By Cloe Matheson
Designing an eco-friendly home has excellent benefits. You might be building a ‘tiny home’ and want it to be efficient and sustainable from the start, or maybe you just want to consume less energy and reduce your waste while sprucing up your home. Whatever your reason for wanting to live a more sustainable life, you’ll find a tip to suit you among these five eco-friendly design ideas!
No1 Sustainable Design Idea – Be savvy with second-hand shopping
Many people associate used furniture with the common fear of bedbug-ridden mattresses. However, there is a whole market full of high-quality second-hand pieces of furniture to be found if you’re willing to put some effort into your search. Using pre-loved rather than brand new furniture for your home is much more sustainable, and you might be surprised at the eclectic pieces you can discover in specialist antique shops that refurbish used furniture. Why not set yourself a target to find an interesting pre-loved piece for each of your rooms?
Use a shipping container to build an extra room or other structure
Recycled shipping containers are an eco-friendly addition to any household. A shipping container can be repurposed as a storage area, a private library hideout, or any extra room of your choosing. Some people have even used shipping containers to create unique-looking, feature swimming pools as a great talking point for entertaining guests. Adding a shipping container to your sustainable home is more eco-friendly than building a new room, as you will be upcycling rather than creating a demand for new materials. Because shipping containers have been designed to spend time at sea – often in tumultuous weather conditions – they’re durable and exceptionally secure: built to last for years.
Install water-conserving bathroom fixtures
Water conservation is one of the most critical environmental issues that the world faces today. Water is essential to millions of people’s livelihoods and animal habitats worldwide – so we should all be contributing to saving water. You can make things easy for yourself and install water-conserving bathroom fixtures that work by limiting the amount of water consumed per minute.
Purchase local materials for building or decorating
Using locally-sourced materials reduces the harmful carbon footprint caused by products travelling long distances and supports local businesses, which should be a priority if you want to help support the growth of your community. The closer you live to town, the more likely you will be able to source all sorts of local materials from stores close to your home. Try your best to research, check user reviews, and select elements that have been proven the stand the test of time and won’t require replacing in a few short years.
Design big windows to let natural light in
Choose energy-conserving bulbs to minimise both wasted power and the price of your electricity bill. You can also gain more natural light in your home the old-fashioned way by constructing big windows. When built at the right angle, large windows will help to efficiently cool your home, reducing your need for an air-conditioning system. Alongside your new windows, you can opt for eco-friendly window treatments to complete the look, such as blinds or curtains made from environmentally-friendly materials or sourced from ethical brands.
Living a sustainable life starts at home. It’s much easier to focus on environmentally-friendly solutions to daily problems at work or in your social life when you’re already doing what you can at home. Whenever you have a new design idea, always check to see if you can undertake the construction or renovations in an environmentally friendly way – the earth needs your support!
Cloe Matheson is a New Zealand-based freelance writer who loves discussing home and lifestyle topics. She is passionate about sustainable living and spends many of her weekends working on green projects. See more of her work here.