The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space
In this massive universe, Earth is the only planet we have where life can be sustained, where humanity can move forward. Scientists are searching for new habitable places in the galaxy and there are actually a few Earth-like planets which have the potential to sustain life, it’s still this ‘Pale Blue Dot‘ where we can live and breath. Yet we are replenishing earth’s resources without any consideration, disrupting the delicate balance that exists in the planet’s climate and life systems. Climatologists suggest sustainable living on an individual and industrial level is one of the most effective ways to bring back balance in nature.
Sustainable living is a simple concept; it involves living in an intelligent way which helps to reduce energy usage. It is mostly about reducing environmental impact without sacrificing our level of comfort and saving the money in the process.
In this article we’ve listed a few useful practices that would inspire a sustainable living on this Earth.
Use energy-efficient lighting
You can’t beat the sun as a source of light. Using solar powered lighting in the garden or on pathways is a great idea. You should also consider the use of efficient globes and installation of motion sensors to turn on or off the lights as required.
Install solar powered systems
- The infinite supply of sunlight during the daytime (summer of course) is a great way to heat water in your home. It can greatly reduce water heating costs and supply between 50-90% of your hot water needs.
- Solar power systems capture the sun’s energy and convert into electricity. Once installed, solar power has low maintenance costs and provides a steady supply of electricity.
- Solar power systems are also beneficial when meeting the increasing standards of energy rating assessments.
Use public transport more often
- Public transport enormously reduces energy use, especially for car owners.
- Fuel, maintenance, and parking costs will decrease. Starting small with a few trips a week is enough to make a difference.
- If you drive, drive efficiently. This will reduce fuel cost and also cut down on emissions.
Quick tips to drive efficiently:
- Shut off the engine while in a traffic jam, restarting uses less fuel than idling for an extended time.
- Remove extra weight out of the vehicle to make it lighter.
- Use air conditioners wisely; turning on the AC when at higher speeds will reduce aerodynamic drag increasing efficiency.
More tips to save energy in your daily life:
- By turning off the household appliances when you’re not using them. Using a power strip is a great idea. Items like TVs and microwave ovens use up to 30% more energy if left idle. So, use a power strip, and just turn the switch off when you’re not using it.
- Ensure proper insulation of your house. If your home is properly insulated, the heat is always on the right side of your wall. Provide insulation not only to the ceilings but also to the walls and underneath the floor. Also, fill all the gaps around windows and doors for better results.
- Switching to better lighting also saves lots of energy. Nowadays, fluorescent and LED lights are replacing incandescent bulbs, thus reducing huge energy waste.
- One of the best way to ensure an energy-efficient living is to get a proper energy rating for your home by hiring professional energy rating assessors from within your area.
Use water-efficient appliances
Washing machines and dishwashers which reduce water usage makes a big difference to water bills. When washing clothes in washing machines, use cold water and only wash clothes when you have a full load. This way you can save a lot of water and energy as well as money.
Using a mixture of water and vinegar saves a huge amount of water when you clean your glass materials or windows. You can consider installing low-flush toilets in your home too.
Decrease spa and pool running costs
- Pool pumps account for more than 16% of total household energy usage. A smaller pump with variable speed can bring this number down sufficiently.
- Reducing every day pumping time and installing an auto on/off timer is cost effective. Manufacturer’s instructions or an industry specialist can provide knowledge on required running times.
- Regularly cleaning the skimmer basket and pipes will relieve the pump of extra load, increasing both its longevity and usability.
- Pool or spa covers can reduce evaporation and heat loss. Up to 30,000 litres of water can be saved per year, along with the chemicals.
Install rain water reservoir tanks
This personal water supply can account for car washing, watering the garden and even flushing toilets. Having a rainwater reservoir tank installed will further boost energy rating scores.
Reduce Wastes at All Cost
This is the mantra we should all go by. Recycling and reusing eliminate the need to produce goods from scratch, reducing the energy and resources invested in the process. It also encourages employment in the community by supporting the recycling industry, repairers, artists and students.
Always choose recyclable materials wherever practical and cost-effective. Don’t throw away plastic bags after one time use, instead, wash and reuse them for multiple purposes. Harvest rainwater for re-use and grey water recycled for sub-surface watering on the site where practical. Rethink about the production of electronic waste and ways to reduce it. Reduce waste generation and reuse organic waste on site. Find a good waste removal company for efficient waste management.
Reduce energy waste
Use natural resources such, that have no possibility of declining anytime soon, as the sun to keep the house warm in the winter, heat the water and produce the power aka solar power. Use the wind to channel prevailing breezes to cool in summer. Find non-potable applications utilize rainwater conserve precious water supply.
Use energy efficient appliances for domestic and industrial usage such as LED bulbs for lighting, Laptops instead of Desktops. Practice walking or riding a bicycle to travel a small distance instead of using vehicles. Get help from experienced energy rating consultants to obtain the most optimized solution.
Make gardening a hobby
Use spaces efficiently for maximization of the resources. Use the porch or the backyard for planting native flora and fauna or vegetables. Gardening is considered the best hobby for a reason. Your tiny home garden can be a source of fresh, locally produced ingredients. You can design your own Food-forest and permaculture.
All the greens, even the pot plants on your kitchen counter, will subsequently produce more and more oxygen, reduce carbon dioxide providing you fresh air to breathe in. Looks like a pretty legit way of reducing carbon footprints!
Keep chickens in the backyard
They help to reduce kitchen and food waste. Chickens can also fertilise the garden and provides access to fresh eggs.
Make a worm farm
This is an amazing device which will turn organic kitchen waste into nutrient-rich fertiliser for plants and the garden. The cost of using fertilisers is minimised. You should consider composting degradable kitchen waste to create beautiful garden matter.
Use smart and eco-friendly means of transportation
All the vehicles that run on natural resources or even electricity is a threat to sustainable living. For longer distance usage of automobiles is inevitable. But to cross a small distance put on your walking shoes and save energy. Use a bicycle or public transport for a regular commute. Every small car that goes off the road reduces the annual CO2 emissions and impacts the environment positively.
In the end…
Individual efforts may seem like drops in the ocean. However, the impacts from these efforts in lifestyles and consumption patterns by millions of people will make significant contributions towards a more climate-friendly Mother Earth.
We can live a life which promotes sustainability and care for this world. Promoting and applying eco-friendly standards can bring about a change which will make life easier and more comfortable for generations to come.