10 easy ways to make your home more eco friendly

10 easy ways to make your home more eco friendly

We're becoming much more accepting of the fact that human activity is causing climate change and more of us want to do our bit to help reverse that damage

Lil ol' you and me can't stop China and India building coal-fired power stations, but we can lobby government to push for more renewable energy and we can lobby our pension funds to divest from fossil-fuel stocks. We can also do lot at home..composting, recycling, walking, turning down the thermostat and taking 4 minute showers.

1. Short showers
 
The average person in the West uses some 25,300 gallons of water a year, or  69 gallons a day. An average shower uses five gallons of water per minute. Do the maths and you can see why we're all being urged to shower in four minutes or less. If you have teens who think water grows on trees, buy a shower timer. It's like an egg timer you attach to the glass door. 
 
2. Invest in energy efficient light bulbs
 
In case you haven't already switched...do ensure your lamps and lights are fitted with LEDs. They can give up to 50,000 hours of light and use minimal electricity.
 
3. Use environmentally-friendly services
 
Many products we use at home can be harmful because they contain harsh or even toxic chemicals which can off-gas. Cleaning products are a particualr culprit, such as bleach, oven cleaners and loo cleaning fluids, and continued exposure to them can cause health problems. More eco brands of cleaning products are coming onstream, which promise no toxic ingredients, so consider switching to them.  And be careful about which companies you choose to help with heavy duty cleaning.  For example, with carpet cleaning, it's important to realise that steam cleaning isn't a chemical-free process. Steam can't clean your carpet so the machine sprays detergent onto your carpet. A better option is to choose a company that will use a dry steam cleaning method. This offers the advantage of almost no drying time and effective cleaning. *Do ask any commercial cleaning company about the ingredients in the products they use.
 
4. Unplug any electronic devices not being used
 
Devices in standby mode do use significant electrical power, so don't think standby means off. If in doubt, unplug at the wall.
 
5. Workplaces should ditch paper towels
 
Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have worked out that using paper towels generates 70 per cent more carbon emissions than cold air-driven hand dryers.
 
6. Be sparing with water
 
Water is a precious resource so we should use it sparingly. Short showers, fill the kettle only with the amount of water required for the number of drinks being prepared, use the short flush where possible after going to the loo. If you can afford it, think of installing a greywater system so water from the shower is reused in the loo etc. Get a water butt to collect rainwater and use it for watering the garden. It's common sense... don't have taps on full blast and be water-aware all the time. 
 
7. A toaster instead of the oven grill
 
Ovens take time to heat up and that means grills in ovens take time to heat up. Taking time to heat up means electricity is being consumed prior to the oven doing its job. So for things like toast, use a toaster. To heat a meal for one or two, buy a microwave and use it. Microwaves are far more energy efficient than ovens. Likewise dishwashers, fully loaded, use less water than washing up by hand. Choose AAA rated appliances.
 
8. Turn off the lights
 
Please turn off lights when you don't need them. This is simple act saves energy.
 
9.Fill your home with houseplants
 
Plants and the soil they sit in will help purify indoor air and neutralise toxic substances such as benzene.
 
10. Keep your cats indoors
 
Cat lovers may take issue with this.. but some bird protection charities are urging cat owners to keep their pets inside. That's because cats do kill garden birds if they can get their paws on them. 
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