With more people recognizing the threats of climate change, and younger, eco-conscious generations coming of age, the environment is no longer a fringe issue. We’re seeing this in several different ways: Politicians are discussing green initiatives more, consumers are indicating preferences for sustainable products, and so on. Along with these trends, we’re starting to hear more about homeowners around the world embracing a variety of sustainable ideas and practices.
The following are just a few interesting examples:
1. Turning to Natural Light
It’s no secret that many people tend to leave lights on too often and too long when they are at home. This doesn’t usually seem like a big problem in the moment, but ultimately it accounts for a fair amount of entirely unnecessary energy waste. This is why many homeowners around the world are looking for better ways to utilize natural light.
In our post about ‘Tips and Tricks for Lowering Your Energy Bill’, we mentioned that the sun could be used to invite more natural heat into the home. The same is true of light. This is leading home designers and homeowners alike, all around the world, to opt for bigger, wider windows, more versatile curtains, and more open floor plans, which let light into the home so that electrical lights simply don’t need to be on as often. In some cases, people are also making the change to “smart” lightbulbs that turn themselves off when there’s adequate natural light in a room.
2. Embracing Passive Design
Heating and cooling are also major culprits of energy waste in homes around the world. There are various ways to address problems in these areas, with the most popular perhaps being smart thermostats. However, passive design is another interesting option that we’re seeing some homeowners embrace, particularly in Australia.
A couple of years ago, News.com identified the top “power guzzlers” in Australian homes, and showed that heating and cooling used the most power. Specifically, they accounted for 38% of power use (with water heating coming closest at 25%). Perhaps it’s only natural then that the Australian housing market has brought about some particularly creative sustainable solutions. Homes to Love explained the use of passive design in Australian homes as a means of controlling temperature without electricity. It’s essentially a new way to design homes and floorplans to manage natural, solar heat — trapping it inside during the winter, and repelling it during summer.
3. Emphasizing Plumbing & Drainage Care
Heating, cooling, and lighting tend to dominate conversations about home sustainability. But water waste is also something that keeps a lot of homes from being as sustainable as they could be — particularly when there are issues of leaking or burst pipes. The UK is particularly familiar with this problem; Engineering & Technology reported on water waste just a few years ago and revealed that England and Wales were losing 3.1 billion liters of water each day.
Not all of that waste can be chalked up to homes. But it seems to have led to a greater emphasis on care for these issues in British households. HomeServe describes a range of drainage services and plumbing care options that UK homeowners can use to ensure that any problems that arise in this area can be quickly addressed. This, in turn, can help to minimize water waste from leaks and is a reasonably sustainable option for any homeowner to consider.
4. Opting for Sustainable Gardens
In some cases, we’re seeing homeowners embrace sustainability in their yards and gardens too. Canada provides a nice example in this regard, as another country known for occasional water waste. According to the Water Footprint Calculator, Canada has some of the highest water usage in the world (third behind the UAE and the U.S.). As with the UK, not all of this is due to private homes. However, it still makes sustainability efforts on this front stand out.
CBC dove into those efforts in Canadian yards and revealed a range of things that are being done to make home lawns and gardens more sustainable. Most notably, it explained that some Canadians are even installing alternative lawns, “replacing lawns with native habitats” and opting for practices like xeriscaping (or replacing grasses with more low-maintenance alternatives). These ideas have a range of environmentally beneficial effects, but primarily they reduce the need for watering.
These are just some of the ways that homeowners around the world are moving toward sustainability. The exciting thing is, this is probably only the beginning.
Article by Hillary Curtis
Written exclusively for FiltersFast.com