitious, it can be worth spending a few hours on the weekend upgrading your attic insulation. Utilize products that not only mitigate energy loss but are also produced from eco-friendly materials. Cellulose, cork, and even denim are currently used as green insulation products. Avoid using toxic chemicals in your home and opt for safer, homemade alternatives.
One of the first steps people take when deciding to go green is to adopt sustainability practices into their lives. However, there are always improvements you and your family can make here, even if you’ve already adopted sustainable practices.
If you have a little extra space in your home, you can create a home recycling center. A portion of your garage, utility room, or kitchen could be perfect for this. This project is largely about making the organization of recyclable materials easier for every member of your family so they’re more likely to maintain good practices.
If you have an old cabinet, you can adapt it to be a useful frame for this center that also matches your decor. Create drawers, tops, or boxes from waterproof material and label them for different types of recyclable objects. Place these within your cabinet and encourage your family to dispose of their trash appropriately. This also makes it easier for you to transport items to the relevant local recycling area.
Your DIY upgrades don’t need to be limited to the inside of your home, either. You can update aspects of your yard to make for a greener home. One of the most accessible ways to adopt solar power is to create a ground-mounted solar panel array. You can either buy a panel frame or build one from wood; either way, the key is to make sure you place them in a space that gets unobstructed sunlight. On a smaller scale, installing native plants in your yard attracts and feeds pollinators that are essential to the continued health of the planet.
Outside of the home, it may be the case that you’re already composting or cultivating a sustainable garden. But you can push this further by collecting rainwater to nourish your plants rather than putting pressure on reservoirs. This is a relatively simple DIY project. An old trash barrel tends to be the perfect vessel for collection. Attach a screen to the mouth of the barrel to prevent insect contamination and breeding and drill a hole near the top of the can for overflow purposes. Mounting the can to some wooden blocks can prevent it from blowing over during storms.
If you have a spare few hours on the weekend, some DIY projects can help ensure your home has a positive impact on the environment. Look at fixing issues that result in energy inefficiency. Making small upgrades to your lighting, bathroom, and yard can make a cumulative difference. Projects that optimize your current sustainability efforts can help you get more from your actions. Everybody has a responsibility to mitigate the damage to our planet. Throwing some DIY projects into the mix can make the process even more rewarding.