Happy new year everyone. This is my first day back and after spending a lot of time over the Christmas period in nature I was inspired to write about being more conscious about our footprint on the environment, most of you probably don’t realise that I’m a huge fan of environmental options when I work on projects.
Sure…the main philosophy of SmartSpace is creating beautiful spaces that clients can better connect with. But if I can incorporate green ideas, products or technologies…all the better.
It’s no secret that the energy we use in our homes adds up fast. Between heating, cooling, electricity, water and everything in between, it’s easy to over consume. So, a green approach isn’t only ecologically sound but also make sense for your budget as well.
Of course, there are plenty of options for making our homes smarter when it comes to being environmentally friendly, some of which are set and forget and others which incorporate eco-friendly values into your lifestyle.
So if you’re considering being a bit greener in 2017, or just want to save a bit of money, here are some options to consider.
1. Water heating and usage – In warm and dry countries, like Australia, we can use a lot of energy storing and heating water, and so we’re no strangers to letting the sun do the work with solar.
If, however, that’s not an option for you, consider investing in a tankless water-heating system, that only use and heat the water you need, nothing more. This more sustainable way of living and saves space in your home!
And of course, don’t forget about rain water tanks. Perfect for grey water needs where heating isn’t needed, like toilet flushing, outdoor use, gardening etc.
2. Green energy – why not generate your own power with solar, wind, geothermal, etc. which are all becoming more affordable and available. You could cut your energy bills in half, and in some cases, you can supply power back to the grid meaning you get paid by the energy companies!
If, however, that’s a bit scary, think about buying green energy from your provider. It’s simple and cheap and takes no more effort than a phone call. Of course, the more of us that use green energy, the more companies will need to fill the demand and move away from fossil fuels.
3. Proper insulation – This is a BIG topic so Ill keep it short and just mention the basics.
For most of us heating and cooling our homes represents the largest proportion of our energy bills / usage and it’s crazy that so many Australian homes are so poorly insulated. So, it’s worth thinking about insulating your home, specifically doors and windows that fit, double or triple glazing, window insulation films, and of course wall and roof insulation.
When you’re working toward being green, sometimes a little insulation goes a long way.
4. Flooring – consider using renewable fibres or minimising coverings altogether by going with polished concrete. That being said it’s quite a modern look, and the process uses chemicals and a lot of energy. Plus, doesn’t work on upper floors.
When choosing timber go with products that come from ethically sourced suppliers, this makes a big difference to the environment.
5. Smart technology – robots, timed lights, motion sensors, energy power strips, smart TVs, water and energy saving washing machines etc. Let technology work on behalf of your green efforts, and leave your home every day knowing that even when you’re gone, you’ll be working toward energy savings and efficiency.
6. And lastly, Green Management – if you’re already plugged into the above but are still concerned, you should consider energy-management technology. These systems allow you to monitor your home’s energy usage, either outlet by outlet, or with a whole home energy management system.
All of the information collected is sent to your device, which then tells you what needs to be changed, if anything. Now that’s smart technology!
Of course, like with most things in life, there are arguments for and against all the above. But personally, I think it’s more important to start somewhere rather than arguing about the details or which option is better. And all the above represent easy and tangible ways to be a bit greener.
If you want to know more about how to work green options into your design, contact me through my contact page.