We're all aware of the need to better look after our planet in order to protect the environment for future generations, but how many of us follow through with eco-friendly practices in our homes?
From recycling to composting and all the way through to renovations, there's plenty you can be doing in your home to help look after our earth. Find out more on what you can do and how it will benefit you and your loved ones.
A healthy home
Homes designed and decorated with the environment in mind can provide a safer, healthier environment for you and your family. Houses with proper thermal insulation, for example, allow you to keep warm in winter and cool in summer without the use of air conditioners and heaters that can contribute to the circulation of germs in homes.
Insulation blocks out draughts that can come from doors, windows and fireplaces, which can account for up to a quarter of your home's heat loss in winter. When selecting insulation, make sure it has a high R-value. This is the measure used to determine a material's capability to resist heat flow.
Homes that utilise natural ventilation can also suffer less from dangerous mould and mildew. Not only is mould in the home unsightly, but it can also produce allergens, irritants and toxic substances called mycotoxins. These can trigger allergic responses and asthma attacks.
When decorating, look for environmentally friendly paints to help reduce toxins in your home. Paints are made using organic and inorganic materials, which can contain components that adversely impact the environment by releasing solvents and toxic substances into the atmosphere.
Volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions can lead to ozone depletion, however many paints can reduce these effects. VOC emissions can have adverse short- and long-term health effects, and as such many paint manufacturers are moving away from solventborne paints to waterborne products. The Resene Environmental Choice program focuses on reducing VOC emissions, developing high quality environmentally-friendly paint products such as Resene Lustacryl.
When it comes to cleaning your home, natural products will expose you and your loved ones to fewer harmful chemicals. Many household cleaners create unnecessary packaging waste that clogs landfills, as well as potentially damaging your family's health due to chemical exposure. Basic household ingredients such as vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice are among some of the fantastic natural cleaning products you can use in place of chemical-laden commercial cleaners.
A cost effective home
Insulated homes can reduce your energy bill significantly as there's usually less need for the use of air conditioners and heating systems that use lots of energy.
Energy efficient appliances in your home, such as refrigerators, ovens, dishwashers and washing machines, can also lead to lower bills due to their reduced power consumption. Most new appliances these days come with an energy efficiency rating to let you know how eco-friendly the product is – the higher the rating, the better it is for the planet and the lower your power bill will be.
According to advice from the NSW Government, an extra energy star on washing machines and dryers can reduce the lifetime running costs of these appliances by anywhere from 15 per cent to 27 per cent. The same on a television can save you as much as 20 per cent on running costs over the lifetime of your TV, while energy-efficient dishwashers will save water and reduce running costs by 30 per cent with every extra star rating.