In Spain we consume 142 liters of water per inhabitant/day and each home emits 12.5 tons of CO2/year. Our daily routines take a heavy toll on the environment and to make our home most ecological is not so difficult.
If you want to make your home a sustainable place, we’ll give you a series of recommendations in our next post to help you achieve this in a few steps.
1.Switch off (all) domestic appliances
We very often have the bad habit of leaving all our electronic devices in ‘standby’, you know, the infamous little red light on. It’s more convenient, for example, in the case of our TV where all we have to do is hit the button on the remote to switch it on, without having to physically switch appliance on or off, meaning we consume 14% more electricity.
2.Just enough fresh foods (perishables)
Buying frozen or longlasting products helps reduce the number of times we go to the supermarket. However, their origin is not the most sustainable, since many of them include chemical substances to increase their durability and the majority are packaged.
Local stores and fresh produce make sure that we protect the environment every time we eat, not to mention only buying the amount we’re going to consume. Let’s not forget that according to the latest report from the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture and Environment that here in Spain we throw 3.7 million tons/day of food into the trash.
3.Plan B for detergents
Cleaning products are necessary to maintain your home’s salubriousness; however, their production and above all throwing them down the drain has an impact on ecosystems. There are natural products like: vinegar, salt, lemon juice or hydrogen peroxide which you can use to make non-contaminating soaps and detergents, which are just as efficient.
4.Save on lighting… and cold
Occasionally, certain initial investment mean a large saving in the medium and long term, not only for your pocket but also the environment. Double glazing with sealed joins, for example, may mean a reduction of 50% in heating. You should also know that LED lightbulbs last much longer than conventional ones; up to 70,000 hours plus they don’t contain any toxic substances. They’re a little more expensive but in the long term they mean less expense for both you and the planet.
5.Without going to extremes: readjusting thermostats
We very often make unnecessary use of air-conditioning systems. We believe the function of air-conditioning is to cool a room and that heating means we can walk around in short sleeves however cold it is outside. But that’s not true.
Air-conditioning set at 25ºC is capable of cooling a room, while heating set at 21ºC can warm one. As for hot water, 35ºC is sufficient for a comfortable shower. By the way, you can save tens of liters of water by turning the faucet off while you soap up.
6.Hacks for green ‘cooks’
Something so routine as cooking can very harmful for the environment. By making a few minor changes in your habits that you’ll hardly notice in your daily life, will make you a much more sustainable cook. For example, by using a pressure cooker regularly you’ll save time and energy. When you want to defrost some food, think ahead, and instead of using the microwave or hot water, take it out of the freezer a few hours earlier or the day before. And, when using the oven, open it as little as possible, because every time you open the door, the over drops approx. 20ºC so it requires more energy to compensate.
7.Furniture – better ecological
When furnishing a home, we always think about esthetics and functionality, but never about the composition and origin of the objects. Materials and paints, apart from emitting harmful gases in some cases, they may have had a huge impact on the environment during their manufacture. A good option is to always choose natural wood and pigments, whose origin from sustainable forests is accredited.
We hope you’ll find these guidelines useful when making your home a sustainable space.