Green living: Save Our Earth By Living Green

Making your home more environmentally friendly

We should all feel that we have some responsibility for looking after the earth and in our homes there are many things that, if we all did them, would make a real difference. ‘Greening up’ our homes becomes easier as more environmentally friendly products reach the marketplace.  Using those and cutting down on the amount we consume, and recycling whenever we can will have a significant impact.

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Most are familiar with the new breed of low-energy light bulbs that reduce power usage and cut electricity bills, but how many of us have switched our usual cleaning products over to greener options? By using eco-friendly cleaners we reduce air pollution and cut exposure to allergens and harmful chemicals. To ensure that products are kinder to the environment try to source plant based cleaning fluids.  Always check the ingredients listed on the container before purchasing any cleaning products.

Water
Water is a precious commodity and one that we should all think about conserving. When installing a new bathroom make sure that the sanitary ware and plumbing products are all made to the highest environmentally efficient specifications. These days toilet cisterns are designed to hold less water and still flush efficiently; aerating taps can be fitted which make the water appear to go further, and we can choose to take more showers than baths to cut down on the amount of water that we use. Outside in the garden, fit water butts to collect rainwater from the downpipes and use it to irrigate the organic produce growing in the vegetable patch.

Insulation
Think about insulation in the house – is it fitted and how efficient is it if it is? Even taking small steps such as installing draught excluders, heavy curtains and thermal blinds can dramatically reduce interior heat loss. Properly installed and sufficient loft insulation curbs heat loss through the roof, and double glazing really helps with maintaining the temperature in the main body of the house by reducing heat loss through the windows. A visit to any DIY outlet will reveal a whole range of easily fitted products that could make a real difference to the efficiency of home insulation.

Furniture
Help the environment by choosing furnishings that have been responsibly manufactured with sound environmental principles in mind. Environmentally aware furniture manufacturers, such as Ercol, create really lovely furniture from sustainable timber sources. A high quality brand, Ercol products are built to last from woods that mellow beautifully with age. Often referred to as antiques of the future, Ercol’s chairs, sofas, dining tables and cabinets, in beech, ash, elm, walnut and oak are a great addition to any home. In keeping with its green philosophy Ercol’s chairs and sofas can be re-upholstered, extending their age significantly as well as allowing scope for adapting to new interior schemes and changing fashions.

White goods
Take a long hard look at the appliances in the home. Is that noisy, ancient refrigerator really operating efficiently? Is the washing machine becoming noisy and no longer washes as well as it once did? If it is over five years old, the chances are it won’t be functioning anywhere near as well as a modern equivalent and will be using much more electricity than its modern counterpart.

When replacing fridges or freezers, dispose of them responsibly as old models contain nasty pollutants.

Making small but significant steps towards a greener home is something we should all aim to do. From the daily decisions we make about the products we buy, to our behaviour within the four walls of our homes, we can all make changes that will help create and maintain a better, greener world.

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