Energy efficiency and sustainability is the way of the future, and aside from such important things like investing in renewable energy and choosing a responsible energy retailer, there are many interesting DIY ideas to consider. Some of these ideas are quick and easy, some are quirky and interesting, and some are really out there. Read through them and eco-fuel your imagination.
Natural Home Cooling
Many Australians rely on air conditioning systems to keep cool in the summer months, and though they are a mainstay, they use heaps of energy. Natural cooling is the solution, and it can be highly effective if you focus on the roof and the exterior. Roof insulation keeps heat in during the winter, but it also keeps heat out during the summer. Roof vents help to increase circulation, and they are cheap and simple to install. Reflective barriers can be installed on the roof rafters. From trees, shrubs and vines on the outside to blinds, drapes and fabrics on the inside, the important thing is to block and reflect as much sunlight as possible before it is absorbed by walls and enters the home.
Grow Your Own Food
Growing a few vegetables in a patch of garden or rented farming space is highly sustainable, great for saving money on shopping and reduces your dependency on industrial farming practises. The farming industry is actually one of the biggest causes of environmental damage, so the less dependent you are the better.
Green Cleaning Products
There are many green recipes for making your own home cleaning products, and for most of your everyday cleaners like kitchen cleaners, degreasers, soaps and detergents, you only need a few basic ingredients like baking soda, essential oils, citrus, vegetable oils and hydrogen peroxide. Chances are you already have the ingredients stored away already, and if not, it is much cheaper to buy them than expensive (and often unsustainable) cleaning products.
Rainwater harvesting reduces your dependency on mains water for things like garden irrigation. There are a plethora of different rainwater collection choices, and the easiest choice is to connect a water tank to your guttering with downpipes and filters. If you are willing to spend more money you can invest in a below ground storage system, and if you want to use this water in the home, there are a range of passive (gravity feed) and pumped water feeding systems.
Elect for Green Power
Thanks to modern electricity retailers you are only a few steps away from switching a portion your electricity to a renewable source. All you have to do is elect how much of your electricity you want to be sourced from renewable energy sources – from 10% up to 100% – for a small extra charge each week.
What ideas do you have for a sustainable and environmentally friendly home?
David from AP&G offers education for consumers across Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland who want a greener way of living and fairer deals on their power.