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Weekend Projects to Make Your Home More Sustainable



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As the days become shorter and the nights cooler, we often begin thinking of ways to keep our energy costs down. However, keeping your home warm in the winter shouldn’t be the only reason for making your home more sustainable. Having an energy-efficient home helps reduce the damage to the ozone layer as well as protect the planet’s natural resources. While single home can’t do much, in a united front, here’s what every one of us can do to make a change.


Upgrade the lightbulbs

Living and dining grooms need more energy to heat up, but where to find this surplus amount without going over your expenses limit? The answer is simple – cut on heating in other departments. Traditional 100W incandescent bulbs waste considerable amounts of energy as useless heat – certainly not enough to heat a room. On the other hand, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) need considerably less energy to heat up, and once you figure savings, they are relatively inexpensive. However, to make a full leap into the green zone, consider switching to LED bulbs. With only 12.5 watts needed, they are even more economical than CFLs, with a lifespan of tens of thousands of hours longer. 

Use the ceiling fans

If used correctly, a ceiling fan can save you a lot of money. Most fans have a clockwise and a counterclockwise setting, each appropriate for a different season. To determine your fan’s current setting stand directly beneath it and turn it on. If you immediately feel a cool breeze, it’s in the summer setting, which is counter-clockwise for most models. The little switch on the base of the fan should have a little switch that sets the fan running in the opposite direction. In the summer you should set your fan to blow the air down, focusing most air movement in the center of the room for the cooling breeze effect. in the winter, the fan should be running in the opposite direction to circulate warm air through the room, taking the load off your furnace. 

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Insulate your windows

Most doors and windows in older homes have draught gaps which reduce the effectiveness of your cooling or heating. Most of the existing windows are beyond trick and repair, so the best solution is to replace them for new, sustainable ones which besides amazing thermal insulation have other advantages. Look for reliable window manufacturers who specialize in energy-efficient and low maintenance products and go with double glazed windows which offer great sound insulation and are easy to maintain. Some of them are even bushfires and heat resistant, as well as sealed and toughened for extra safety. 

Air-dry your clothes

Although many green and sustainability-focused blogs advise people not to use a washer, in reality, there isn’t an efficient way to wash clothes by hand. Dryers, on the other hand, seem to be removed from the equation. By allowing your clothes to dry on air, you’re cutting out all the electricity our dryer would use. Their heating element alone uses a lot of power, not to mention the electric motor that spins the fully loaded drum. Help your planet recover by putting up some clotheslines and hang up wet clothes to dry in the backyard sun, just like your grandma used to do.  


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Plant trees

Although the rest of the ideas listed here are capable of taking effect immediately, this one is more like an investment that needs several years to quantify. By carefully positioning trees around your home’s perimeter, you can save up to 25% of your household’s energy for heating and cooling. Trees that shed their leaves in the fall can keep your house in shade in the summer while allowing the sun to shine through the bare branches in the winter. For this to work, you should take into account the orientation of the sun’s path during the day – south and west in the northern hemisphere and north and west in the southern. 

While each of these hacks alone will generate only humble savings, all of them combined can make a substantial difference. Whichever of the projects and practices you adopt, make sure to stick to them all the way.

Derek Lotts is a Sydney based writer and researcher, a regular contributor at Smooth Decorator blog. He writes about décor, gardening, recycling, ecology and business. He thinks all of these topics fall under the self-improvement category. He believes in the power of sharing ideas and communicating via the internet to achieve betterment.

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