When it is hot, it is scorching hot. When it rains, it can go on for days. We may call the weather weird, but the truth is, the earth is going through changes caused by unwise management of our home planet. So what is to be done? It is time to look at how to make our homes more eco-friendly. To be more specific, how to ensure our HDB units cause more good to the environment than the harm that will promote sustainable living in our Singapore neighborhood. That is what we will find out. Be surprised that it does need a hefty investment.
Two Layers of curtains
Curtains play a big part in keeping the heat out and allowing light to come in. Though there are currently no curtains that do both simultaneously, you can opt to get two layers of curtains - one lighter, thinner linen layer and another thicker, blackout curtain.
But if possible, don’t leave your windows bare. Curtains help set the temperature and lighting at home sans electricity. When it is scorching hot outside, draw the blackout curtains to keep the heat out. Let the fan run and the heat will not be overwhelming.
When it is cool and bright, let the sun in so you will not need to switch on the lights. It is great for houseplants too!
You might have heard about how light-emitting diodes (LEDs) can save a lot more electricity than the usual light bulbs but have you made the change? Take a tour around your very familiar home and get to know your lighting. Have they been changed to their LED counterparts?
According to the United States Department of Energy, these LEDs are gems that conserve 75% of electricity and last 25 times longer than classic bulbs. Most importantly, it is not just about the money you save by reducing your electricity consumption, but the reduction of toxic fumes released by power plants.
Bin It Right
Let us be honest, it can be a drag to separate the recyclables if you are not accustomed to it. The mind wants to do it, but the body, too lazy!
But having a recycling bin in the home works as a reminder for you to separate your waste accordingly. But let us go further than just the usual glass, aluminium, paper and plastic - how about a compost bin?
Before you go “Eeek, I don’t want unpleasant smells in my house,” hold on a minute. There are no-smell compost bins that you can start with that will turn your food scraps into good earth!
This brings us to the next point…
Start a Balcony Garden
If you have a balcony, you can start a herb garden. For those who don’t, a window garden is sufficient too. You can be more eco-friendly by breathing new life into your balcony or window - not to mention it is a natural air cleaner too.
There is always space for plants to thrive in a home. Consider growing edibles. You can grow them from seed or buy the ones that are already in pots. Our suggestion? Try growing chillies, basil, spring onions, ginger, garlic, mint, rosemary and oregano.
First, you don’t have to travel to the closest supermarket when you need a sprig of these herbs and its nature's gift to you for caring for the plant. The compost from the point above is non-toxic feed for your plants, so you know your edibles are organic.
Use Eco-Friendly Cleaning Tools
Did you know that many of the cleaning agents we use contain harmful chemicals harmful to humans and our pets? Products from detergent, dishwashing liquids and even soaps are not good for us.
One way to reduce the use of chemicals (because when we wash these items, it goes down into the drain and messes up the ecosystem somewhere down the line) is to use eco-friendly cleaning tools. Look for non-synthetic ingredients you can use. There are micro-fibre clothes that can rid of oil and grease, essential oils that naturally clean the house and leave it smelling amazing and also steam cleaners that use only water to kill bacteria and viruses.
Buy Pre-Loved Furnishings
With Carousell, Facebook Marketplace and other websites that sell pre-loved or refurbished furnishings, it is a wonder why people are not using these platforms more often.
We are not suggesting that everything in your home be decorated with pre-loved furnishings, but having a few can change the way your home looks. It also will reduce the production and processing of new furnishings that may have taken part in a not so eco-friendly cycle. Often, old items prove to be hardier and of good quality, not to mention most of them are going for a cheaper price.
Install Low-Flow Toilet
Some of you may already have this installed, but if you don’t, do consider getting a dual-flush toilet. A dual-flush toilet has two buttons - one smaller than the other, bigger. When you push the smaller button, only three litres of water will be released, as compared to the bigger button that releases 4.5 litres.
Depending on the “business” transpired within the private “hall”, having the option to choose the suitable flush proportion will help preserve water, cutting water costs.
Reducing water does not only help keep our pockets full, but it reduces the energy used to process water. When less energy is used, pollution is reduced!
Now you may think, these are just small gestures that will not affect the earth. A contribution so minuscule surely cannot change the course of the earth’s destruction, right?
We think everyone plays a part, and no matter how small you think your contribution is, we are happy to tell you that it matters. If you are looking to green your house but need a little bit of help, speak to any of the interior designers and handymen listed on Renodots.
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