Top tips for green living

You regularly recycle and you put aside vegetable scraps for a compost heap. But what else can you do to greenify your home, short of literally painting it green? Answer: put aside the paint can and consider these options.

Solar and water savings

Top of the list for creating an eco-friendly house is installing solar panels and rainwater tanks. Increasingly popular in the last few years, solar power is clean energy and will have you enjoying plenty of savings plus government rebates and incentives. While you’re at it, consider installing a rainwater tank. Again, you’ll experience great savings while only using the liquid from the sky. For more water savings, turn off the taps when you’re brushing your teeth or similar; take shorter showers; don’t rinse the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, and fix leaky taps.

Economic light and heat

Open curtains and blinds to let the sunshine in, instead of switching on the lights. You’ll save on your electricity bills, and reduce power consumption overall. While the lights are off, why not replace them with energy-efficient bulbs? Compared to older halogen or incandescent light bulbs, energy-efficient lights offer better value for money while using much less energy and having a longer life. Also consider motion sensor lighting, dimmers and timers. Another good idea is to lower the hot water temperature and get out your rug and slippers during winter instead of turning on the heater.

Thermal benefits

You never see it but you’ll definitely notice the difference when it’s not there. Insulation is the key to improving the temperature all year round in your home, without increasing your bills. So, if your house doesn’t have this crucial fixture or your insulation is getting old and ineffective, install or replace it ASAP. Instantly improve the chilliness of timber or tiled floors – and add to the décor of your home – with large rugs. 

Get out into your (new) garden

If you’re an apprehensive green thumb, you’re not alone. But there are few things nicer than not only having leafy surrounds but picking your own fruit and vegetables. Herbs such as rosemary, parsley, lemongrass, mint and thyme are a great place to start for scared gardeners, especially if you’re in an apartment or unit. This greenery will love living in pots above your kitchen sink or on your balcony. For those with larger gardens, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, passionfruit, rockmelons and watermelons are easy to grow, even for people who don’t recognise a weed from a rose. And while you’re in the garden, you’ll enjoy the benefits of sunlight (vitamin D), fresh air, relaxation and a decrease in depression.

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