In this guide, we list & explain some potential sustainability tips for the home.
We cover energy/electricity, water use, waste, food, building design, & more.
1. Consider Using A Sustainable Energy Supplier
Some energy suppliers might use energy sources that are sustainable in some way, or engage in more sustainable energy practices, such as sourcing their energy from power plants fitted with eco friendly technology.
So, home owners may want to check if there are any local sustainable energy suppliers that offer a better service than their current supplier.
2. Consider Using A Renewable Energy Setup At Home
It’s not always practical or feasible to install a renewable energy setup (like solar panels) at home
Firstly, homes need to be in an area where the panels will get enough adequate sun throughout the year.
Secondly, when taking into account costs like setup/installation, maintenance, and potentially a storage battery, panels need to have a reasonable payback period.
Some home owners may find that the energy they supply, potential feed in credits (to the grid), and any grants or concession they might get from the government in their area might make a solar setup worth it, but others may not.
3. Consider Energy Efficient Fixtures, Appliances, Devices & Systems
Several fixtures, appliances, devices and systems these days come with a star rating for energy efficiency.
Usually, the more stars, the better energy efficiency.
Heating and cooling systems and also water boilers might be some of the most energy intensive systems to check.
But, appliances like ovens, fridges, freezers, etc. also use energy.
We put together a separate guide outlining some of the systems, devices and activities that might use the most electricity in the home.
For both heating and cooling the home:
For heating, we put together a guide where we outline potential tips to heat a house more sustainably.
For cooling, we put together a guide where we outline potential tips to cool a house more sustainably.
4. Consider Energy Efficient Settings, Features & Technology
Separate to the energy efficiency rating of the systems and devices themselves, their settings, features and technology can also impact how much energy they use.
Some examples of settings, features and technology to be aware of that may help conserve energy might include:
– Motion activated sensors (for lights for example)
– Smart meters
5. Consider Water Efficient Fixtures, Appliances & Systems
A very similar principle as energy use.
Most fixtures, appliances and systems in the house come with a water efficiency star rating.
Picking products and systems that are more water efficient might help with sustainable water use.
Toilets, showers, faucets, and clothes washers might be some of the main water users inside the house.
Depending on outside water requirements, hoses and sprinkler/irrigation systems can use a lot water outside the house.
We put together separate guides outlining what activities use the most water at home, and also what appliances use the most water at home.
6. Consider Water Efficient Settings, Features & Technology
Examples of settings, features and technology that might help save water might include:
– Toilets with single flush and double flush buttons
– Lower flow/lower pressure taps
7. Consider Using Water Responsibly At Home
How different systems and devices are used at home by the home owner, and how certain activities are carried out, can make a difference to water sustainability.
Ways to use water more responsibly at home might include:
– Not running water excessively when using faucets/taps
– Not having excessively long showers
– Doing fuller loads in the dishwasher and washing machine, instead of only partial loads
– Running sprinklers and hoses after the sun goes down to minimise evaporation
– Keeping sprinklers and irrigation systems properly maintained
– Washing cars with buckets of water instead of running a hose excessively
8. Be Mindful Of Water Leaks At Home
Water leaks can be responsible for a certain amount of water use in the home.
Taps/faucets, and sprinkler systems for lawns and the yard can be some of the major culprits.
It can be worth doing a water leak audit once or twice a year to identify and fix water leaks, or get someone in to fix them.
9. Consider The Role Outdoor Areas, Gardens, & Plant Life Play In Water Use At Home
The larger the outdoor area that needs water, and the more water hungry plants, lawns and other plant life outside is, the more water that will generally be used.
This might especially be true in hotter areas where evaporation is more of a problem.
These are things we identify and explain in greater depth in our guide about growing a more sustainable garden.
Indoor plants can require watering too (in addition to outdoor plants and lawns).
So, it’s worth at least considering the impact that this watering has on a home’s water footprint.
The use of swimming pools at home can also have a sustainability impact in terms of water use, energy use, and even the use of chemicals.
10. Consider Other Sustainable Products & Items In The House
There can be a sustainability footprint related to other products and items in the house, other than the ones that use electricity and water.
One example is furniture.
Some companies sell sustainable furniture made from materials like reclaimed wood, or recycled metal.
Buying secondhand furniture might also have some sustainability benefits.
Selling your unwanted furniture instead of dumping may also be more sustainable.
11. Reduce Food Waste
Food waste (and loss) is an issue in itself.
But, the food we waste at home also carries with it embodied waste, such as the waste of the water that it takes to grow/produce some foods.
Eating more of the food we buy, storing food properly at home in the fridge or freezer (or in cupboards) so it doesn’t go off, and keeping edible food as leftovers to eat later (instead of throwing out) might all be things we can do to waste less food at home.
12. Dispose Of, & Sort Waste Sustainably
This might involve sorting waste properly into:
– General waste bins
– Recycling bins
– Organic waste bins
Home compost set ups, and/or using kitchen composters may also be options for dealing with organic waste for those who can and want to try composting.
13. Consider Sustainable Cleaning
Whether you do the cleaning at home yourself, or whether you hire a cleaning service, sustainable cleaning practices and using sustainable cleaning products where practical can help make cleaning more eco friendly.
14. Consider Sustainable Home Design & Construction Where Possible
This is not always practical – it might only be possible for new home builds, and renovations or modifications to existing homes.
But, there’s several ways that building design and construction can contribute to more sustainable homes.
Using building orientation to make use of natural sunlight, using wall and roofing insulation, using windows with suitable R values, and using other sustainable building materials can all contribute to building sustainability.
Other Guides On Sustainability In The Home
Potential Ways To Keep A Sustainable Kitchen
1. Various ‘Better Meets Reality’ guides