Sustainable living isn’t just a good idea — it’s something for which we all have to share responsibility. Climate change continues to threaten our way of life, and if we don’t accept that responsibility and adapt our lifestyles, we will have no one to blame but ourselves.
It may seem like there’s little the individual can do to make a difference, but there are plenty of opportunities to reduce one’s carbon footprint at home. Small changes can be surprisingly easy to make and get much more significant benefits than most people realize.
Here are four lifestyle choices one can make that have significant environmental benefits.
1. Water Conservation
Reducing water use results in less wastewater that requires energy-intensive treatment to be made safe enough to re-enter the environment. Using less water can be as simple and easy as switching to a low-flow toilet, reducing a household’s water use by as much as 4,000 gallons of water in a typical year.
In addition to low-flow toilets, low-flow showerheads are also quite effective and easy to install. Take shorter showers or turn the water off when not needed for even more benefit. It’s also good to have your plumbing inspected to identify and repair any leaks.
Replace any older appliances like dishwashers or washing machines with newer models designed for lower water consumption. Lastly, traditional grass lawns should be replaced with more environmentally appropriate options like drought-resistant ground cover and rock gardens.
2. Change to Renewable Energy Options
Many places, including South Florida, have green energy options available to consumers. Changing to a utility provider that uses energy produced from renewable sources can go a long way to reduce the amount of fossil fuel or coal energy needed.
Additionally, installing solar panels on a home is an excellent way to reduce or eliminate a home’s reliance on fossil fuel energy. South Florida is well suited for solar energy use, and the panels have gotten much more affordable and easier to install.
3. Choose Recyclable Containers
Containers made of single-use plastics will end up in landfills, where they will stay virtually unchanged for thousands of years. Almost all plastic ever produced still exists in one form or another — much of it as pollution. Reducing or eliminating the use of plastics helps prevent making this problem worse.
Whenever possible, use glass or metal containers and reusable shopping bags, and avoid single-use plastic products like water bottles, straws, and many kinds of packaging. Avoiding prepackaged food is not only good for the environment, but it’s also good for your health, as these kinds of food tend to be highest in harmful preservatives and other chemicals.
4. Going Green at Home
Improving a home’s energy efficiency can be as easy as increasing its insulation or installing a smart or programmable thermostat. Use sustainably produced materials, and when doing renovations or remodeling, choose products that do not contain toxic chemicals, like paint with zero volatile organic compound content and flooring made out of natural, renewable material like bamboo.
Choosing a Sustainable Lifestyle
All of us must make a serious effort to reduce our impact on our environment. Though initial steps like those above may seem small, any consistent or permanent change for the better produces a significant effect over time.
Small changes can create more extensive opportunities, and as more and more people adopt them, they will produce more significant benefits. Inspiring family, friends, or neighbors to adopt a greener lifestyle by showing them how easy it can be is an excellent way to contribute to a larger solution.
If you’re interested in making some eco-friendly, sustainable living changes to your living space, contact Sebastian Eilert Architecture to discuss your project needs. Mr. Eilert is dedicated to responsible and environmentally-conscious design and would be delighted to assist you with your next project.