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There’s No Better Time To Go Green

06 Mar 2014

Tips & Advice

There's No Better Time To Go Green

Sustainable living is no longer a quaint hippie lifestyle, but a responsible choice that every homeowner should consider and commit to, budget permitting. Here, we share some general guidelines for greening your home.

The trend – fast becoming the norm – among enlightened homeowners is to choose designs that are aesthetically pleasing while complying with the principles of economic, social and ecological sustainability. The objective of choosing sustainable deigns is, of course, to minimise and control existing damage to the environment and so lessen the negative impact on future generations. Call it a responsibility to our children, our grandchildren, the entire human race and all the species that share our planet.

When striving for a sustainable home, keep these guidelines in mind.

Select Your Materials Carefully

Make sure that the wood from which your furniture is made has been harvested from plantations cultivated in compliance with sustainable forestry practices. Plastics should be low- or zero-VOC and BPA-free. Metals should contain no lead, mercury or toxic substances. Paints used should be low- or zero-VOC.

Buy for the Long Run

Avoid faddish impulse buys and seek out furniture you can see yourself growing old with. Check the durability and the safety of your intended purchases. An impulse buy of an item on offer, at the tail-end of a trend, is not a good buy.

Seek Out Recycled and Upcycled Products

Track down cool, quirky homewares made from recycled and upcycled materials. ‘Industrial chic’ is a trend that looks like hanging around. Tables made from workshop benches, furniture made from old railway sleepers and salvaged wooden boats, décor items made from driftwood – you can find all these and more by trawling the Internet for eco-chic furniture.

Health Matters

The average home is a minefield of potential health hazards. Carpets and curtains can accumulate dust, mattresses can become breeding grounds for bed bugs, and painted surfaces can produce toxic fumes. Clean thoroughly and frequently – making sure that your cleaning solutions are not health hazards in themselves (read the labels!) – and choose only items made from safe materials.

Choose Energy-efficient Lightbulbs and Appliances

Go easy on your pocket and the planet by using LED lighbulbs and energy-efficient home appliances. They may cost a little more initially, but the savings on your utilities bills will soon cover the purchase price many times over.

Air conditioners and refrigerators are typical energy-guzzlers, and the difference in consumption between old and new models is often quite dramatic. Also, take note to ensure that when using an aircon, the door is closed to confine the cool air to the room that is occupied. And instead of cranking up the aircon, remove a layer of clothing. Similarly, make sure your fridge is not located too close to the wall, as this inhibits the performance of the condenser coils and causes the motor to labour.

Support Eco-friendly Manufacturers

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Research brands’ environmental policies and buy only from those that avoid contributing to deforestation, depletion of the ozone layer or environmental degradation in any form. Eventually, if we all boycott irresponsible brands they’ll lose market share and go out of business.

Grow Your Own Greens

Finally, if you have a handkerchief-sized patch of garden, a balcony or even a windowsill, flex your green thumb and grow your own herbs and veggies. You’ll know exactly what went into the food you serve your family – or didn’t.

So, heed this sage advice and commit to greening your home. Very soon, the grass will be greenest right under your feet.

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