Must it always be a choice between what you want and what’s good for you? Being environmentally-conscious can be hard sometimes, but it doesn’t have to come down to living with a home that is aesthetically shocking. By using sustainable materials and smart energy-saving techniques, you can effectively spruce up your home and lessen the environmental impact it has on the earth.
Outside the Home
The key here is insulation. By properly insulating your house, you can greatly reduce your energy requirements, which helps to save you money as well as reducing your carbon footprint. Obviously the optimum solution is to hire an energy expert when you’re designing your home so you can install the correct level of building shell insulation, but if your property has already been built you can still talk to the experts to find out what can be applied.
There are multitudes of energy-saving options and many of them are also eco-friendly, involving long-wearing or natural materials being installed in your house. Cool roofs, double-glazed windows, and radiant barriers can all reduce solar heat transfer, while double-glazed windows, partitioned rooms and sealed doors will help to keep a house warm in colder climates.
Inside the Home
It’s natural to be a little apprehensive about applying sustainable principles to your home. After all, green is great, but not if the chair collapses underneath you! It might reassure you to know that sustainable materials can be some of the most durable and hard-wearing substances in the world. They’re also much more inclined to feel natural and lend elegance to the room.
One of the quickest ways to change the feel of a room is to change your window dressing. The correct form of blinds or curtains can assist with energy-saving measures, and there’s a large range of colours and materials available so you can brighten even the dullest of rooms.
Great materials to think about include natural wood, bamboo, marble and stone. Your floor and furniture should be the right mix of durable and recyclable and if possible, you should think about purchasing your pieces second-hand. There’s a great community of interior designers out there who love to adapt recycled materials like old tyres and whiskey barrels into quirky furnishings.
You might also consider purchasing modular furniture, that is, furniture which can be transformed by moving parts and used for more than one purpose. There are incredible designs that function as couches, beds, bookshelves, ottomans, tables and more – all with the one set. Purchasing this kind of furniture means you reduce the overall number of pieces you require. Combine this with buying modular furniture made of 100% recycled and recyclable material and you’re onto an eco-friendly winner!
Finally, when you’re thinking about interior accessories, you should consider the fact that these will be discarded more readily and more often than furniture. Invest in one or two pieces made from a strong material like marble or stone, and the rest can be comprised of materials like clay vases, wicker, river rocks and branches. Get creative and lend a touch of the wilderness to your living room!
Kate Lee is a freelance writer who specialises in environmentally-friendly solutions for the home. In her spare time, she writes for Susan-Hopkins.com as well as various renovation websites.