Summer days are longer, making them a great time to work on home improvement and renovation projects. If you've been planning to live a more sustainable lifestyle and want your home to reflect your choices, there are several options you can consider. Creating a more sustainable home in time for sunny summer days will bever be more satisfying.
Summer is the time of the year when more light enters your home. You’re more likely to notice during this time that your walls look dingy or in need of a refresh. A fresh coat of paint can work wonders to prepare your home.
The problem is, paint is one of the most toxic products in your house. Older paint contains lead, which is dangerous to brain development in children. Modern paints may be lead-free, but they come with their own dangers — commercial paints contain harmful chemicals that let off gases into your home’s air through the fumes they release, potentially causing headaches, dizziness, and skin/lung irritation.
Fortunately, there is a growing number of environmentally-friendly paints available, such as Sherwin William’s Harmony collection or Benjamin Moore’s Natura line, both of which contain no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) — the compounds that cause harmful fumes.
Smart tech is a great way to automate your home to use less energy to reduce your home’s carbon footprint. Devices such as a smart thermostat let you program your airconditioning or heating system so you “set it and forget it." Automating the temperature in your home based on time of day and whether you're home, will reduce your energy consumption and save you money on your power bill.
Smart plugs are another great piece of smart tech for a greener home. They can be programmed and controlled from a mobile phone app to reduce your home energy use. Plug lamps and device chargers into the plug and control how long they draw electricity remotely. This can come in handy when your household forgets to turn the lights off or leaves mobile chargers plugged in when not in use. You can turn them off from work or while you’re out, cutting back on the waste of electricity. You can also turn them on before you get home, keeping your family safe by lighting up your home for your arrival.
Water is a precious resource. Look for ways to create a more sustainable home that includes the use of less water. Consider installing low-flow faucets and showerheads to use less water. Installation is simple enough — you can DIY the project on your own or with a friend over the weekend.
Think about how much water your house and patio plants require. Consider switching to xeriscaping, a method where you use drought-resistant and native plants, decorative rocks, and gravel to create a lovely low-water garden. Some of the most stylish and popular plants today include succulents, aloe plants, and cacti. Incorporate them into your decor both indoors and outside — they’re low maintenance, require little water, and are hard to kill, even if you’re not a green thumb.
Lawns are another high-water usage part of your home. More than half of the water use in California goes outside. Reducing or completely eliminating your lawn will help you cut back on your water use and other toxic materials such as fertilizers and pesticides. Some lawn alternatives include a wood deck, stone paver patio, or artificial turf.
Safety and First Aid
Having easily accessible first aid kits available in your home is important year-round, and especially in the summer months when sunburn, poison ivy rashes, and bug bites are more common. If you don’t have a first aid kit, it’s time to get one. If you already have one, use this time to update your kit and check the expiration date of any of the medications included in it.
Some first aid kit essentials include bandages, tweezers, antiseptic creams or sprays, and over pain relief and disinfecting treatments. Greenify your first aid kit by using a recyclable or reusable box to hold the items, avoiding plastic packaging, replacing bandaids with organic cotton pads, and including essential oils such as lavender, an excellent antiseptic and burn and cut treatment.
Small Changes — Big Differences
Once you’re committed to living a more eco-friendly lifestyle, it’s only natural to incorporate your new way of thinking in all of your life’s aspects. You spend a good part of your day at home, making it one of the first areas of focus when you’re ready to make changes to your way of living. There are endless possibilities to create a sustainable home. It can get overwhelming knowing where to start.
The best piece of advice is to make small and lasting changes you can stick with. Freshening up your home using natural alternatives and finding ways to cut back on your energy consumption doesn’t seem like much, but they’re a good start in reducing your carbon footprint and improving you and your loved one’s health and wellbeing while you’re home.